WKU Public Radio News

News Team

The award-winning news team at WKU Public Radio consists of Dan Modlin, Kevin Willis, Lisa Autry, and Joe Corcoran.

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WKU Athletics

Incoming Lady Hilltopper Whitney Creech has been named the 2016 Female Athlete of the Year by the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. The freshman is the all-time leading scorer in Kentucky high school basketball history.

During her career at Jenkins High School Creech poured in 5,527 points. She led the nation in scoring in her final two seasons with the Lady Cavaliers averaging 42 points a game as a junior and 50.3 points a game as a senior.

Creech was also named the 14th Region Player of the Year and was a finalist for Miss Kentucky Basketball 2016.

Creech will join fellow WKU signees Malaka Frank and Sarah Price in the annual Kentucky All-Star Game on June 12th. That will be the first time in four years that WKU has had three players selected in the same season.

International Bluegrass Music Center

The city of Owensboro awarded the construction contract to build the new International Bluegrass Music Center to Peyronnin Construction of Evansville Wednesday. Peyronnin was the lowest of four bids for the project at $9.2 million.

Preconstruction is expected to begin within the next two weeks at the site on the corner of 2nd and Frederica Streets. Completion of the center is expected in the spring of 2018.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer quotes mayor Ron Payne as saying the project is good for the entire state of Kentucky, not just Owensboro. Payne said Peyronnin's bid wasn't a lot higher than original estimates which was surprising since a lot of construction projects underway in the area cause construction costs to rise.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and former Governor Steve Beshear are expected at a groundbreaking for the building on June 23rd. The Bluegrass Center received $5 million in state funding under Beshear's administration.

WFPL News

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is one of many high-profile Republicans who are either uncommitted or say they won’t attend their party’s national convention this summer.

Paul and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had several intense exchanges during presidential debates earlier this year. Paul is one of Kentucky’s convention delegates, but hasn’t committed to attending the Cleveland event.

A spokesman for the Bowling Green Republican told the New York Times the Senator’s schedule was “still being firmed up.”

Two leading GOP politicians from the state hosting the convention, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman, haven’t committed to attending the convention.

Senator John McCain of Arizona is one of four living former Republican presidential nominees skipping the event.

Ellis Park

Ellis Park horse track in Henderson is increasing its daily race totals to more than $200,000 this summer, with a big boost from Kentucky Downs.

The Evansville Courier and Press reports the track in Franklin is giving a $1.3 million contribution to Ellis Park’s purse fund.

Kentucky Downs will be simulcasting Ellis Park’s races nationally this season, and the million dollar donation will help build the circuit.

That along with increased Instant Racing revenue will boost the daily race purses to $210,000.

Ellis Park will go dark for a day over the Labor Day holiday to leave all local racing to Kentucky Downs.

Ellis Park’s racing season begins July 2 and ends on September 5.

Horse Cave Stories

Nineteen people who were trapped in a Hart County cave by quickly rising waters Thursday had a close call, but made it to safety.

Students from Clemson University in South Carolina began their caving trip at Hidden River Cave at 10:00 am.

The students entered the attraction in the town of Horse Cave with four tour guides.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued about 2 in the afternoon. Four members of the group were able to get out of the cave. But quickly rising waters trapped the rest of the group. They stayed in a portion of the cave with a higher ceiling “The Attic.”

At 3:00 pm  two officers from the Horse Cave Police Department went in to rescue the cavers, but the police officers also became trapped.

A tour guide was able to lead the trapped group out of the cave safely by 4:30.

Ft. Knox Army Post

Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes is the new Commanding General at Fort Knox.

He assumes the position previously held by Maj. Gen. Peggy Combs, who was the post's first female commander. She'll be the new chief of staff of the Northern Command Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Hughes comes to Fort Knox after serving a two year term as chief of staff for the Army's Pacific Command at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

One of the Commanding General's major responsibilities is guiding the Cadet Command at Fort Knox.

Apus Air

The Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport is giving the OK to a bid for a commercial flight school service.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Airport executive director Bob Whitmer said California-based Apus Air was the lone bidder to provide the service.

Apus trains commercial pilots for Chinese and other Asian airlines.

The airport announced in March that Apus planned to invest $1.25 million in an office building, hangars, and other costs related to the flight school.

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates an open bid process for flight school operations.

Cheryl Beckley, WKU PBS

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says he supports the idea of having women register for a potential military draft.

The Courier-Journal reports Republican Mitch McConnell said he thinks it would be appropriate, given that women in the military are already performing many different functions.

The Selective Service System currently registers men ages 18 to 25 only.

Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have recently passed defense policy bills that include  a registration requirement for women.

Some Democratic lawmakers have said adding women to the Selective Service list would help achieve gender equality for women in the military.

Kentuckians go to the polls Tuesday to choose their Democratic presidential nominee, major-party candidates for U.S. Senate and House, and nominees for multiple state House and Senate races.

Before you head out to the polls, here’s what you should know:

When and where can I vote?

Polls open at 6 a.m. local time and close at 6 p.m. You can find your polling place and check out sample ballots here.

How long will I have to stand in line?

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she expects 20 percent of the state’s more than 3.2 million registered voters to cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary elections. Grimes says the absence of a Republican presidential race will likely drive down turnout on the GOP side. The state party held a presidential caucus in March, which Donald Trump won easily.

Who am I voting for?

In the federal races: Democratic Presidential Primary, Republican Senate Primary, Democratic Senate Primary, and all six Congressional Districts.

A detailed guide to the 2016 federal elections is right here.

When will I know who won?

Statewide results should start rolling in a little after 6 p.m. central, when polls in the western part of the state close. We’ll have live coverage on the air, and at wkyufm.org.

Midway University

The only women’s college in Kentucky will undergo a major transition this fall.

For the first time in nearly 170 years, Midway University will begin accepting men as full-time undergraduates with the fall semester.

Male students can apply to live in residence halls starting in Spring of 2017. Previously, men were accepted only in graduate or online programs.

The school’s board of trustees voted Monday to make the change.

University President John Marsden said the decision was made in order for the liberal arts university to remain viable.

Midway traces its roots back to 1847, when it was founded as the Kentucky Female Orphan School.

Creative Commons

The Vanderburgh County jail in Evansville is holding 680 prisoners. The Evansville Courier & Press reports Sheriff Dave Wedding says the facility was built with 512 beds and a 540 inmate capacity.

Wedding says part of the problem is a change in Indiana state law that requires low-level felons with at least a year still to serve once their cases are adjudicated to remain in county jails. Previously they were transported to Indiana state corrections facilities.

Sheriff Wedding also blames widespread drug and alcohol addiction, a lack of jail alternatives and a backed up court calendar.

More than two dozen inmates will be transported to other jails in southwest Indiana to help ease the overcrowding.

SKyPAC

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green is looking for a new leader.

SKyPAC Foundation Board Chair Katherine Sikora released a statement Friday afternoon saying Jan Zarr was no longer the group’s executive director.

Zarr took the position in March of 2014.

The statement gave no reason behind his departure.

"Jan has seen SKyPAC through a period of transition and we appreciate his efforts," Sikora said in the statement.

Sikora says the board of directors has named former WBKO Television Vice President and General Manager Rick McCue interim executive director.

Zarr helped open the Bowling Green-based arts center before taking a job as director with the Topeka Performing Arts Center in Kansas. He then returned to Bowling Green to take the SKyPAC executive director position.

Creative Commons

Bowling Green Police now say as many as 26 businesses have reported broken windows following a late night vandalism spree.

Reports of vandalism have come in from several different parts of the city late Thursday night and early Friday morning.

Bowling Green Police spokesman officer Ronnie Ward says investigators are looking at security camera footage from area businesses in an effort to identify the culprits.

Ward says police think the damage to the windows were caused by shots from a high-power BB gun or possibly a slingshot.

“Two of the businesses that got hit last night were open at the time their windows were broken out. Someone could be injured or killed just by whatever device they’re using,” Ward said.

Some of the impacted businesses include the Waffle House on Russellville Road, Pier 1 Imports on Scottsville Road,  and Steamer Seafood and the law firm of English, Lucas, Priest, and Owsley, LLP in the city’s downtown.

City of Owensboro

An Owensboro shelter for victims of domestic violence could lose as much as a half-million dollars in federal funding later this year. The executive director of “Oasis” blames a change in philosophy at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Jill Faulkner told the Owensboro Messenger – Inquirer HUD’s “Continuum Care” program is focusing now more on finding permanent housing for the homeless and moving away from funding transitional housing facilities like “Oasis”.

The federal grant makes up a third of the facility’s annual budget. They’ve received the money for more than 20 years.

Funding runs through the end of November and Faulkner says they’ll spend that time looking for other funding sources and maybe appeal the decision. Whatever happens, she says, “Oasis” will not close its doors.

Last year "Oasis" served 125 women, three men and 138 children in the shelter and more than 1,000 through outreach.

A former Barren County magistrate is pleading guilty to several federal charges related to his dental practice.

Chris Steward was indicted last month on charges that he illegally distributed controlled substances outside his medical practice.

The Glasgow Daily Times reports that Steward acknowledged in a plea agreement released Tuesday that he wrote prescriptions to individuals who then gave him pills.

Steward also admitted to defrauding the state’s Medicaid system by writing fake prescriptions paid for by the program.

Steward faces up to 67 years in prison, and a $3.25 million fine.

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