WKU Public Radio News

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

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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.

Politics
3:35 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Conservative PAC Opens Offices in Kentucky Ahead of Bevin-McConnell Contest

A national conservative group is opening five field offices in Kentucky in an effort to help Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin defeat incumbent U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in the May primary election. 

The Madison Project will staff Get Out the Vote offices in Louisville, Florence, Owensboro, Glasgow, and Bowling Green.  In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, the group’s political director Drew Ryun said those cities have traditionally been strongholds for Senator McConnell. 

Acknowledging that McConnell will have a powerful financial advantage over the Tea Party’s Matt Bevin, the PAC says it will rely more on a ground game.  The Madison Project played in a role in Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s upset win in 2012. 

A McConnell spokesperson the PAC had a failing strategy if its plan was to attack the five-term incumbent.

Business
10:45 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Beam Inc. to Be Bought By Japanese Company

Visitors take a tour at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Ky.
Credit Jim Beam distillery

A Japanese company has announced plans to acquire the producer of Jim Beam bourbon.

Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan, has agreed to purchase Beam Incorporated for $16 billion.

The Courier-Journal reports that under a deal approved by leadership at both companies, the current Beam management team would continue to lead the business from Beam headquarters outside Chicago, with Jim Beam maintaining its distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.

Beam Incorporated owns many of the most famous names in the world of bourbon, including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Bookers, and Old Grand-Dad.

The company’s portfolio also includes brands of vodka, rum, tequila, as well as Irish and Scotch whiskies.

The acquisition of Beam Incorporated by Suntory Holdings is expected to finalized in the second quarter of this year.

Business
8:34 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Corvette Stingray Wins Top Award at North American International Auto Show

The Corvette Stingray, manufactured in Bowling Green
Credit Chevrolet

A Bowling Green-built auto continues its streak of awards.

The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, made at the General Motors plant in Warren County, has been named North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show.

The Stingray has already won best car of the year honors from Automobile and Autoweek magazines.

The press preview days for the North American International Auto Show kick off with the awards. The announcements came Monday morning at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The truck of the year winner is the Chevrolet Silverado.

The Chevy sweep came after General Motors made the most appearances on this year’s list finalists. Others included the Cadillac CTS and Mazda3. Truck/utility finalists included the Acura MDX and Jeep Cherokee.

Forty-eight automotive journalists vote on winners from the list of finalists.

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Sports
9:40 am
Fri January 10, 2014

WKU to Introduce Brohm as New Head Football Coach Friday Afternoon

Jeff Brohm will be WKU's third head football coach in three seasons.
Credit WKU Athletics

WKU will officially introduce Jeff Brohm as the school's next head football coach at a 3:30 p.m. news conference today at the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Club at L.T. Smith Stadium.

Brohm, 42, served as WKU offensive coordinator this past season under coach Bobby Petrino, who was named the new head coach at Louisville yesterday.

Brohm played for five teams in the NFL before he began his college coaching career at Louisville. He's also been an assistant at Florida Atlantic, Illinois and UAB.

He becomes the 19th head coach in school history and the third in the last three years.

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Regional
8:51 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Investigators in Bardstown Police Officer Killing Looking into Possible Connections with PA Murder

Kentucky investigators are looking into whether a recent murder in Pennsylvania could be connected with the May, 2013, murder of a Bardstown police officer.

The Courier-Journal reports a Kentucky State Police detective working the murder case of officer Jason Ellis has been in contact with Pennsylvania State Police regarding the shooting death of a man along I-81 in southern Pennsylvania.

Twenty-eight-year-old Timothy Davidson called 9-1-1 early Saturday and said someone in a pickup truck was shooting at him. Police say Davidson was forced into a median and disabled his vehicle before being shot to death.

Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis was gunned down May 25 after he got out of his police cruiser to move debris off a Bluegrass Parkway exit in Nelson County. Investigators have described that shooting as an ambush.

A Kentucky State Police spokesman says the two cases are being compared for any similarities. Over $200,000 in reward money has been offered for information into the Ellis murder.

Regional
11:35 am
Thu January 9, 2014

WKU Public Radio Temporarily Off Air in Henderson, Owensboro, and Evansville Region

Update at 2:31 p.m.:

WKU Public Radio's 89.5 FM signal is back on the air in the region of Owensboro, Henderson, and Evansville at half-power. Our site engineer is continuing efforts to get the signal fully restored.

The signal went completely off the air this morning following a transmitter failure.

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Sports
10:11 am
Thu January 9, 2014

WKU Athletic Director Thanks Petrino for Year as Hilltopper Coach

WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart has issued a statement regarding football coach Bobby Petrino's decision to leave the school for the University of Louisville head coaching position.

Petrino was officially introduced Thursday morning as the new Cardinals head coach, his second stint at U of L. Petrino led the Cardinals from 2003-2006 and gained a reputation as one of the nation's most creative offensive innovators.

Here is the statement released Thursday by WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart:

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Regional
7:12 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Roadway Deaths Drop in Kentucky, Tennessee

Transportation officials say 635 people died on Kentucky roadways last year, but that number is dramatically down from the year before.  Not since 1949 – some 64 years ago – have Kentucky roads been so safe.  It’s a drastic turnaround from 2012 when the state saw nearly 750 deaths on the roads.

Kentucky’s Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says he’s encouraged by the reduction in fatalities but still “firmly believes that one fatality is too many”.  

Hancock says troopers will continue to focus on encouraging seat belt use and reducing drunk driving, the two leading causes of traffic fatalities.  In Tennessee, meantime, roadway fatalities fell by more than two percent last year.

Regional
2:25 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Work Progresses on Widening I-65 from Horse Cave to Munfordville

Work to widen Interstate 65 from four lanes to six continues in Hart County. 

A news release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says that beginning Wednesday evening, crews will be setting up a temporary barrier wall on southbound lanes. There will be temporary lane closures at night, but no lane closures will be allowed during the day from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. 

Once the wall is in place there should not be a need of temporary lane closures until the next shift in October.

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