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.


5:25 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Bowling Green Man Wanted in Cold Case Slaying of Wife in Custody

Leland Neal arrested in Mexico.

A man wanted in the cold case killing of his wife in south-central Kentucky has been captured in Mexico. 

Prosecutors took out a warrant last year, charging Leland Neal in the death of his estranged wife Carol Neal.

The Bowling Green social worker was reported missing in 1998. Her body was never found, but hikers discovered part of her skull in 2003 in the Daniel Boone National Forest. 

Mexican authorities were holding Leland Neal about a week ago in connection with a robbery when they discovered the murder warrant and contacted U.S. officials.  Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron says Neal is now in custody in Texas.

"The warrants we had outstanding against him were served on Mr. Neal," stated Cohron.  "He was lodged in the Harris County Detention Center in Houston, Texas and should be extradited to Warren County in the next couple of weeks."

At the time of her  disappearance 16 years ago, Carol was separated from Leland and the couple was in the midst of divorce proceedings.  An affidavit stated that Carol had filed a domestic violence report against her estranged husband.

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2:48 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Tornado Watch Extended, Expanded

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for nearly all of our listening area until 11 p.m. CST.  The watch means conditions are right for severe weather. Heavy rain and gusty winds are considered to be the biggest threats from the storm.

10:15 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Kentucky Supreme Court Rules on Taxes and Legal Challenge Related to Instant Racing

Legal challenges against Instant Racing in Kentucky will continue following Thursday's ruling by the state Supreme Court.

The Kentucky Supreme Court says the state can’t collect pari-mutuel taxes on instant racing games.

However, the Courier-Journal reports the high court also ruled Thursday that instant racing was legally implemented in the commonwealth.

Kentucky Downs in Franklin and Ellis Park in Henderson currently offer instant racing, which involves bettors wagering money on videos of previously run races.

Despite the ruling, justices said the conservative Family Foundation of Kentucky can continue its efforts to oppose Instant Racing. The group is gathering evidence for its legal challenge against the games, which it believes were implemented illegally.

State regulators have allowed pari-mutuel taxes to be collected on the games, but Thursday’s ruling by the Kentucky Supreme says those taxes only apply to live racing events.

10:27 am
Wed February 19, 2014

House Bill Aims to Restrict Sales of E-Cigarettes to Minors

State Rep. Joni Jenkins is sponsoring the bill that would ban e-cigarette sales to minors
Credit Rep. Joni Jenkins

The House Licensing and Occupations Committee advanced legislation Wednesday that would make it illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.  Under House Bill 309, the devices would fall under the same rules as tobacco products.  The bill is sponsored by Shively Democratic Rep. Joni Jenkins and now moves on to the full House for consideration.  

When asked whether e-cigs would be taxed like tobacco products, Jenkins said she would defer to the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

E-cigarettes produce vaporized nicotine. NPR reported earlier this week on the popularity of the products for teens.   Potential long term health effects from e-cigarettes are still unknown.

9:09 am
Tue February 18, 2014

LRC Employee Fired After Appearing in Online Video for Senate Candidate

An employee with the Legislative Research Commission has been fired after appearing in an online video in support of a Democratic Senatorial candidate.

The Courier-Journal reports that Charles Booker, 29, lost his job yesterday as an analyst for the Government Contract Review Committee. Booker appeared in a video for Alison Lundergun Grimes, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mitch McConnell.

In the video, Booker’s wife accuses McConnell of being out of touch with poor Kentuckians. Booker appears briefly in the video and makes a few comments about western Louisville.

LRC personnel policy prohibits employees from taking part in partisan political activity.

8:58 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Traffic Advisory: I-65 Delays Possible Tuesday in Hart County

Rolling road blocks will take place northbound and southbound between MP 58 and MP 65 (vicinity of the Hart County rest areas, roughly Horse Cave to Munfordville).

Crews will be restriping.  

Work should be complete by the end of the day.

5:34 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Hilltoppers To Retire Carrier's No. 35

Darel Carrier, who played for WKU from 1962-64, will have his uniform No. 35 retired Feb. 22
Credit WKU Athletics

Later this month, another jersey will be hoisted to the rafters at E.A. Diddle Arena.  The WKU Athletics Department has announced that Bowling Green native Darel Carrier will have his uniform No. 35 retired on February 22nd as WKU plays host to the University of Louisiana-Monroe.   

He’ll be the eight person affiliated with WKU Men’s basketball to have his jersey retired, joining E.A. Diddle, Clem Haskins, Thom Marhsall Jim McDaniels, John Oldham, Carlisle Towery and Bobby Rascoe.   Carrier was a Hilltopper from 1962 to 1964 and later played professionally in the ABA.

5:02 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Corvette Museum To Re-open Thursday After Sinkhole Swallows Eight Cars

The National Corvette Museum is closed to visitors Wednesday after a 40-foot sinkhole opened up in the dome portion of the museum
Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green will re-open to the public Thursday after a sinkhole collapse swallowed up eight of the iconic vehicles.

The collapse happened shortly after 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Bowling Green Fire Department responded to an alarm triggered by the sinkhole.

Security cameras at the museum captured the collapse, which took place in the Skydome portion of the facility where the museum shows off some of its most invaluable vehicles. Six of the Corvettes that fell into the sinkhole are owned by the museum, with the other two on loan from General Motors.

According to a news release by the museum, all cars on display in the Skydome not affected by the sinkhole have been safely removed from the area. That same release also said a structural engineering firm at the site has determined that the perimeter of the Skydome is stable.

Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode estimated the hole that opened up at the facility is 25 to 30 feet deep and 40 feet wide.

The sinkhole didn't come as a shock to WKU Geology Professor Jason Polk, who says recent rainfall may have played a role in Wednesday's collapse.

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3:07 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Contract Awarded for Twin Lake Bridges in Western Kentucky

A rendering of the proposed new span over Kentucky Lake.
Credit Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced Tuesday the award of a contract to build the first of the twin Lake Bridges in the Jackson Purchase area of western Kentucky. 

The contract was awarded to Johnson Brothers Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas.  The $131.5 million project will build a modern, four-lane bridge to carry U.S. 68/KY80 over Kentucky Lake and serve the western entrance to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

“Replacement of the bridges over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley has been a priority of my administration because of their importance to the tourism industry of western Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said in a news release.

The new bridge will replace the Eggners Ferry Bridge, which was built in 1932 and no longer meets traffic demands in the region. 

The Eggners Ferry, joining Marshall and Trigg counties, has two lanes, each 10 feet wide, with no shoulders. The new bridge will have four travel lanes, each 11 feet wide, plus 4-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycle path.

The Lake Bridges Project also includes replacement of the Henry Lawrence Memorial Bridge on Lake Barkley.  The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet hopes to award a contract for the second bridge by December.

Arts & Culture
11:22 am
Tue February 11, 2014

WKU History Professor, Author Carlton Jackson Dies

Carlton Jackson
Credit WKU Kentucky Museum and Special Collections Library

Update: Visitation for Carlton Jackson will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14th at J.C. Kirby's on Lovers Lane. His funeral is Saturday, Feb. 15th at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church.

Longtime WKU history professor and noted author Carlton Jackson has died at age 81.

“Carlton was a passionate historian and a very clever scholar who had a knack for finding an unusual, intriguing story and telling it in a way that really caught folks’ interest," said David Lee, Dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters.  "He was a master combination scholar-storyteller and a remarkable historian.”

Jackson authored several books including “Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel”, the biography of the actress who won an Academy Award for her role of Mammy in "Gone With The Wind". He also wrote “P.S. I Love You: The Story of the Singing Hilltoppers”, chronicling the four Western Kentucky students who rose to national stardom as a singing group in the 1950s . 

“Carlton is kind of a WKU legend,” said Lee.   “Universities are extensions of the personalities who comprise them and Carlton was a distinctive, legendary figure who’s left a tremendous legacy to this university.”

Jackson was featured as a part of WKU's "View from the Hill" program in 2011.

Jackson was one of the first two faculty members to be named a University Distinguished Professor.  Born in Blount County, Alabama, he came to Western Kentucky in 1961.