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
2:50 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Vehicle Fire Leads to Closure of Northbound Natcher Lanes at Mile Point 10

Update at 4:11 p.m.:

All lanes of the Natcher Parkway are now clear following an afternoon vehicle fire at mile point 10.

Update at 3:13 p.m.:

The Northbound lanes of the Natcher Parkway are still blocked due to this vehicle fire. It is anticipated that it will take an additional 1 to 2 hours to re-open the lanes. Northbound traffic is being detoured onto US-231 toward Morgantown in the meanwhile.

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Regional
12:33 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Flash Flood Warning Impacts Northern, Middle Tennessee

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for parts of our Tennessee listening area. The new warning is in effect until 3:00 p.m. Thursday, and includes the counties of Davidson, northern Wilson, south-central Robertson, southern Sumner, and Trousdale.

Rainfall of three to seven inches has already fallen in the impacted areas, with another one to three inches possible through the afternoon. However, the National Weather Service says the waters appear to be receding in most of the areas hit the hardest Thursday morning.

A spokesman for the Nashville Fire Department told The Tennessean that they’ve responded to about 35 rescue calls from people caught in the  high waters.

Environment
10:19 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Bluegrass Pipeline Developer Holding Open-House Meeting Thursday in Elizabethtown

A developer behind a proposed pipeline that would run through parts of Kentucky is holding an open-house meeting  in Hardin County Thursday night to explain their plans. Williams, a construction company based in Tulsa, OK., is  hosting the meeting at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown from 5-7:30 p.m.

The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from sources in the northeast through northern Kentucky, and into several counties in our listening area, including Hardin, Nelson, Meade, Larue, and Breckinridge.

Pipeline opponents delivered a petition to Governor Beshear’s office Wednesday detailing their concerns about possible environmental damage and property rights concerns related to the project.

Governor Beshear has declined to add the pipeline issue to the agenda of a special legislative session that begins Aug. 19 in Frankfort. Beshear says he wants the sole item on the agenda to be legislative redistricting.

Economy
5:48 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Rand Paul: U.S. Should Use Foreign Aid Money to Help Economically Distressed Areas

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator says he’s developing a “Republican alternative” to a Detroit bailout plan.

Speaking on the Glenn Beck radio show, Senator Paul said he is talking with his staff about ways to help economically depressed areas of the country, like Detroit. The Bowling Green Republican said he would like to look at ways to “have some tax forbearance, reduce some taxes, encourage businesses, encourage people to come in and take abandoned property.”

Politico reports Paul is opposed to the idea of borrowing money to bail out the city, but he is suggesting the government should redirect foreign aid sent to countries like Egypt, and instead use it on infrastructure projects in the U.S.

A national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that a majority Democrats believe the federal government should bail out Detroit, but an even larger majority of Americans oppose such a move.

Health
2:35 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Texting While Driving in Kentucky? You Could Lose Points on Your License

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has announced new tools aimed at enforcing the state's "no texting" law.

A 2010 law made texting while driving punishable by a fine. Speaking in Louisville Wednesday, Beshear said that hasn't been enough of a deterrent. Starting in a few months, the Transportation Cabinet will take three points off the licenses of drivers caught while texting behind the wheel.

The new three-point texting penalty was announced as transportation leaders and emergency responders gathered for an annual meeting. The state can suspend the licenses of drives who incur 12 penalty points within a two-year period.

For drivers under 18, the threshold is seven points.

According to the Governor's office, more than 5,300 crashes in Kentucky last year were caused by driver distraction.

Politics
12:02 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

James Comer: Stressing Social Issues Not the Key to Election Success for the GOP

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer
Credit Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture

WKU Public Radio's interview with Agriculture Commissioner James Comer

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner says Republicans need to focus on the economy in order to win statewide office, as opposed to stressing social issues.

In an interview at WKU Public Radio Wednesday, James Comer said the GOP has alienated a lot of key voting groups by making hot-button social topics the cornerstone of their campaigns.

“I’m proud to be a social conservative, but I’m not going to run any campaign in the future—regardless of what I run for—specifically on social issues. That has driven off young voters, and that has driven off female voters.”

Comer’s comments echo much of what Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul has said recently about the future of the GOP, and the party’s need to become more attractive to groups of voters that will determine Republicans’ future electoral prospects.

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Environment
8:39 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Bluegrass Pipeline Opponents Delivering Petition to Beshear's Office

Land owners and environmentalists are gathering in Frankfort Wednesday to protest a proposed pipeline that would carry flammable liquids through several counties in northern Kentucky. A partnership of two energy companies announced a plan earlier this year to build the underground pipeline.

The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from sources in the northeast to a connection in Breckinridge County. A proposed route for the pipeline would also go through other counties in our listening area, including Hardin, Nelson, Meade, and Larue.

Environmental groups, including Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, are planning to take a petition to Gov. Steve Beshear's office Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, the groups say they are concerned the pipeline project will use eminent domain laws to cut a pathway through privately owned lands.

Several landowners have voiced opposition to the project, and local governments in Franklin, Scott and Marion counties have passed resolutions opposing the pipeline.

Politics
5:42 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Sara Kyle Considering Possible Run for Tennessee Governor

The wife of Tennessee’s Senate Minority Leader says she is considering a run for governor next year.

Sara Kyle, wife of Memphis Senator Jim Kyle, told The Tennessean she wants to help Democrats in the Volunteer State “move forward.” Sara Kyle resigned from the Tennessee Regulatory Authority in March after serving as director for 19 years.

Kyle says she doesn’t have a set timeframe on deciding whether or not to run for governor in 2014. With primaries still one year away, Democrats are seeking out potential challengers to Republican Governor Bill Haslam. Two Democratic state lawmakers—House Leader Craig Fitzhugh and Senator Lowe Finney—have taken their names out of consideration.

Kyle is the last woman to win a statewide office in Tennessee. In 1994, she won a spot on the three-person Public Service Commission, which later became the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

She’s also the most recent Democrat to win statewide office in Tennessee, along with former Governor Phil Bredesen.

Business
10:35 am
Tue August 6, 2013

GM Promising Major Investment, Hundreds of Jobs at Tennessee Plant

Is production of the Cadillac SRX coming to Tennessee?
Credit thesupercars.org

General Motors says it is investing $350 million and will create and retain at least 1,800 jobs at its plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  

While the automaker isn’t saying what new vehicles will be made at the plant, GM announced Tuesday that it will add two midsize vehicle programs to the facility, making good on a promise to the United Auto Workers union during negotiations in 2011.

The Tennessean reports that some analysts have suggested the vehicles might be the Cadillac SRX, which is currently made in Mexico, and the Buick Anthem, which GM has in development. The Spring Hill plant served as the headquarters and main assembly facility for GM’s now-defunct Saturn brand before production was halted in 2009.

The UAW says the jobs generated by the new auto production will be filled mainly by local hires, as opposed to the union’s normal practice of transferring displaced workers from other areas.

The news comes on the heels of a recent report showing Tennessee is, for a fourth consecutive year, ranked No. 1 in automotive manufacturing strength in the nation.

Politics
6:10 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Abramson Expected to Soon Disclose Future Plans

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson

Political observers are keeping a close eye on Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor this week. Jerry Abramson has said he would announce whether or not he plans to run for governor shortly after the Fancy Farm political picnic.

Abramson is addressing the Elizabethtown Rotary Club Tuesday, and every public event he makes this week will likely draw extra attention.

Abramson has made no secret of the fact that he’s been considering a run for the governor’s mansion in 2015. His boss, Governor Steve Beshear will be finishing up his second term and by law has to step aside.

Abramson, a former Louisville mayor,  has been often mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for governor, along with Attorney General Jack Conway, Auditor Adam Edelen, and former auditor Crit Luallen.

Abramson’s Tuesday speech to the Elizabethtown Rotary Club begins at noon eastern time at Stone Hearth Restaurant.

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