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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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An Amish father and son will be in a Logan County courtroom Wednesday.  The men are facing charges of violating a local ordinance requiring owners to clean up after their large animals.

Amos Mast and his son Dan, both of Auburn, were cited this year by police for refusing to fit their horses with special bags to collect their droppings.  The ordinance requires large animals to wear the collection devices in order to keep streets clear of feces. 

Members of the Amish community object to the law, claiming the devices can spook their horses.  The Mast family will take their case before a jury in Logan District Court. 

The Masts are members of the Old Order Amish, the same sect involved in a legal battle a few years ago when they refused to place a slow-moving vehicle emblem on the back of their horse-drawn buggies.  They objected to the bright orange emblem on religious grounds.  The General Assembly eventually passed a law allowing the Amish to place reflective tape on their buggies.

The mayor of Owensboro is planning to introduce a plan to save a city-owned golf course from being sold.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Mayor Ron Payne will share the plan with the city commission at its Tuesday evening meeting. The city’s proposed budget does not include funding for Hillcrest Golf Course, listing it as eligible to be sold to private interests.

A new ordinance that includes funding for the nine-hole course will be introduced as an amendment to the budget during the city commission meeting.

The ordinance proposes to fund the golf course through a slight increase in the city’s occupational tax.

The increase would also help cover the city’s recent $2.4 million commitment to the construction of the new downtown International Bluegrass Music Center.

Update at 1:54 pm:

All lanes of I-65 south in Hardin County have been reopened Monday afternoon following a late morning accident that caused a semi to catch fire.

Update at 1:21 pm:

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has issued the following update about a vehicle fire and lane closure on I-65 south in Hardin County:

Remaining cars from the vehicle hauler semi which caught fire and burned near the Glendale Interchange (Exit 86) are being removed.  One lane is now open.  Both lanes should be open within the hour.  Currently, traffic is backed up to the 94 interchange (approximately 7-8 miles).  Volume will continue to be heavy in the area and motorists may still wish to use Exit 91 to continue south via US 31-W or (if going thru to Bowling Green) take WK Parkway to Natcher Parkway and rejoin I-65 in Bowling Green at the Exit 20 interchange.

The Symphony at WKU stayed close to home in finding their new Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities. Dr. Brian St. John is currently Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra Activities at the University of Evansville, where he directs that University’s Symphony Orchestra and teaches courses in conducting, music technology and composition.

He’ll assume his new post at WKU this fall.

Besides leading the Symphony at WKU, Dr. St. John will also hold the Baker Professorship of Music, one of three endowed professorships in the Potter College of Arts & Letters.

St. John also served at Minnesota State University-Moorhead and in Colorado for what is now the Boulder Symphony Orchestra.

Kentucky is seeing a rapid increase in the number of syphilis infections, mirroring a national trend.

Public health officials are seeking expanded education and treatment for the sexually transmitted disease.

Kentucky’s number of syphilis cases has doubled since 2009, to just over 10 cases per 100-thousand residents.

The Courier-Journal reports the figures from the state Department for Public Health also show Louisville is home to nearly half of the state’s cases.

Kentucky state epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh says most of the recent national increase in syphilis cases effect men—especially men who have sex with other men.

Syphilis is a bacterial disease with symptoms such as sores, headaches, and fevers. It can be treated with antibiotics, but—if left untreated—could lead to blindness or stroke in later stages.

It can also be passed from a mother to a fetus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling for increased public education efforts concerning safe sex, and greater promotion of syphilis awareness and screenings.

The Amber Alert for a missing 5-year old girl from Bowling Green has been cancelled.

The child was found safe hours after being taken by a man who allegedly assaulted her mother earlier this morning.

There is no further information on how she was found.

An AMBER Alert is issued for a missing 5-year-old girl and the man suspected of abducting her.

Police say Aubrey Madison Johnson and her mother were with the suspect, Rique' R. Griffin, early this morning when the mother and Griffin got into an altercation. Griffin allegedly assaulted the mother, who was able to get away and call 911, but police say Griffin drove off with the child in the vehicle.

Aubrey is described as an African-American girl, weighing 35 lbs. She is 2'5" tall, has a chipped front tooth, a scar on her left thigh and both of her ears are pierced. She was last seen wearing a button down jean shirt, jeans with a white floral pattern and a lime green bow in her ponytail.

Griffin is described as a 21-year-old African-American man who weighs 165 lbs. He is 5'9" tall, has a mohawk-style haircut with dredlocks, a scar over his right eye, a tattoo of a vein over his right eye, a tattoo on the back of his neck and "ATL" tattoos on both arms. He was last seen wearing a light-colored shirt and jeans.

Griffin is believed to be traveling in a silver Ford Explorer.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Bowling Green Police Department at 270-393-4000 or 911.

WKU is reaching out to team members and recruits following this week's announcement that the school is suspending its men's and women's swimming and diving teams for five years due to hazing violations.

The Bowling Green Daily News is reporting that president Gary Ransdell and athletic director Todd Stewart have sent personalized letters to swim team alumni saying WKU is “directly assisting” recruits who have committed to the team for the upcoming season.

Part of the letter also states “our athletic academic advising staff will continue to work with team members who choose to stay at WKU and support their progression toward their degree.”

Some recruits were set to sign with WKU as soon as Wednesday.

WKU Athletics

Bill Powell retired in 2005 after 36 years at the helm of the WKU men's swimming and diving program. During that time period, his teams won 15 conference titles and the Natatorium at WKU is named after him.

Powell posted a response on his Facebook page this week after Tuesday's announcement that WKU is suspending the men's and women's swimming and diving programs following an investigation that uncovered underage drinking, hazing, and other abuses within the program.

Here is his response in full from his Facebook page:

Dear WKU Swimmers, Divers, Friends, and Supporters,

I am devastated at the loss of WKU Swimming and Diving—an athletic program that has graduated virtually all of its team members over a 45-year period. As Dr. Ransdell himself admits, the team has collected too many academic honors to list and its student-athletes have “represented WKU with distinction in the classroom and in competition.” I am certainly proud of what you all have accomplished.

I have been retired from the WKU swim program for a while, so my knowledge of the alleged incidents is no more than what everyone else has seen in the papers. It appears that the transgressions were perpetrated primarily by one or two team members, and no criminal charges have been filed.

WKU

WKU is suspending its Swimming and Diving program for five years, effective immediately. The university informed the team members and coaching staff of the decision Tuesday morning.

The move comes after investigations by the Bowling Green Police Department and university uncovered evidence of violations of WKU’s Student Code of Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy, and Title IX Sexual Misconduct/Assault Policy.

In an email sent to school faculty and staff Tuesday, President Ransdell said those violations included hazing and underage alcohol consumption involving team members and recruits. Ransdell said coaches were aware of the “pervasive culture” of abuse with the program and failed to prevent it.

"This University simply will not tolerate indecent, immoral, physical, or mental acts of disrespect or abuse among our students. We must all embrace a culture where every student is as important as any student," Dr. Ransdell said in his email. "When this culture is not embraced, we will act swiftly and firmly to ensure that the dignity and integrity of the institution is sustained. It is our hope that over the next five years, the pervasive culture of misconduct and lack of sufficient oversight in this program will be flushed from our campus life."

The investigations into the Swimming and Diving programs at WKU began when a former swim team member filed a report with city police claiming he was assaulted by teammates and forced to drink alcohol during several hazing incidents.

Current swimming and diving team members will be able to transfer immediately to other schools. Those choosing to remain at WKU will have their scholarships honored through their senior years.

The positions currently held by Head Swimming Coach Bruce Marchionda, Associate Head Coach Brian Thomas, and Head Diving Coach Chelsea Ale will be eliminated June 30.

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