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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Regional
5:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Ten-Digit Dialing Coming Soon to Western Kentucky

In just over two weeks, people living in western Kentucky's 270 area code will be dialing ten digits.  A new area code, 364, is being added to the same geographic region as the current 270 code. 

Spokesman Andrew Melnykovich with the Kentucky Public Service Commission emphasizes that local calls will not become long-distance calls.

"When you make local calls, you don't dial the one in front of it," explains Melnykovich.  "You just dial the ten digits. which is the area code and the seven-digit local number."

Beginning February 1st, it will be mandatory for people in those codes to dial ten digits for local calls.  The PSC added the new area code to meet the need for more telephone numbers in the region. 

The first numbers using the new 364 code may be assigned beginning in March.

Politics
3:13 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

State Senator from Western Kentucky Announces Retirement

Kentucky State Senator Jerry Rhoads, D-Madisonville
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A state senator from western Kentucky plans to make the current legislative session his last.  Jerry Rhoads announced his retirement Friday. 

“Serving the people of the 6th District in the State Senate these past 12 years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  I will treasure the many friendships I have made throughout the counties I have represented in my three terms of service in the State Senate," said Rhoads in a written statement.  "After careful reflection, I have decided that with eight young, energetic grandchildren, it is time to step away from the hectic pace and demands of public service in order to spend more time with my family and pursue other life goals.”

Rhoads said he planned to remain active in his Madisonville law practice.

Rhoads’ announcement creates an open seat in Kentucky’s 6th Senate District, which represents Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Ohio and Butler counties. 

Rhoads’ retirement leaves Morgantown Republican State Representative C.B. Embry the only candidate so far to file for the seat. 

The filing deadline is January 28th.

Education
2:45 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Kentucky CPE President Out of Running for Job in Wisconsin

Kentucky CPE President Bob King
Credit Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

The president of the Council on Postsecondary Education will remain in Kentucky, at least for now. 

Bob King was one of three finalists for the presidency of the University of Wisconsin System.  Dr. King was eliminated from the search process following interviews in Wisconsin on Monday. 

Dr. King has led the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education since 2009. 

Before then, he was Chancellor of the State University of New York.

Business
3:52 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Study: Political Speeches Affect Business Investment in States

A new study from the University of Tennessee finds that talk isn’t cheap when it comes to speeches by politicians.  Specifically, co-author Larry Fauver says the tone and content of governors' state of the state speeches is linked to financial investments in their states.

"Our results showed that there is new information that the governor is revealing to the market," explains Dr. Fauver.  "In addition to that, it's also about the tone of the speech, what the governor will do in the future."

The study analyzed 388 state of the state speeches around the country between 2002 and 2010, and the investment behavior of more than 5,700 companies over the same period.  In the year following a more optimistic speech, businesses invested two percent more of their capital than in states where the governors had a more pessimistic outlook.

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Politics
2:13 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

First Day on the Job for Western Kentucky Special Election Winner

Representative Suzanne Miles takes the oath of Office from Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr.
Credit Kentucky House Republican Leadership

Kentucky’s newest House member was sworn into office Tuesday on the opening day of the 2014 General Assembly session. 

Representative Suzanne Miles of Owensboro was also appointed to serve on the House Agriculture, Judiciary, and State Government Committees. 

“I’m excited about serving on these committees, and hope to utilize my background as a small business owner, an advocate for our farming community, and my passion for government to help move our Commonwealth forward,” said Rep. Miles.

Miles, a Republican, won a special election in December to serve the remaining term of former Representative John Arnold.

Miles' victory eroded the Kentucky Democratic Party’s margin of control in the House. The Democrats now have 54 seats against the Republicans’ 46.

Regional
12:36 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Warren County Mom has Fond Memories of Family Court Judge Huddleston

Judge Huddleston is seen in this 2004 photo of Michael and Denise Lambrianou with their 19-month-old adopted son Dakota.
Credit Denise Lambrianou

Funeral services will be held Wednesday for longtime Warren County Family Court Judge Margaret Huddleston.  She passed away last week from a recurrence of cancer. 

In her work with the Family Enrichment Center in Warren County, Denise Lambrianou helps recruit foster and adoptive parents for the state of Kentucky.  She is also the adoptive mother of four boys.  Judge Huddleston finalized the adoptions on two of her children. 

Lambrianou remembers the judge as tough, who had to be for her line of work, but she also recalls her softer side.

"Being a family court judge is probably one of the hardest things in the world, so to get to see families start out on a happy note, I think gave her a lot of joy," recalls Lambrianou.  "You could just see it in her eyes.  She was so happy for the child and the family that was getting to become a family."

Lambrianou says her boys still have the stuffed teddy bears Judge Huddleston gave them on adoption day.  She also made it a custom to let children take her seat behind the bench and pose for pictures. 

Huddleston was the first female circuit judge in Warren County whose work is credited for improving the lives of countless children.

Education
2:10 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Kentucky Higher Education Official a Finalist for Wisconsin Job

Dr. Bob King
Credit Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

The president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is a one of three finalists for a job out west.  CPE President Bob King is in the running for the University of Wisconsin System presidency. 

According to its website, the University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest systems of public higher education in the country with 13 four-year universities and an annual enrollment of more than 180,000 students. 

A UW System news release says a Board of Regents selection committee plans to interview the three finalists on Monday and announce a hiring decision to the public next Thursday. 

Dr. King has led the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education since 2009.  Before then, he was Chancellor of the State University of New York.

Regional
11:51 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Owensboro Red Cross Seeks Donors to Strengthen Disaster Relief

The American Red Cross is in the business of helping others, but the Owensboro chapter now finds itself asking for help.  Community Executive Malissa Troutman says disaster relief funds were depleted after assisting victims of last weekend's apartment fire in Calhoun.

"When it's cold outside, assisting families costs more.  There are winter coats, shoes, and everything else that must be replaced.  We also had some healthcare needs that we met, replacing some medications and other things to meet those families' needs. 

Troutman says the fire was the biggest disaster the Owensboro Red Cross responded to in 2013.  The local chapter needs at least $10,000 to assist with future disasters. 

"Everyone's situation is unique," adds Troutman.  "The donor who gives $1 and the donor who gives $10,000 or $100,000 are equally important."

Donations can be made in person, by phone, or online.  Click here for more information.

Regional
8:47 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Kentucky AG Asks Congress to Fund Anti-Human Trafficking Programs

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway
Credit Kentucky Attorney General's Office

Kentucky’s attorney general is joining his counterparts across the country in pressing Congress to fund state efforts toward combating human trafficking. 

Attorney General Jack Conway and the AGs of 46 states and territories sent a letter this week asking Congress to fund the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. The funding would go toward programs that fight what’s called “modern-day slavery.”

"It's happening across the country, including right here in Kentucky," Conway wrote.  "This is mission-critical funding necessary to better protect victims of human trafficking and prosecute traffickers."

The 2000 law up for reauthorization established human trafficking as a federal crime and increased the country’s efforts to protect underage victims.  It also funded task forces and gave prosecutors more effective tools for prosecuting offenders. 

Many victims of human trafficking are forced to work in prostitution, others are exploited for their labor in restaurants, factories, and on farms. 

The number of cases prosecuted in Kentucky has grown from just one in 2007 to 12 this year.

Politics
9:45 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Bill Would Force Kentucky's Leaders to Visit Certain Areas of the Commonwealth

Kenny Imes, R-Murray
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A lawmaker from western Kentucky thinks state leaders should visit the far ends of commonwealth, areas he believes, are sometimes overlooked. 

State Representative Kenny Imes has pre-filed legislation for the 2014 session that would require certain non-merit employees, including the governor, to visit two of the most western and most eastern counties before they take office or be appointed to a position.

“Our Commissioner of Agriculture, James Comer, made a pledge to visit all 120 counties in the Commonwealth after taking office.  My bill would only require people like the Governor and his staff, his cabinet secretaries, and others to visit two: Fulton and Pike,” said Rep. Imes in a news release.  “They represent the people of Fulton and Pike County as equally as they do those living in Fayette and Jefferson, so it’s only right we require they make the effort to visit these regions.”

The leaders would have to get a certificate from the county clerks of Fulton and Pike counties as proof they physically traveled there. 

The legislation also requires travel for cabinet secretaries, commissioners, employees of KET, the state highway engineer, and employees of the Council on Postsecondary Education.  Those individuals would be required to travel on their own time and could not be reimbursed for travel expenses.

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