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. 

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Politics
8:21 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Kentucky's Voter Registration Deadline is Monday

Monday marks an important deadline for Kentuckians who want to vote in the November 4 election.  It’s the last day to register. 

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes reminds that voter registration forms can be submitted at county clerk’s offices or online.

"We encourage everyone to go to www. elect.ky.gov and visit our voter information center," says Grimes.  "There, you can enter your first and last name and your social security number and check to see if you're registered.  If you're not, you can download the form to register to vote and send it in."

As of last month, Kentucky had more than 3.1 million registered voters.  Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 460,000.

Politics
4:23 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Libertarian Senate Candidate Files Suit Against KET

U.S. Senate Candidate David Patterson, I-KY
Credit david4senate.com

Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate David Patterson is suing Kentucky Educational Television over his exclusion from an upcoming debate.                                

David Patterson is asking a federal judge to order KET to include him in the October 13 exchange.

Patterson’s name will appear on the November ballot, but KET says he wasn’t invited to the debate because he didn’t meet the network’s criteria, which says a candidate must have at least $100,000 in donations and be polling at least ten percent in a survey conducted by an independent pollster, among other requirements.

"The original criteria were put into place in March and at that time, Mr. Patterson met three of the four criteria, and only had to meet one," explained Patterson's attorney Chris Wiest.  "Following the primary, KET modified the debate criteria to require that four separate criteria all be met.  In doing that, internal emails from KET indicated they did it for the purpose of excluding third party candidates."

The lawsuit alleges that Patterson's 1st and 14th amendment rights were violated.  A KET spokesman told WKU Public Radio that the network does not comment on pending lawsuits. 

Patterson, a Harrodsburg police officer, is an underdog against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes who have raised millions of dollars in one of the country’s most competitive races.

Kentucky has just over 4,100 registered Libertarians, according the the Secretary of State's Office.

Politics
11:32 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Daviess County House Seat Closely Eyed by Hopeful GOP

Left: Kentucky State Representative Jim Glenn, D-Owensboro. Right-Alan Braden, R-Owensboro, challenger for District 13 House seat
Credit LRC Public Information, Facebook

State Representative Jim Glenn of Owensboro is one of 29 Democratic incumbents trying to hang on to his seat as Republicans work to seize control the Kentucky House for the first time since 1921. 

Glenn’s race is one of the more closely watched races since he won each of his last two elections by just over 200 votes. 

"I won.  All you need is one vote more than 50 percent and you've won," Glenn remarked.  "Some people want to focus on that, but that's not something I want to focus on.  The people have elected me and if they don't want me, then they'll vote me out of office."

Glenn is a business professor at Owensboro Community and Technical College.  He was first elected in 2007 and told WKU Public Radio he’s seeking another term because he’s not finished with the work he set out to do.

"My job when I first ran was to improve the lives of the working middle class families in my district and I'm still working on that," commented Glenn.  I'm still looking for better paying jobs for people in my community, educational opportunities, as well as improved infrastructure and economic development."

Glenn has bought television advertising while his challenger Alan Braden has been doing a lot of grassroots campaigning, estimating he’s knocked on 4,000 doors. 

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Politics
5:00 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Thousands of Election Workers Needed in Kentucky

Kentuckians are being encouraged to serve as precinct workers for the November 4 election.

"You have to be a qualified Kentucky voter, 18 by election day, and not have changed your party affiliation in the last year, and not  be a candidate or a family member of a candidate," says Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Precinct workers will receive training and compensation.  Kentucky has more than 3,600 precincts statewide and at least four workers are needed at each precinct, which requires about 15,000 workers. 

Those interested in working the election should contact their county clerk’s office.

Regional
10:59 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Search Continues in Warren County for Man Wanted for Questioning in Murder

The unidentified man seen in this ATM surveillance photo is wanted in Pennsylvania for questioning in a homicide.
Credit Bowling Green Police Department

Police in Bowling Green and Warren County are spending a second day looking for a man wanted for questioning in a homicide out of state.  Investigators think the car he was driving is connected to a murder in Pennsylvania.

"What we don't know is if he was involved in the homicide just because of the fact we don't know who he is at this moment," says Bowling Green Police Public Information Officer Ronnie Ward.

After locating the car at a hotel early Wednesday morning, the unidentified man led police on a chase down Three Springs Road in Warren County where he crashed the car, got out, and ran. 

The man is described as white with dark hair and a mustache.  He is considered to be armed and dangerous. 

Several schools went on lockdown Thursday as a precaution. 

Agriculture
4:12 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Ohio County Students Grow an Appreciation for Farming

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer helps a student plant mums at Beaver Dam Elementary School's on-site garden.
Lisa Autry

An outdoor classroom in rural Ohio County is teaching children where their food comes from and how to grow it themselves.

Beaver Dam Elementary School is the first school in the state to have a garden on school grounds.  Kindergarten teacher Becky Gaither helped start the garden project. She says students learn the value of hard work by maintaining the garden and they get to enjoy the harvest.

"Just this past week, some grades harvested cherry tomatoes and herbs," Gaither remarked.  "They made pizzas in their classrooms and the students did the vegetable preparation themselves, washing and slicing and dicing."

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer traveled to Beaver Dam Elementary on Thursday to recognize the school as having the state’s first certified “Ready, Set, Grow” garden.  Comer said he hopes the concept will expand statewide.

"A lot of times we have communities where kids think their chicken comes from the drive-thru window at McDonald's and their milk comes from the grocery store," Comer stated.  "They don't realize it comes from farms and when they have that lack of knowledge they don't have an appreciation for farmers or agriculture."

The raised garden beds feature herbs, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and watermelons, as well as shrubs and flowers.  The effort is funded through donations from businesses and individuals. 

Regional
5:49 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Secretariat Jockey Reflects on Illustrious Career

Retired jockey Ron Turcotte met with fans and signed autographs Wednesday at Kentucky Downs. Turcotte rode Secretariat to a Triple Crown victory in 1973.
Credit Lisa Autry

Ron Turcotte was right at home Wednesday as he shook hands and signed autographs near the finish line at Kentucky Downs in Franklin.  Track visitors flocked to this rock star of thoroughbred racing. 

Turcotte won more than 3,000 races during his career, but he’s best known as the rider of Secretariat, winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1973. He was left paralyzed after falling from a horse at Belmont Park in 1978, and now spends his retirement making appearances at racetracks to raise money and awareness of the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.  He spoke to WKU Public Radio about his storied career.

Take us back 41 years ago.  You had just won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and was on the cusp of winning the Triple Crown for the first time in 25 years.  Heading into the race that day, what were you feeling?

I was feeling great.  I was really confident we were going to win the race because we had set a record just working out.  I really didn't think anybody could beat us.

Describe the feeling of crossing the finish line and knowing you had made history.

I was so happy that we won the Triple Crown, but it didn't really hit me until two weeks later.  It took a while to dawn on me.

What made Secretariat so special?

Secretariat was a very unusual horse.  He was a gentle horse, generous horse, very smart. He never spent no energy for nothing but he loved to run.

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Education
3:20 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Kentucky Working to Re-Enroll College Dropouts

Kentucky is making a push to re-enroll former college students who never finished their degree. 

A state program called Project Graduate will hold a virtual college fair on September 30, allowing prospective students to speak with school advisors by text video chat.  To participate, students must have earned at least 80 hours toward a bachelor’s degree or at least 30 hours toward an associate degree.

Governor Steve Beshear told WKU Public Radio that many students come close to completing their degree when life gets in the way.

"They've been perhaps to a community college or gotten some hours at a university, and for whatever reason, had to drop out and go into the workforce," commented Beshear.  "We need to attract those people back in and in unique ways.  They're working, have families, and a lot of obligations."

All of Kentucky’s public universities and community colleges will waive application fees for students who attend the online fair and register for clasess for next spring. 

Students can log on to www.projectgraduate.org to register for the event.

Politics
3:57 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

WKU Event Recruits Youth Voters

WKU Political Science Major Kimberly Adkins helped registered students to vote in the November 4 election.
Credit Lisa Autry

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, a time aimed at registering citizens to vote in the upcoming November 4 election. 

In Bowling Green, Kimberly Adkins manned a voter registration table on the WKU campus.  The senior political science major is immersed in politics, but realizes many fellow students are not.

"They feel like their voice doesn't matter and their vote doesn't count," said Adkins.  "A lot of young people are tired of the partisan bickering and they just tune it out."

Freshman Leslie Brown will vote for the first time in a national election this November.  She hasn't followed Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, and admitted not knowing the names of the candidates. 

"I have no idea," she laughed. 

Brown said she planned to study up before November 4.

"As young people we need to vote and we need to have a voice because that's the only way it's ever going to get heard is if we vote," Brown added.

There are approximately 670,000 youth in Kentucky, ages 18-29.  While jobs and student loan debt weigh heavily on the minds of college students, most will stay home November 4 if history is any indicator.  Young people made up just 13% of overall voters in Kentucky during the 2010 mid-term election, according to the National Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement based at Tufts University.

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Politics
8:59 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Thayer Rules Out 2015 Run for Statewide Office

Kentucky State Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown
Credit LRC Public Information

The second-in-command of the Republican-controlled Kentucky Senate won’t seek statewide office next year. 

State Senator Damon Thayer says he’s been encouraged to run for Secretary of State or Auditor, but will instead seek another term as Majority Floor Leader.

"I really enjoy working with my fellow Republican caucus members right now to help move Kentucky forward and I think that's the best place where I can be of the best use for the commonwealth of Kentucky, and it's what's best for my family at this time," Thayer told WKU Public Radio.

Thayer, a Georgetown Republican, says he is optimistic that the GOP can take control of the House in November.  If that happens, Thayer says he looks forward to advancing Republican priorities such as right-to-work, charter schools, and pro-life legislation.

Democrats have maintained control of the Kentucky House since 1921 and currently hold a narrow eight-seat advantage. 

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