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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A recent WKU graduate from Lexington has won the 2015 Hearst National Multimedia championship.

Adam Wolfbrandt received his photojournalism degree last month, and is the first WKU student to win the Hearst Multimedia title, along with a $5,000 award.

The Hearst awards are considered the “Pulitzers of college journalism”, and are given annually to students for excellence in the fields of photojournalism, writing, radio, television, and multimedia.

WKU students have won the Hearst photojournalism title 11 times, and the Hearst national writing championship and radio news championship one time each.

A former Buffalo Trace Distillery guard pleaded guilty today to aiding a theft ring that allegedly sold thousands of bottles of bourbon illegally.

Thirty-five year old Leslie Wright of Frankfort is accused of taking payments from members of a crime syndicate in exchange for allowing them to steal 11 barrels of bourbon from Buffalo Trace.

The Courier-Journal reports Wright has agreed to a plea deal that could allow her to avoid jail time. She has agreed to testify against others, and pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of facilitation to receive stolen property over $10,000.

Wright is one of ten people charged in what prosecutors have described as an organized effort to steal and sell bourbon and steroids. Nine others were indicted in April, including a Buffalo Trace employee accused of running the operation since 2008.

Former Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton has begun serving an 18 month sentence for two counts of witness tampering. Eaton was allowed to turn himself in Thursday to the low security Federal Correctional Institution at Oakdale, Louisiana.

Eaton was originally convicted by a federal jury two years ago on two counts of witness tampering. He and two deputies were accused of using unnecessary force on a suspect and then trying to cover it up. Eaton had remained free on bond since then pending an appeal. His conviction was upheld by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

One of the deputies initially charged in the case pleaded guilty to making a false statement and was placed on a probation that has since ended.

Following Thursday state-wide recanvass of votes that showed Louisville businessman Matt Bevin still leading Comer by 83 votes, Comer e-mailed the following statement just before 8:00 a.m. Central time Friday morning.

“Within minutes of receiving the results of the recanvass, I called Matt Bevin to concede and congratulate him on a hard fought victory. I asked Matt to afford me the opportunity to personally contact a few of my strongest supporters across the state to again thank them for their support and tell them about my concession. I promised Matt that I would release my statement prior to his Friday morning press conference with the Republican down ballot candidates.

Throughout the entire primary campaign, I grew to appreciate Matt Bevin’s knowledge of the issues, his work ethic, and his morals. Matt ran a clean campaign which focused on the issues important to Kentuckians. Matt Bevin will stand up to the special interest groups that have held our great state back and fight the corrupt elements that still exist in Frankfort. I enthusiastically endorse Matt Bevin for Governor and pledge to do everything I can to see that he wins in November.” 

Comer had until the close of business Friday to call for a full re-count of the votes from last week's gubernatorial primary but that was seen as politically divisive within the Kentucky Republican party and also very expensive; some estimates were as high as $300,000.

Comer's concession sets up a race between Bevin and Kentucky Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway in a rare off-year election that serves as a precursor to the 2016 Presidential contest.

The state board of elections won't officially certify the results of the race until June 8th.

The former Glasgow police chief is suing the city and the interim chief.

Guy Turcotte stepped down from the police chief position at the end of 2014 and was appointed to another post within the department by then-Mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman. Her successor, Dick Doty, appointed officer James Duff as interim police chief, with a search currently underway for a permanent successor.

The Glasgow Daily-Times reports that Turcotte claims in his suit that he has been subjected to unfounded criticism, micromanagement, harassment, and belittlement. Turcotte claims that despite being one of the highest-paid officers on the force, he has been treated like a “rookie police officer.”

A statement released by Glasgow city attorney Rich Alexander said the city welcomed the scrutiny that will now be placed on Turcotte’s employment history, and that the former police chief will "be required to explain his actions and conduct relative to the Glasgow Police Department.”

"The city is confident in its position and perhaps these recurring issues will be finally resolved and the police department can then get on with the business of protecting and serving its citizens," the statement concluded.

The Kentucky Republican Party’s website is back up and running after an anonymous group of hackers seized control of it over the weekend. 

The website was hacked by AnonCoders on Sunday and it remained down until Tuesday morning.  An online search of AnonCoders only yielded a Facebook page, which gave little information about the group. 

According to Wikipedia, AnonCoders was created in January and "mostly targets Israeli websites in protest of crimes allegedly committed against the Palestinian people on behalf of Israel."

The reason for the attack on the Kentucky Republican Party website is unknown.  State GOP Chairman Steve Robertson told CN-2’s Pure Politics he doesn’t believe any donor information was compromised since that information is stored on a separate server.

Unofficial GOP Primary Totals

With all precincts reporting, Matt Bevin leads James Comer by 83 votes. Those are unofficial totals. Comer says he wants a recanvass, but is also pledging to support Bevin if the numbers hold.  

Bevin Barely Ahead in Republican Primary for Governor

With 99% of the vote counted, Matt Bevin leads James Comer by 83 votes.

Primary Races Called:

Whitney Westerfield, GOP primary for Attorney General

Allison Ball, GOP primary for Treasurer

Rick Nelson, Democratic primary for Treasurer

Voters in Kentucky today are choosing the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. 

The GOP matchup is extremely close between three of the four candidates. 

James Comer spent the final weeks of his campaign fending off allegations of domestic abuse.  After voting in his hometown of Tompkinsville this morning, Comer told WKU Public Radio he thinks the allegations will "backfire."

"The people who know me are offended by what's been printed.  They're working harder than they've ever worked," said Comer.  "We have a great ground game in just about every county in the state and I feel very confident it's going to be a good night."

Comer has accused Hal Heiner’s campaign of pushing the allegations, though Heiner himself has denied any involvement.  After voting in Louisville, Heiner wouldn't comment on the end of a long and negative campaign, saying only that people in Kentucky are wanting to move the state in a new direction. 

"For 63 weeks, we have focused on what's possible in Kentucky," remarked Heiner.  "I just believe we're at a crossroads right now.  We can do so much better.  I know we can."

Also voting in Louisville was businessman Matt Bevin who said momentum has moved in his direction.

"We've done what we need to do.  We laid down a very good campaign, I think," Bevin commented.  "We've raised the issues, we stayed out of the gutter, and the voters will decide."

WKU has announced head baseball coach Matt Myers will not return for another season.

WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart says a national search for the next Hilltopper coach will begin immediately.

The team just wrapped upped its fourth season under Myers with a 24-28 record overall and a 10-19 record in Conference USA. They missed qualifying for the conference tournament for the first time since 1998.

In announcing Myers' termination, Stewart wrote in a news release that the team's record over the past four years didn't meet his expectations. He added, "We must have more success in conference play and the postseason."

Myers became head coach in 2012 after being on the staff since 2008. The team went 106-118 overall during his tenure, 54-65 in conference games and just 1-6 in conference tournament games.


Owensboro Community and Technical College didn’t go far in naming its new president. 

Dr. Scott Williams takes the helm after spending the past 15 years at the campus.  He is currently vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer, a position he has held since 2008. 

“Dr. Williams will be an excellent leader for OCTC,” said Dr. Jay Box, president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. “We are fortunate he already has great knowledge and experience within our system and his vision and ideas will lead to the continued success of the college.”

Williams will begin his new appointment July 1.