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.


Health & Politics
12:51 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Rand Paul: Defund ObamaCare, but Don't Shut Down Government

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says while he wants Republicans to continue fighting for changes in the President’s health care plan, he doesn’t support a shutdown of the federal government.

Some member of the GOP say they’re willing to risk a shutdown in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Paul told reporters in Louisville that he’s in favor of Republicans using “leverage” to make the federal health care law “less bad.”

Some conservatives say they won’t vote for any spending measure that provides funding for the President’s health care plan. That’s leading to speculation over a possible government shutdown at the end of September.

The Courier-Journal reports Sen. Paul said that while he would like to see the Affordable Care Act defunded, the Bowling Green Republican added "I know that we don’t control all of the government, so we fight for what we can get.”

Democrats say the controversy over the federal health care law was settled when its legality was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act have warned Republicans that they’ll face a public backlash if they try to shut down government operations in an effort to defund the program.

10:10 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Train Carrying Coal Derails In Hardin County

Crews are cleaning up after a train derailed in Hardin County, sending 15 cars carrying coal off the tracks.

The News-Enterprise reports that no injuries were reported when the Paducah & Louisville train derailed early Thursday morning in northern Hardin County. The train had a total of 88 cars. No hazardous materials were involved.

The newspaper reports crews from R.J. Corman were cleaning up the site.

4:41 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

NTSB Looking into Wednesday Crash of UPS Plane that Took Off from Louisville

A 26-person National Transportation Safety Board team is in Birmingham, Alabama, to investigate the crash of a UPS plane that took off from Louisville. The Wednesday morning crash killed the pilot and co-pilot, who were the only two people aboard the plane.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the freighter struck trees on the way down and broke apart upon hitting the ground, with part of the plane catching fire.

The part of the plane containing the flight data recorder is still smoldering as first-responders continue to put flame retardant on it. Sumwalt says an NTSB representative is at UPS headquarters in Louisville looking into the plane’s maintenance records, something he says is routine during these types of investigations.

3:19 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Kentucky PSC Approves New Energy Purchase Plan for Century Aluminum

An aluminum smelter in Hancock County will be supplied with electric power purchased on the open market under a plan announced Wednesday by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

Century Aluminum of Hawesville says it needed the arrangement in order to remain open. The smelter employs 700 workers and has traditionally purchased power generated by Big Rivers Electric Corporation in Henderson. But Century officials say using electric power purchased on the open market by Kenergy Corporation will be much cheaper.

The PSC said in a statement that the plan tries to achieve a “delicate balance” between keeping the Hawesville smelter open and not imposing high costs on Big Rivers customers beyond those that would occur if Century Aluminum closed.

The new agreement will go into effect Aug. 20.

12:50 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Paving Project in Russellville May Snarl Traffic

A travel alert if the intersection of 4th and Bethel Street is Russellville is part of your daily commute.

The state transportation cabinet says drivers will see long delays in the area over the next few days as work crews complete a paving project.

Various lanes will be blocked off or closed, and officials suggest finding an alternate route.

Arts & Culture
11:00 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts Moving to Centre in 2014

Centre College in Danville, Ky
Credit Centre College

A prestigious summer arts residency program for Kentucky high-schoolers is relocating to Centre College in Danville. The Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts has been held at Transylvania University for the previous fourteen years, but will move to Centre next summer.

The program hosts over 200 Kentucky high school sophomores and juniors for three weeks in the summer, offering master-classes, lectures, and hands-on workshops in nine disciplines, including creative writing, dance, instrumental music, and visual art.

Nearly 5,000 Kentucky high-schoolers have attended the GSA summer program since 1987, and 23 colleges and universities offer scholarships to program alumni.

4:33 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

AG Holder Recommends Sentencing Changes, with Some Already Underway in Kentucky

Some big changes could be in store for the federal criminal justice system.  In a speech to the American Bar Association Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder said some of the changes include scaling back the use of harsh prison sentences for certain drug-related crimes and diversion of low-level offenders to drug treatment and community service. 

Kentucky already has experience with what Holder is proposing.  The General Assembly passed a law in 2011 to reduce the prison population using some of the same methods.  Kentucky Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown talked about the law's impact as a guest on NPR's Here and Now. 

"A year ago, our prison population was 22,118.  Today it was 19,899," explained Brown.  "When you estimate a little over $20,000 a year, and that's a conservative estimate, to house each inmate, that starts adding up to real dollars."

Despite concerns by opponents of early release, Secretary Brown said recidivism is down and Kentucky's crime rate has remained virtually flat since the law took effect two years ago.

3:48 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Liberal Super PAC Progress Kentucky Ceases Operations

A liberal Super PAC being investigated for bugging Senator Mitch McConnell’s Louisville office is shutting down. The website Politico reports documents filed late last week with the Federal Election Commission show the agency approved a request by Progress Kentucky to close its operations.

The Super PAC was aiming to knock off Kentucky’s senior Senator, who is one of the top targets in the cross-hairs of Democrats in the 2014 election cycle.

Ultimately, the group raised just over $14,000, with only $1,000 in the bank at the end of June.

Curtis Morrison, who was serving as spokesman for Progress Kentucky, is accused of secretly recording a strategy session attended by Senator McConnell and re-election staffers. The FBI is reportedly investigating how the recording was made. The Kentucky Democratic Party has distanced itself from Progress Kentucky and Morrison, who has taken to the internet to solicit money for his defense fund.

The recorded McConnell strategy session contains audio of staffers discussing tactics they would use against actress Ashley Judd, had she challenged McConnell in the 2014 Senate race. At least one staffer talks about using Judd's history of depression against her.

12:56 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

No Defense Motions Filed by Richie Farmer's Lawyer Ahead of Deadline

Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer faces an Oct. 22 federal trial.

Defense attorneys for a former Kentucky agriculture commissioner haven’t filed any motions ahead of an October federal trial.

Richie Farmer is facing five counts related to his time in office from 2004 to 2011. A federal judge set an August 2 deadline for Farmer’s lawyer to file defense motions, but the Courier-Journal reports no such motions were submitted. That’s despite the judge’s decision to extend the filing deadline in response to Farmer’s attorney’s claims that he needed extra time to mile motions.

Farmer’s attorney is Guthrie True, who represented then-Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton in his recent federal trial in Bowling Green.

Farmer was indicted in April on four counts involving alleged theft of federal funds and one count of soliciting a bribe while agriculture commissioner. Farmer has pleaded not guilty to all counts. The government wants him to repay $450,000--the amount they say he misused while in office.

10:03 am
Mon August 12, 2013

WKU Men's Basketball to Kick Off Season Nov. 12 at Midnight

The WKU men’s basketball team will burn the midnight oil during their season opener. The school announced Monday that the Hilltoppers will take on Wichita State at midnight on November 12, as part of ESPN 2’s Tip-Off Marathon.

ESPN is airing more than a dozen games in over 24 hours of basketball to kick off the new season.

Both WKU and Wichita State are coming off of NCAA tournament appearances, with the Shockers making last season’s Final Four. The Hilltoppers went 20-and-16, and won the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

You can see the 2013-14 WKU men's basketball schedule here.