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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Regional
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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Regional
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.

Health
9:25 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Bluegrass Poll: Over Half of Kentuckians Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

A new Bluegrass Poll shows a majority of Kentuckians are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

According to the poll, 52 percent of those surveyed favor legalizing medical marijuana in the commonwealth, while 37 percent are opposed.

It’s the second year in a row a Bluegrass Poll has shown strong support for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Last year’s poll asked Kentuckians if they supported “prescribed” medical marijuana, and 60 percent responded favorably. This year’s poll dropped the word “prescribed.”

Medical marijuana proponents in Kentucky say the poll shows the effort is gaining momentum, though changes to state law seem unlikely during this year’s General Assembly.

The Bluegrass Poll was conducted January 30 through February 3 by SurveyUSA, and included the responses of 1,082 Kentuckians. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

Agriculture
9:05 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Kentucky Lawmakers Among Hemp Supporters Applauding Farm Bill

Hemp farming is already legal in the majority of industrialized nations.

Hemp advocates are calling the Farm Bill signed into law by President Obama a major milestone for the crop.

Pro-hemp groups think research pilot programs included in the bill will lead to greater things down the road. The Farm Bill signed by the President Friday contains an amendment that legalizes hemp production in the U.S. for research purposes.

The amendment was originally introduced by a bipartisan group of U.S. Congressmen, including Republican Thomas Massie, from Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district. The amendment gives the green light to state agriculture departments and colleges and universities to grow hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes.

However, the new rules only apply to states like Kentucky that have already legalized industrial hemp farming.

The hemp issue gained momentum in the commonwealth last year, with state agriculture commissioner James Comer making legalization his top legislative priority.

Hemp farming has also been endorsed by Kentucky GOP  Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, as well as the state’s only Congressional Democrat, Representative John Yarmuth of Louisville.

Regional
1:08 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Snow, Ice Stressing Salt Supply in Elizabethtown Area

Credit Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

This week’s snowfall and ice across parts of Kentucky are taking a toll on the Transportation Cabinet’s salt supply. Spokesman Chris Jessie says District 4 – which includes Hardin, Hart, Larue and eight other surrounding counties, has had to order reinforcements and borrow from the reserve stock in Louisville.

“We’re keeping close watch on the forecast through this upcoming week,” said Jessie.  “So while we have salt on hand in our District 4 counties, if we continue to get these rounds of snow and ice as we’ve had over the past week, our situation will become more critical.”

He says crews are currently using salt “wisely”, but if supplies continue to diminish they may have to resort to conservation efforts.  He says that means treating only main routes and those roadways with the highest volume of traffic.  

“We want to be sure motorists understand this potential conservation method before we have to implement it,” said Jessie.

As of last week, the Transportation Cabinet said that crews had spread more than 220,000 tons of salt across the state this winter.

Regional
12:49 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

KSP Requests Help in Finding Auto Theft Suspect

Thomas Upton
Credit Kentucky State Police

Kentucky State Police in Bowling Green is asking for the public’s help in locating a wanted Barren County man. 

Thirty-three-year-old Thomas Upton of Glasgow is a suspect in as many as eight auto thefts throughout Barren, Hart, Laure and Warren Counties. 

He is white, 6'1", and 190 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. 

Upton is believed to be armed and extremely dangerous.  Anyone with any information is asked not to approach him and to contact Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555 or your local police agency.

Politics
11:09 am
Wed February 5, 2014

McConnell: Immigration Debate an "Irresolvable Conflict" for Senate, House

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Credit WKU PBS

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator is expressing doubts on the prospects of major immigration law overhaul this year.

Republican Mitch McConnell told reporters he doesn’t believe House and Senate leaders will be able to overcome their differences. Senator McConnell describes the differences between the House and Senate as an “irresolvable conflict.” The website Politico reports the Louisville Republican says the problem isn’t specific policy differences between the two chambers, but rather how each side wants to move forward procedurally.

Some Senate Democrats have said they want to tackle immigration overhaul in a comprehensive fashion, by putting all changes in one massive bill.

House Republicans have spoken in support of taking on the issue step-by-step, and passing several smaller bills along the way. While President Obama and some Congressional Democrats have recently indicated they’d be willing to look at piecemeal reform, McConnell says the gulf between the two parties is too great to get reform passed this year.

McConnell is facing a Senate primary challenge this spring by Tea Party activist Matt Bevin, who says he’s opposed to any measure that offers amnesty to illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Regional
1:43 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Winter Storm Warning Issued; Several Closures Announced

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the northern reaches of our listening area, including Owensboro, Evansville and Elizabethtown. Forecasters predict multi-inch snowfall in the area as well as a wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet.  Caution is advised on roadways. 

As a precaution, WKU-Elizabethtown and Fort Knox campuses closed at 3 p.m. EST and WKU-Owensboro shut down at 3 p.m. central time.  NEW: Evening classes have been canceled at WKU's Glasgow campus.

Sports
1:21 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

WKU Announces Football Schedule For First Year in Conference USA

Credit WKU Athletics

Four new opponents highlight the WKU Hilltoppers’ 2014 football schedule.  The school’s athletic department announced the schedule Monday afternoon.  It will be the first year for the ‘Toppers in Conference USA and they’ll open up the schedule on Thursday,  Aug. 28 against Bowling Green State at L.T. Smith Stadium. 

They’ll take on Illinois for the first time in school history September 6th and will also face conference opponents Old Dominion, Texas-El Paso and Texas-San Antonio for the first time. 

Army travels to Bowling Green to take on WKU November 15th.  The school also announced its ticket plans for the 2014 season on Monday.
 

WKU 2014 Football Schedule

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