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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Environment
3:40 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

WKU Celebrates Earth Day with Help of Bus Serving as Mobile Produce Market

Maggie Jolly, 9 (left) and Eliza Beth, 7, and Carter Howell, 10, play in the mobile farmers market on WKU's campus on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Abbey Oldham

Bowling Green’s new mobile farmer’s market is offering fresh food on wheels to areas of the city where fresh produce may be hard to find. 

The market was introduced to the public at an Earth Day event at WKU. 

When Jackson Rolett started up the old, retro-fitted school bus Tuesday, it was a proud moment.  He’s been working since last spring on a traveling farmer’s market that will deliver fresh, locally grown produce to under-served areas of the city. 

"We're seeking to address accessibility," said Rolett.  "Transportation is a big issue with food access, especially in certain areas of Bowling Green, so we thought 'Why not bring the food to those people?'"

Funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the market also accepts forms of government assistance. 

Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has praised the effort and hopes similar markets can launch statewide. 

Bowling Green’s mobile market will travel Wednesday to the Barren River District Health Department and the Boys and Girls Club.

Business
8:39 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Union Leader Optimistic GM Strike Can be Avoided at Bowling Green Plant

Workers at GM's Corvette Assembly Plant voted on April 8 to authorize a strike if negotiations break down.

The head of the United Auto Workers Union in Bowling Green says progress is being made nearly two weeks after Corvette Assembly Plant workers voted to authorize a strike. 

Local 21-64 President Eldon Renaud says some of the safety problems at the factory are in the process of being fixed.

"We think the previous manager had ignored some of those issues.  We felt it was important to bring in a new set of eyes and he seems very interested in problem solving," commented Renaud.  "I think the company is going to comply with our request to fix those items.  Some of it just takes time and engineering to develop fixes."

The assembly plant had received two OSHA violations under former manager Dave Tatman, who resigned abruptly in February.  Jeff LeMarche was brought in March 1 as plant manager.

Talks are still underway on some manpower and quality issues, and Renaud adds that the union won’t be satisfied until a new personnel director is in place. 

The local union’s current contract with GM expires in 2015, but Renaud says there were too many pressing issues to wait until then. 

Regional
10:16 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Louisville Resident Replaces Corvette Damaged by Sinkhole

Lynda Patterson sits in her 40th Anniversary ruby red Corvette.
Credit National Corvette Museum

Louisville resident Lynda Patterson was devastated when she saw pictures and video of the massive sinkhole that opened beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green on February 12. 

Her eyes were fixated on the 40th Anniversary Corvette sticking tail up from the debris.  As the owner of one herself, Patterson told WKU Public Radio that it was like looking at her own car.

“It’s a different mindset when you own Corvettes," she explained.  "I don’t know what happens to you, but you kind of get screwy, and your heart sinks when you see one of these gorgeous automobiles in trouble.”

Seeing the crushed ruby red Corvette made Patterson want to give the museum her Ruby.

“Twenty years ago when my husband and I set up our trust, we had it in our trust that we would donate our Ruby to the museum, when the time came, when the last of us was gone," said Patterson.  "When I saw it in the hole, and my husband had died about 18 months ago, I thought this is the time, she should go now.”

The Patterson’s bought the car 22 years ago after immediately falling in love with it in the showroom of a Chevrolet dealership.  Fighting back tears, Patterson delivered her Ruby to the museum on Thursday.

“It was a bittersweet thing to give her up,” expressed Patterson.

Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli says the museum is looking forward to taking the car off of display.

“Lynda definitely wants us to drive it.  She wants it used in parades, she wants it taken to schools,” said Frassinelli.  “She really wants the car out and about.”

With the Patterson donation, the National Corvette Museum will eventually have two 40th Anniversary cars.  The one pulled from the sinkhole is expected to be restored by General Motors. 

Regional
2:37 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Toyota Grant Teaches Rules of the Road to Kentucky High School Students

Kentucky State Police Trooper Jonathan Biven gives a safe driving presentation to students at Warren East High School.
Credit Toyota's Drew Mitchell

The Kentucky State Police agency is partnering with Toyota to educate high school students about the number one killer of teens: traffic crashes. 

“Alive at 25” is a defensive driving course that will be implemented statewide over the next two years with the help of a $150,000 dollar grant from Toyota operations in Kentucky. 

The program was taken to students at Warren East High School in Bowling Green on Thursday.  In the audience was 18-year-old Bradley Pearson who admits to texting while driving.

“I didn’t see it as that big of a deal, but after today, I know I need to stop," said Pearson.  "I text with other people in the car, and if I wreck it affects them just as much as it does me.”

Sixteen-year-old Patrick Burton considers himself a safe driver, partly because of the impact a distracted driving crash had on his family.

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Regional
4:09 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Electronic Tracking Having No Impact on Meth Production in Warren County

The inside of a meth lab discovered by police in Barren County, Kentucky.
Credit Barren County Drug Task Force

The head of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force says a methamphetamine bust this week is a perfect example of why Kentucky needs stronger laws concerning meth’s key ingredient. 

Four Bowling Green residents were arrested this week for “smurfing” pseudoephedrine, which is a meth precursor found in most over-the-counter cold and allergy drugs. 

"They were defeating the electronic tracking by using false identifications and hitting both states, which is exactly what we tried to tell the legislature two years ago, that electronic tracking really doesn't work, explained Tommy Loving, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force.

Loving says to really curtail the crime, lawmakers should make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. 

Kentucky's electronic tracking law has led to a 20% drop in meth labs statewide, but according to Loving, the law has had no effect in Warren County. 

Efforts to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine have failed in recent legislative sessions due to a strong lobby from the pharmaceutical industry. 

Under current Kentucky law, consumers are prevented from purchasing more than seven grams of pseudoephedrine per month without a prescription.  

The limit is higher in Tennessee, which Loving says, sends Kentuckians across the state line.

Regional
2:59 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

During the month of April, communities all over Kentucky are placing special emphasis on preventing child abuse.  According to the state, more than 23,000 Kentucky children were involved in substantiated reports of abuse or neglect in 2013. 

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, but Denise Lambrianou works toward that goal daily.  She spoke with WKU Public Radio about her work at the Family Enrichment Center in Warren County.

Describe what you do for a living.

I am the Adoption Resource Program Coordinator, so what I do is help the state recruit foster and adoptive parents for children who are in out-of-home care.

Foster children are removed from their birth homes due to abuse or neglect.  Explain the difference between the two.

Abuse can be several different things.  It can be physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.  Neglect could be not providing sanitary conditions where your child lives, not providing enough food in your home.  There's even educational neglect where you don't make your child go to school.  There can be medical neglect, but it's a fine line depending on one's religious belief. 

You speak from experience, having adopted four boys from foster care.  From what situations did they come?

My two oldest ones were removed from their home for neglect.  They were living in deplorable conditions and there wasn't enough food in the house, so I'm sure they were hungry at times.  Our two little ones were infants, so they don't remember much.  Our two older ones do because they were eight and four when they came to live with us.

Have their birth homes had any long-term effects on them?

I'm sure it does.  Our oldest one, he had to grow up much faster than kids his age.  He was a caretaker, and for a long time, we had to help him learn how to be a kid.  The next youngest one, we're pretty sure he was hungry a few times.  There are some little issues with food occasionally when he's afraid there isn't enough food in the house.  But I think they've adjusted rather well, but they do remember their past, but hopefully we've been able to help them through that.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Kentucky's Public Health Chief Wants E-Cigs in Statewide Smoke-Free Law

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear ceremonially signed a bill into law Monday that prohibits the sale of all types of  electronic cigarettes to minors.  Kentucky's public health commissioner sees the new law as a step in the right direction, but not enough.

Dr. Stephanie Mayfield hopes a statewide ban on smoking in public places clears the General Assembly next year and she wants e-cigs to be included.

"We don't know what's in them.  We do know if it's nicotine, that's addictive," says Mayfield.  "We know the effects of tobacco and smoke, and we know without it being regulated and exactly what's in it, we don't know what you're breathing and exposing others to."

Following a speech at WKU last week, Mayfield said a comprehensive smoke-free law would be the Department of Public Health’s chief legislative priority next year. 

This year’s legislation included e-cigarettes, though amendments were added to exempt them. 

E-cig supporters argue that the products allow users to decrease the amount of nicotine to a point where they may eventually quit smoking altogether. They also say the chemicals in e-cigs are safer than traditional cigarettes.

Regional
4:14 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Corvette Sinkhole Recovery Enters Next Phase

Construction Manager Mike Murphy stands in front of the 40x50 foot sinkhole that opened beneath the National Corvette Museum February 12.
Credit National Corvette Museum

Now that all of the cars are out, work begins this week toward repairing the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. 

Communications Director Katie Frassinelli says a team will meet Tuesday to discuss how to repair the Skydome, which was the site of the February sinkhole collapse.

"We've had fans on Facebook or people who have emailed with suggestions from putting in a glass floor, leaving the hole, and making it as good as new," comments Frassinelli.

Frassinelli says what happens to the Skydome will also come down to price. 

Engineering studies revealed that the area around the sinkhole was solid enough to allow restoration of the Skydome, which is scheduled to be completed by August, in time for the museum's 20th Anniversary celebration.

Business
11:11 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Mayor: City Finances Will Suffer Under Jamestown Plant Closure

The mayor of Jamestown says state officials have begun reaching out to the 600 Fruit of the Loom workers whose jobs will be lost later this year. 

The apparel company announced last week that it would move operations overseas and layoffs would occur in phases starting in June. 

Mayor Terry Lawless hopes another manufacturer will come to Jamestown.

"It would thrill me to death that when they leave that the doors open for someone else to be in there and revenue starts picking right up, but we have to be realistic too," acknowledged Lawless.  "That probably won't happen right away, but we've got our hopes it will eventually."

The city of Jamestown receives $200,000 a year in occupational taxes from plant employees.

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Health
10:44 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Kentucky Health Commissioner Pleased with Insurance Sign-Ups by Young Invincibles

In a speech to WKU students, Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, Kentucky's Commissioner for Public Health, spoke of the recently-concluded enrollment period for health insurance.
Credit Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s public health commissioner is encouraged by the number of young adults who enrolled in health insurance on Kynect, the state’s online health exchange. 

Fifty percent of new enrollees were under the age of 35, which Dr. Stephanie Mayfield says should mean cost savings.

"You would think this would be a healthier population who would be accessing the system for preventive measures and not as many chronic diseases," explained Mayfield.  "It's an opportunity to intervene in the still relatively early years and have less of a financial impact on the system."

Dr. Mayfield spoke Tuesday at WKU about Kentucky’s health challenges. 

The state has several initiatives underway that include reducing the rates of smoking, obesity, and cancer deaths, all by 2019.

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