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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Education
2:23 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Kentucky Launches Kindergarten Screening Statewide

Kentucky is implementing a statewide screening system for kindergarteners this year.  Governor Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear, and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday made the announcement in Frankfort Thursday.

"As a former teacher, I understand how getting to know a student's needs and abilities early in the school year can make a big difference in helping that child to succeed," said Mrs. Beshear.

Every school district in the state will use the Brigance Kindergarten Screener, a tool used by many states to gauge a child's school readiness.  Courtney Daniel in the Governor's Office of Early Childhood says a student cannot fail the screening.

"The screener is a moment in time snapshot of the child's development," Daniel explained.  "It's not an entrance exam for kindergarten, and it's not going to be used to track or label children."

The screening system was piloted in 109 Kentucky school districts last year.  Data collected from those districts indicate that a majority of children are socially and emotionally ready to enter kindergarten.  However, many students did not achieve at high levels in the areas of cognition, language, and motor skills.

Regional
11:02 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Mammoth Cave Offering Free Tours Sunday

Mammoth Cave National Park
Credit WKU Public Radio

A major tourist draw in our region is offering a chance to see the world's largest cave system for free.

Mammoth Cave National Park will offer free Mammoth Passage cave tours on Sunday, August 25, in recognition of Founders Day, the founding day of the National Park Service.

“On August 25, 1916, Congress passed the Organic Act, which established the National Park Service,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. “I hope many of our friends and neighbors will help us celebrate by attending one of these free tours."

The free Mammoth Passage tours will depart from the visitor center at the following times: 8:45, 10:15, 11:15, 12:00, 1:15, 2:15, 3:30, and 4:30. The ¾-mile, 1¼ hours Mammoth Passage tour is limited to 40 people. Participants need to pick up a free ticket in the visitor center before going on the tour.

Health
8:04 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Kentucky Medical Marijuana Advocates Once Again Ask Lawmakers for Legalization

Medical marijuana is gaining greater acceptance in parts of the U.S. Supporters have had no success in getting it legalized in Kentucky, however.

Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana are once again urging Kentucky lawmakers to increase access to the drug. Advocates say marijuana can help treat pain and provides health benefits to the user—something disputed by critics of legalization.

One of Kentucky’s most vocal and passionate supporters of medical marijuana is Louisville Democratic Senator Perry Clark, who has repeatedly sponsored legislation that would make the drug available through a doctor’s prescription. Speaking to members of a joint legislative Health and Welfare Committee, Clark said marijuana is “forbidden medicine.”

Supporters of medical marijuana say it could be a much better pain-relieving alternative to highly-addictive prescription drugs like oxycodone. But critics, like Lexington Republican Representative Robert Benvenuti, said the medical evidence concerning the benefits of marijuana is still an open issue.

Benvenuti was quoted in the Courier Journal as saying “Until I’m assured where the clinical evidence is, this is not going to have my support.”

Health
9:55 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Top Cancer Research Team Leaving U of L for UK

An internationally-recognized cancer research team is leaving one Kentucky university for another.

A group of top researchers is leaving the University of Louisville for the University of Kentucky, one month after UK announced it was becoming home to the state’s first National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

The Courier-Journal reports the four researchers will establish the UK Center for Regulatory and Environmental Analytical Metabolomics, or UK-CREAM. The center is expected to bring to UK over $17-million in federal funding over five years.

Officials at UK say they didn’t actively recruit the U of L researchers, but were instead approached by them.

One of the researchers, Andrew Lane, said he and colleagues made the move because UK was in “an expansion phase, particularly in cancer, which is very attractive to us.”

Regional
8:43 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Repairs on I-65 South in Hardin County Will Cause Delays

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is warning motorists to be prepared for possible delays this week and next along the southbound lanes of I-65 in Hardin County:

Contract crews are making repairs along concrete sections of southbound Interstate 65 in Hardin County, requiring closure of two lanes.  Only one lane will be available for southbound travel from mile point 103 (Rolling Fork River Bridge) to mile point 100 (just south of KY 313/Joe Prather Highway).

Work will take place over the next two weeks, Sunday night through Thursday morning.  Lengthy delays are possible during this time, especially mid and late day.  Motorists should watch for stopped and slow moving traffic ahead.  Those who seek an alternate route may use the following:

-         Exit 105 at Lebanon Junction on to KY 61, to US 62, to KY 52, to Bluegrass Parkway and rejoin I-65 in Elizabethtown

All lanes will be open from Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon to better accommodate higher traffic volumes.

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Politics
1:44 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

DeCesare Won't Decide on Future Plans Until Final Legislative Maps Passed

Warren County Rep. Jim DeCesare (right) has a lot on the line during the special session focused on redistricting.
Credit Kentucky LRC

A Warren County lawmaker says he's waiting until new legislative maps are drawn before he makes any decisions about his future.

Republican Representative Jim DeCesare could be placed in a tough spot when lawmakers pass a redistricting plan at the end of the special session that began Monday in Frankfort.

A Democratic proposal would put DeCesare in the same district as fellow House Republican C.B. Embry, Junior, of Morgantown. DeCesare tells WKU Public Radio that he's not ready to decide whether or not he would seek re-election under those circumstances.

"Once there's final passage on a piece of legislation, I'll look at it and see where I need to go from there,” said the Rockfield Republican.

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Sports
1:02 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Former Marine Prevented by NCAA from Playing for Tennessee School this Fall

MTSU's Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, TN.

A former marine hoping to play college football in Tennessee is being told by the NCAA he’ll have to sit out a year. The collegiate sports governing body says the 24-year-old freshman can’t play this upcoming season because of his participation in a military-only recreational football league in 2012.

Steven Rhodes entered the U.S. Marine Corp after graduating from Antioch High School in Nashville. After serving five years of active duty with the Marines, Rhodes contacted Middle Tennessee State coaches and asked about walking-on to the football ball team as a non-scholarship player.

That’s when the NCAA told Rhodes that his participation in a military-only football league would prevent him from playing immediately. Instead, he was told he would have to sit out the upcoming season.

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Politics
5:00 am
Sun August 18, 2013

Should Kentucky Have an Independent Commission Handle Legislative Redistricting?

Kentucky lawmakers will be at the state capitol in Frankfort starting Monday for a special session devoted to legislative redistricting.
Credit Kentucky LRC

Monday is day one of what Kentucky lawmakers hope will be a quick special legislative session devoted to creating new redistricting maps.

Both Republicans and Democrats have unveiled proposed maps, and lawmakers from both parties have said they believe an agreement can be reached by Friday.

The latest redistricting effort has dragged on over a year, with one set of maps being thrown out by the state supreme court in 2012. That's leading some to wonder if Kentucky should consider creating an independent, non-partisan committee that would be in charge of drawing new legislative maps every ten years.

Daviess County Democratic Representative Tommy Thompson told WKU Public Radio it's an idea he'd consider.

"I certainly would not be opposed to looking at the possibility of having an independent commission actually do the redistricting itself, and I'd be surprised if we didn't have some bills that came up when we go back to the regular session in January that propose that," said Rep. Thompson.

Edmonson County Republican Representative Michael Meredith has said he would also consider the creation of an independent redistricting commission. But he says he would want lawmakers to ultimately have an up-or-down vote on any maps such a commission produced.

Politics
6:00 am
Sat August 17, 2013

In Tennessee, Talk of a Possible Tea Party Challenge Against Alexander

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Tennessee Tea Party activists are actively vetting potential candidates who would challenge Republican Senator Lamar Alexander from the right.

Later this month, those wanting to take on Alexander in next year’s GOP primary will address tea party activists in Nashville. The Tennessean reports that Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham says a “very serious process” is underway to find a consensus Tea Party challenger to take on Alexander in 2014.

It’s the latest example of the Tea Party challenging GOP incumbents it believes are not sufficiently conservative. The tactic has backfired in some states, including Indiana, where the Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock knocked off longtime Republican moderate Richard Lugar in the 2012 primary, only to lose to Democrat Joe Donnelly in the general election later that year.

Some potential Tea Party challengers to Alexander are former GOP state representative and senator Tim Burchett, former chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party Kevin Kookogey, and Brenda Lenard, who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Republican Sen. Bob Corker last year.

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.

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