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.

Pages

Health & Safety
1:57 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Bill Would Strengthen Kentucky's Booster Seat Law

Child-safety advocates are asking Kentucky lawmakers to strengthen the state’s booster seat law and bring it in line with national guidelines.

A 2008 law passed by state lawmakers requires that children be in a booster seat until they reach the age of 7 or a height of 50 inches. National standards go further, however, with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommending that children be kept in booster seats until they reach the age of eight or a height of 57 inches.

The Herald-Leader reports that a bill filed in the General Assembly would bring the commonwealth in line with neighboring states. House bill 199 would require boosters  for children younger than nine who are 40 to 57 inches in height.

Advocates say the need for change is supported by research. A study done by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that using a booster seat for children ages 4 to 8 reduced the risk of injury during a car wreck by 59 percent.

Politics
10:27 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Stumbo: Heroin Bill has "Good" Shot of Passing Kentucky House

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) speaks with Rep. Jeff Hoover at the state capitol.
Credit Kentucky LRC

The Speaker of the Kentucky House is signaling that a bill designed to fight heroin stands a good chance of passing his chamber this year.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo was quoted by the Courier-Journal as saying the odds of the bill passing the House are “pretty good”, given that lawmakers have shown a bipartisan ability to back legislation battling illegal drugs. A bill sponsored by Senate Republican Katie Stine seeks to increase the punishment of those convicted of selling high-volumes of drugs while increasing access to substance abuse treatment centers for addicts.

Stine’s bill passed the full Senate on Thursday and is now being considered by the House.

The northern Kentucky lawmaker says her part of the state has seen its treatment centers and law enforcement agencies swamped by a major surge in heroin abuse.

The Courier-Journal reports defense attorneys are objecting to a part of the bill that would help prosecutors convict some drug dealers of homicide when the sale of illegal drugs results in overdose deaths.

Regional
4:39 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Bowling Green Makes Forbes List of Top Places to Retire

Forbes Magazine has named Bowling Green as one of the Top 25 places to retire in 2014. 

The magazine calls the Bowling Green economy “decent” and says the cost of living is six percent below the national average. 

Forbes also highlights the town’s warm climate and low crime rate.

Regional
4:10 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Driver Flees Franklin Police, Dies After Vehicle Overturns on I-65

A woman who fled police officers is dead after her car went off the northbound lanes of I-65 in Warren County and overturned.

Police have not released the identity of the driver pending notification of next of kin.

Franklin Police officers first made contact with the woman Friday after they received a call from a local Wendy’s saying that the vehicle the woman was driving had been parked in the back of the restaurant for over a week. Officers say the woman was uncooperative when confronted, ignored their commands, and drove off.

Despite efforts to stop the car, the driver made it on to I-65 north. Officers with Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement tried to stop the driver on the interstate. According to officers, the driver lost control of her vehicle near mile marker 19, went off the road, and overturned. She was pronounced dead at the scene by the Warren County Coroner’s Office.  

The investigation into the incident is being conducted by the KSP.

Politics
3:16 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Bill Designed to Battle Heroin Easily Clears Kentucky Senate

Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, R-Southgate, follows testimony by Col. Wayne Turner, Bellevue Chief of Police, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee, and later the full Senate, passed a bill sponsored by Stine to combat Kentucky's growing heroin addiction problem.
Credit Kentucky LRC

A bill aimed at combating Kentucky’s rising heroin abuse problem is on to the House after gaining unanimous support in the state Senate. Republican Katie Stine’s measure was passed Thursday on a 36-0 vote, and seeks to distinguish between those who are selling the drug, and those who have become addicted.

“The bill targets two different groups: the trafficker who needs to be run out of Kentucky or locked up, and the addict, who has broken the law, but who has created their own personal prison of addiction that is far worse than any jail the state could design, and who frankly needs treatment,” said the Campbell County lawmaker.

Stine’s bill creates tougher punishments for dealers, making them serve more of their prison sentences before becoming eligible for parole. The legislation also requires the Kentucky Medicaid program to pay for substance-abuse treatment.

According to Stine, the increasing heroin problem is having a major impact on courts and emergency rooms in parts of the commonwealth, especially in the northern part of the state.

Politics
12:40 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Abortion Measure Passes Kentucky Senate Committee

A Kentucky Senate committee has overwhelmingly approved a measure that would require women to have a face-to-face meeting with a doctor or health care provider before having an abortion.

The Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection passed the measure on an 8-to-2 vote Thursday morning. The bill will next be heard by the full Senate next week.

Supporters believe it has a good chance of passing the Senate, but similar measures have repeatedly died in House committees during previous legislative sessions.

Opponents argue the requirement of a face-to-face meeting would place undue burdens on women seeking abortions.

Politics/Health
9:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Bullitt Fiscal Court Passes Local Smoking Ban Covering County Buildings

About one-third of Kentucky is covered by some kind of local smoking ban.

The Bullitt County Fiscal Court is giving its approval to a plan that would bar smoking on county-owned property. Still unsolved, however, is a lawsuit against the county Board of Health over a regulation it passed in 2011 that outlaws smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants.

According to the Courier-Journal, Bullitt Fiscal Court and eight cities in the county sued the Board of Health, saying the body doesn’t have the power to enact such rule changes.

That lawsuit is currently before the state Supreme Court.

The ban passed by the county fiscal court Wednesday doesn’t cover all work and public places, only select facilities owned by the county.

Two Kentucky state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill at the General Assembly that would create a statewide smoking ban.

A recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll shows that a majority of Kentuckians support a statewide smoking ban.

Read more
Sports
5:14 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Brohm Picks Former UAB Colleague To Lead Hilltopper Offense

Tyson Helton is WKU's new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach
Credit WKU Athletics

WKU has a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.  Head coach Jeff Brohm has selected Cincinnati’s Tyson Helton to fill the role that Brohm himself held last season.  Helton spent one year as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Cincinnati.  The Bearcats had a 9-4 season and appeared in the Belk Bowl against North Carolina.

Helton has 13 years of coaching experience, including six at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Brohm and Helton were on the same staff at UAB in 2012.

Helton, 36, played football and earned his bachelor’s degree from Houston.  He and his wife April have two daughters, ages 10 and 8 and twin 5-year-old boys.

Politics
2:43 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Clark: Expanded Gambling Has Public Support, but Legislative Backing Still a Question

A high-ranking Kentucky lawmaker believes there’s enough public support to pass a constitutional amendment to expand gambling in the state.

But House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark also admits that getting the necessary votes in the legislature remains an uphill fight.

The Louisville Democrat testified before the House Licensing and Occupations committee Wednesday about a pair of measures on the issue, including his bill that would ask voters whether casinos should be allowed.

“The Senate also has a constitutional amendment on this subject, and the Governor is engaged as well," Clark said. "I think we’re in a good position this year to make progress.”

A Senate bill sponsored by Louisville Republican Dan Seum would allow up to seven casinos in the state and set aside 10 percent of revenues to benefit Kentucky’s horse industry.

Read more
Politics
9:55 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Analysis: Majority of Kentucky's Congressional Members are Millionaires

Six of Kentucky’s eight members of Congress are millionaires, and an analysis of financial disclosure reports filed last year also shows a Kentucky U.S. Senator and Congressman rank in the top 50 of most wealthy lawmakers.

Kentucky is far from alone when it comes to states with wealthy members of Congress. In fact, more than half of the U.S. Congressmen and Senators made the latest list of millionaires, the first time that has ever happened.

The analysis by the nonprofit Center of Responsive Politics shows that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Yarmuth are the wealthiest lawmakers in Kentucky. Records show McConnell has a net worth of $22.8 million; Yarmuth has $21.2 million.

Nationwide, McConnell ranks as the 37th wealthiest member of Congress, with Yarmuth 41st.

Congressmen Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers, and Thomas Massie also made the list of millionaires. That leaves Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Andy Barr as the only members of Kentucky’s delegation not on the list.

Pages