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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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.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his call for a political revolution to Evansville Monday.

Speaking a day before Indiana’s primary, Sanders told an estimated crowd of more than 3,000 people that the country will be watching tomorrow to see who the Hoosier State supports.

The Evansville Courier and Press reports Sanders told the crowd at Old National Events Plaza that America needs less corporate greed, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Sanders is trailing Hillary Clinton by about 300 pledged delegates.

But Clinton has a huge advantage in support among superdelegates---the Democratic Party leaders who can back any candidate they like at the party’s nominating convention.

WKU Athletics

Three WKU football players were selected on the final day of the NFL draft. That ties a program record for the most players selected in the modern era. Five other players were invited to rookie camps.

Tight end Tyler Higbee was the first Hilltopper to get the call, chosen by the Los Angeles Rams with the 110th overall pick in the fourth round. Higbee became the highest offensive draft pick ever for WKU, and the first offensive player taken since 2003.

Record-setting WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty was taken by the Miami Dolphins as the 223rd pick in the draft's seventh round. The south Florida native led the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns for the past two years.

Doughty is the first WKU quarterback ever selected in the NFL draft.

Cornerback Prince Charles Iworah rounded out the WKU selections when he was taken by the San Francisco 49ers also in the seventh round.

It's been almost a year since the badly decomposed remains of a woman were found in Hart County. The body was beyond recognition, but now Kentucky State Police are teaming up with the National Missing & Unidentified Persons System to put a face, and hopefully a name, to the woman.

Last June 25, a truck driver jogging near Waterloo Road in Hart County noticed what appeared to be a dead body. Troopers called to the scene confirmed they were human remains but an identification was impossible.

All they had to go on was it was a female between 24 and 47 years old, wearing a necklace with the letter "S" emblem on it, a gray stud earring with a pink stone, a medium sized "Southern Comfort" t-shirt, red underwear and white Wilson sneakers with green laces. She was entered into NamUs just four days later as UP 13979.

The Hart County Coroner and Kentucky State Police reached out to Project EDAN (Everyone Deserves A Name) and Certified Forensic Artist Jeanne Cybulski of the Mesa, AZ police department took up the case.

Creative Commons

A Pulaski County school crossing guard has died after being hit by a truck. 

According to Kentucky State Police, 69 year old Doyle Patterson of Somerset died Wednesday night at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

Patterson was struck Wednesday afternoon at Southwestern High School. 

The pickup driver was 62 year old Windell Phelps, also of Somerset.

No drug or alcohol use was suspected, and police don’t expect any charges to be filed. Police say Phelps is also a school employee.

Kevin Willis, WKU Public Radio

Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell says budget cuts at the school won’t negatively impact academic programs.

WKU Wednesday released a plan to eliminate $6 million from the fiscal year 2017 budget.

Ransdell said no degree programs or faculty positions that are currently filled are being eliminated. The cuts are the result of a 4.5 percent reduction in state funding, an enrollment decline, and a 48 percent increase in the employer contribution to the Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

Nearly $750,000 in savings will be gained by moving the school's Buildings Services and Grounds employees to a private contract with Sodexo.

However, Ransdell said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon that none of those employees will lose their jobs.

“Each employee, the 202 in our BSA work group and our grounds crew, will receive a dollar-an-hour raise,” Ransdell told reporters. “Their compensation will go from $9.26 an hour to $10.26 an hour, so they’re getting nearly a ten-percent pay increase.”

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