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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Business
5:35 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Bowling Green UAW to Hold Strike Vote

Credit GM

The local chapter of the United Auto Workers Union will vote Tuesday on whether to authorize a strike at the General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly Plant.

Local 2164 President Eldon Renaud tells WKU Public Radio that several issues arose under the leadership of former plant manager Dave Tatman, who Renaud says, was forced out.

"We've been waiting a long time to try to get these quality and safety issues addressed.  We have manpower issues, and things have just come to a head," says Renaud.  "Our membership voted recently by 100% of the vote to have this (strike) vote taken."

About 800 union workers will cast ballots.  Renaud says he expects workers to approve a strike, but he hopes it doesn’t come to that. 

Plant Spokeswoman Andrea Hales issued the following statement. 

"We pride ourselves in working with our UAW Local 2164 partners to achieve success and build award-winning vehicles. We’re confident that we can work together and have a strong track record of creative problem solving. We’ve built a world-class product at the Bowling Green facility for more than 30 years, with the safety of our employees and quality of the car at the forefront of every decision. We are committed to continue that tradition."

Regional
3:54 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Western Kentucky Sheriff Travels to Israel for Lessons in Security

Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain
Credit Daviess County Sheriff's Department

As sheriff of Daviess County, Keith Cain’s job has taken him a lot of places, but none like where he is now.  Cain is in Israel with a delegation of sheriffs from across the country who were invited to meet with Israeli government, military, and law enforcement officials. 

When WKU Public Radio spoke with the sheriff by phone Wednesday, he was 800 meters outside the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the militant Hamas organization.  He spoke from Sderot, a community that less than a month ago, was the site of 63 rocket attacks in a 36-hour period.

“More than anything that I’ve learned the last three days is the incredible resiliency of the Israeli people.”

That resiliency, he says, was seen in the face of a single mother he spoke with about the daily rocket attacks.

“She said all the children suffer from emotional distress.  We viewed the playgrounds of kindergarten kids who can no longer play outside.  They have to play in fortified bunkers built around their playgrounds,” explained Cain.  “In the community we were in today, they have ten to 15 seconds once they are notified of a rocket attack to get to a sheltered area.  These youngsters learn this as early as age two.  That’s something difficult, I think, for Americans to comprehend.”

The goal of the trip, Cain said, is to learn from experts in terrorist events such as suicide bombings.

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Regional
1:49 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Former South Central Kentucky Pharmacy Worker Pleads Guilty in Federal Drug Case

A former Allen County pharmacy employee has admitted to the theft and distribution of prescription painkillers. 

Lynn Harper Denton entered a guilty plea Tuesday in federal court in Bowling Green to two charges in a seven-count indictment. 

Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky say the 46-year-old Denton stole hydrocodone pills from her employer, Stovall’s Prescription Shop in Scottsville over a five-month period in 2012.  The retail value of the stolen hydrocodone was nearly $30,000. 

Denton admitted selling the pills to co-conspirator Katherine Virginia Rookstool, who is charged with selling the pills Jeffrey Clay Stinson, who sold them on the street.  Stinson pleaded guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.  Rookstool is scheduled to go on trial next month. 

Denton faces up to 30 years in prison at sentencing, though prosecutors will recommend a term at the lower end of the sentencing range. 

As part of the plea agreement, Denton will forfeit more than $5,700 and two vehicles.  She will also make restitution to her former employer. 

Regional
4:40 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Former Central Kentucky Law Enforcement Officer Pleads Guilty to Dealing in Steroids

A former Taylor County sheriff’s deputy was in court Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.

A criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent stated that 38-year-old William Allen Rice sold anabolic steroids to an undercover informant on three occasions between May and August of 2013. 

In one instance, Rice met up with the undercover agent while in uniform and driving his Taylor County Sheriff’s Office vehicle.  In another transaction, Rice told the informant he would leave a bottle of steroids for him on the seat of his cruiser parked at his home in Campbellsville. 

Rice pleaded guilty to a three-count federal indictment Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.  He faces up to 30 years in prison at sentencing.

Regional
3:46 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Kentucky Budget Softens Cuts for WKU, Funds Building Projects

Compared to what Governor Beshear had proposed, Kentucky’s universities and community college system fared better under the final version of new state budget. 

The General Assembly restored one percent of the proposed 2.5% cut to universities, which amounts to about $750,000 less of a budget cut for WKU. 

President Gary Ransdell says, overall, he is pleased with how the budget treated the university.

"It's hard to continue to play defense and just try to hang on to what you have rather than actually get some base funding enhancement," replies Randsell.   "At some point, I hope things turn around and higher education can be a high enough priority to actually improve funding for our operating budgets."

The legislature fully funded WKU’s science building project at a cost of $48 million.  It’s the first time capital projects have been funded on university campuses since 2006. 

WKU also received $2 million for expanding the Gatton Academy from 120 to 200 students.

In addition to reduced state funding, an enrollment decline last fall gave WKU a tuition shortfall of $3.1 million.  To help offset the shortfall, President Ransdell recently announced cost-saving measures that included privatizing WKU Health Services and eliminating a vice president's post. 

Regional
9:41 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Smashed Spyder is Sixth Corvette to Leave Sinkhole

The ZR-1 Spyder suffered extensive damage from a nearly 50-foot fall beneath the ground of the Skydome where the car had been on display.
Credit National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green hosted another rescue mission Tuesday.

A 1993 ZR-1 Spyder was lifted from a 50-foot sinkhole that opened up beneath the museum in February. 

The Spyder was one of eight cars swallowed by the sinkhole, and becomes the sixth to get removed.

Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli says the black Spyder is the most damaged of all the cars recovered so far, but doesn't know if it's beyond restoration.

"That car is on loan from General Motors, so it will be their call what they do with it.  It is a prototype vehicle, so it's not like they just have these parts laying around to fix it," explained Frassinelli.  "A lot of people feel that we should display them as is, because if you restore 85% of a car, is it really the car it once was."

The 2009 1.5 millionth car is partially visible through the mounds of dirt, and will be pulled out Wednesday or Thursday. 

"We don't have high hopes of it being in really good shape.  It's got not only a boulder but also a slab of concrete on top of it," added Frassinelli.

The last of the cars to be removed, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z-06, has not been seen. 

A video of the Spyder's retrieval can be viewed here.

Regional
2:23 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Crews Prepare to Remove Sixth Corvette from Museum Sinkhole

The National Corvette Museum posted this picture Monday which shows crews are uncovering the Spyder and exposing more of the 1.5 millionth Corvette.
Credit National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green is getting closer to pulling out the three remaining cars from a massive sinkhole. 

Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli says a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder will be retrieved next, possibly in the next couple of days. 

Workers spent last week vacuuming dirt out of the sinkhole that opened up beneath the museum February 12.  Eight Corvettes on display in the Skydome fell into the 50-foot-deep hole. 

Besides the Spyder, the 2009 1.5 millionth car and a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z-06 are still inside the sinkhole. 

As they are retrieved, the cars are being placed on display at the museum before they are sent to Michigan for restoration.

Regional
5:00 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Final Sign-Up Day is Here for Kentucky's Health Exchange

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear visits the Kynect call center in Lexington.

Today marks an important deadline for the thousands of Kentuckians still without health insurance.  It’s the last day until November to sign up for Medicaid or private insurance on the state’s health exchange known as Kynect. 

Gwenda Bond in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services says there will be some exceptions for qualifying events.

"If people lose their health insurance coverage for some reason, a job loss or change, a marriage or divorce, then they'll be able to sign up and apply for subsidies," says Gwenda Bond in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.  "In addition to that, people will be able to sign up for Medicaid after the 31st."

Small businesses may also enroll in coverage at any time. 

Over the weekend, the state increased personnel and extended hours at the Kynect call center to accommodate a last-minute surge of enrollments. 

As of Friday afternoon, more than 350,000 Kentuckians had enrolled in coverage on the health exchange.

Regional
2:42 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Kentucky Beefs Up Technology, Manpower Ahead of Health Insurance Deadline

Workers field calls about Kynect at a call center in Lexington.
Credit Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Kentucky is taking measures to handle an expected last-minute surge in applications for health insurance ahead of Monday’s deadline. 

The state has added phone operators at the Lexington call center and increased server power on Kynect, the state’s health exchange. 

"We've been seeing a tremendous increase in the number of people applying and approved each day," says Gwenda Bond in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.  "We've been seeing about 3,100 each day and I suspect that's even higher this week."

According to the state, 350,386 uninsured Kentuckians have enrolled in Medicaid or private coverage as of Friday afternoon.

With a few exceptions, Monday, March 31 is the deadline to enroll in coverage that will take effect this year.  The next open enrollment period begins in November for coverage that would take effect in 2015.

When the current enrollment period began last October 1, an estimated 640,000 Kentuckians were uninsured.  Governor Steve Beshear told WKU Public Radio this week that he is "astonished" by the number of enrollments so far, and expects it will take two to three years to reach everyone.

"I think long-term you're going to see this grow, expand so hopefully every Kentuckian will finally have access to affordable health coverage," commented Beshear.  "We're going to be a much healthier state because of this effort."

For more information, call 1-855-459-6328  from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET or go to Kynect.ky.gov.

Regional
11:17 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Bowling Green, Warren County Schools Set Last of Day of Classes

School systems across Kentucky can finalize their calendars now that state lawmakers have reached an agreement over making up days missed because of snow. 

The Warren County Board of Education, at a special meeting Thursday night, voted to make up the remaining seven days and end the school year on June 4.  The board's action means that all 13 days missed due to inclement weather will be made up. 

Meanwhile, the Bowling Green City School District missed five days this year. Three of those days were made up using designated make-up days in the school calendar. City schools will make up the additional two days by being in session April 18 and May 23, both also designated make-up days in the school calendar.

May 23rd will be the last day of school for Bowling Green students.

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