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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Economy
3:57 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

More than Two-Thirds of Kentucky's Counties Saw Jobless Rates Rise from Last Year

The year-to-year unemployment rate has increased in 88 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet released figures Thursday comparing each county’s jobless rate from June of 2012 to June of this year.

Overall, the state’s jobless rate rose to 8.9% from 8.6%

Warren County’s jobless rate this June was up .8 of a percent to 8%.

In Daviess County, the unemployment figure increased half-a-percentage point to 7.9%.

Hardin County saw a jobless rate of 8.3% this June, up slightly from last year.

Pulaski County’s unemployment rate stood at 10.1%  in June, up 0.7% from last year.

The current jobless figures in those four counties all exceed the national unemployment rate of 7.8%

Regional
8:57 am
Thu July 25, 2013

One Westbound Lane Remains Closed on Cumberland Parkway Following Accident

Update at 1:05 p.m.:

A spokesman with the Bowling Green Department of Highways says one westbound lane remains closed on the Cumberland Parkway Thursday afternoon following a morning accident.

Crews remain on the scene cleaning up the debris from the crash involving a semi-tractor trailer. The injured driver was taken to a hospital.

The closed lane is expected to reopen within an hour.

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Politics
8:35 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Richards: Plan Putting Three GOP House Members in Same District Scrapped

Warren County Rep. Jody Richards (left) in Frankfort
Credit Kentucky LRC

A Bowling Green lawmaker says a legislative redistricting plan under consideration would not place three southern Kentucky GOP incumbents in the same district.

A plan put forth by House Democrats earlier this year would have placed Warren County's Jim DeCesare, Brownsville's Michael Meredith, and Morgantown's C.B. Embry Junior in one House district. But Democratic Representative Jody Richards told WKU Public Radio that such a plan is no longer being considered.

"Now, C.B. Embry and Jim DeCesare may well run together, but most of that district would be in Warren County," said Richards.

Kentucky lawmakers will meet in Frankfort next month for a special session to draw new legislative maps based on the latest U.S. Census data. Both Richards and Warren County Republican Senator Mike Wilson told WKU Public Radio they believe lawmakers can get a deal done over the course of five days--that's the quickest a special session can start and finish under state law.

Regional
8:24 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Public Input Sought for Long-Term Owensboro Transit Plan

The long-term transit needs in Owensboro will be the subject of a final report issued next week at City Hall.

The Corradino Group will present its final report on the study which makes proposals to improve Owensboro’s transit options. The Messenger-Inquirer reports a public hearing will be held Thursday, August 1, where Owensboro residents can comment on the study’s findings.

Owensboro transit manager Michael Hughes has said the study will recommend that the city’s transit system expand to eight routes from six, with all routes taking no longer than half-an-hour to complete. The study is also expected to call for the city’s bus system to expand its coverage area and include new transfer points that would allow riders to reach their destinations more efficiently.

The public hearing on the transit plan is August 1 at 11 a.m. in Owensboro’s City Hall.

Politics
8:44 am
Wed July 24, 2013

For McConnell, Prospect of Primary Challenge Leads to Tea Party Outreach

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator is trying to reach out to Tea Party groups as he seeks another six-year term in Washington.

Mitch McConnell needs to shore up support on the Republican right in order to fend off a primary challenge next year. Sen. McConnell knew he would have a challenge from Democrats in 2014. What he was hoping to avoid was a primary challenge from a fellow Republican.

But that’s exactly what he has now, following Louisville investment advisor Matt Bevin’s entrance into the race. Bevin is officially announcing Wednesday that he will seek the GOP Senate nomination, creating a primary fight for McConnell. 

McConnell isn't taking the news lying down.

Politico reports McConnell played host to the Tea Party caucus Tuesday in Washington, at a celebration honoring the birthday of former Senator Bob Dole. McConnell has had a strained relationship with the Tea Party, at first largely ignoring the movement, and then trying to mend fences when the Tea Party showed it had become a major powerbroker within the GOP.

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Politics
10:28 am
Tue July 23, 2013

McConnell to Face Challenge from Right in 2014 Senate Primary

In addition to fighting off Democratic challengers, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell will also have to to defeat at least one fellow Republican next year.

An aide to Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin distributed a news advisory Tuesday announcing stops on a statewide tour announcing his candidacy for Senate.

Bevin's entry into the race could force a shift in the McConnell campaign, which had been concentrating entirely on Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old Secretary of State.

The move by Bevin to challenge McConnell reflects a splintering of the tea party movement in Kentucky. Many activists, including Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator, Rand Paul of Bowling Green, have already pledged their support to McConnell's 2014 re-election efforts.

Not All Tea Party Groups Think Alike Re: McConnell in '14

McConnell’s re-election effort is highlighting divisions between some Kentucky tea party organizations, and national tea party groups backing the U.S. Senate Minority Leader.

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Politics
9:02 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Reid Revels in Possible Tea Party Challenge for McConnell

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader is making some jokes at the expense of Kentucky’s senior Senator.

Democrat Harry Reid, speaking Monday at a gathering of the pro-Obama group, Organizing for Action, said Mitch McConnell "tried to make love to the tea party, and they didn’t like it.”

Reid and McConnell have been at odds recently over the GOP’s use of filibusters to prevent some of President Obama’s executive branch nominees from receiving confirmation votes.

Reid’s comments about the Tea Party and McConnell come as speculation mounts about a possible Republican primary challenge against the GOP Senate leader. Some in the Tea Party have criticized McConnell for not being sufficiently conservative on fiscal issues.

Politics
5:11 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Democrats: McConnell's Attacks on President Hypocritical

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Democrats are responding to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s criticism of President Obama regarding veterans’ disability claims. Speaking Monday in Louisville at the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, McConnell said the backlog of more than 816-thousand disabled veterans who are seeking benefits is a “national disgrace.”

Kentucky’s senior Senator said the President should get involved to clear the medical claims backlog, adding “veterans should be able to count on their commander in chief.”

But the Courier-Journal reports the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly shot back at the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, saying that McConnell’s obstructionism is to blame for the problem. The group pointed out McConnell voted against a V.A. appropriations bill that included a plan to address the heavy backlog of veterans’ medical claims.

According to Congressional Quarterly, McConnell was one of six Republican Senators to vote against a House measure that included funding designed to clear the backlog.

A spokesman for McConnell says money isn’t the issue, pointing out that the V.A’s funding has increased 40% over the past four years.

Sports
1:30 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

WKU Lady Hilltoppers Take on Louisville, Vanderbilt, and Travel to Puerto Rico in 2013-14

The WKU women’s basketball team has a trip to Puerto Rico, and contests against Louisville and Vanderbilt to look forward to this upcoming season.

The 2013-14 Lady Hilltoppers’ non-conference schedule was released Monday. Following two exhibition games, the regular season starts November 9 at home against Austin Peay. Other highlights include playing at Vanderbilt and home against Murray State in mid-November.

WKU hosts the Louisville Cardinals November 27,  and the team travels to San Juan, Puerto Rico the week before Christmas to play in the 2013 Puerto Rico Classic.

The Lady Hilltoppers are coming off a 22-11 season in Michelle Clark-Heard’s first year as head coach of the program. Last year’s record represents the largest single-season win improvement in Sun Belt Conference history.

Politics
10:56 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul Cuts Ties with "Southern Avenger"

A man who once wrote that he celebrates the birthday of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth has resigned from the staff of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Jack Hunter served as Paul’s director of new media and was a credited writer on Paul’s 2011 book “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.” Hunter also went by the nickname, the “Southern Avenger”, and in 2005 wrote that he raises “a personal toast every May 10th to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.”

Speaking Monday in Louisville to a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sen. Paul said Hunter had become a “distraction”, and confirmed that Hunter was no longer a staff member. Hunter has recently said that statements he previously made as a radio and online pundit do "not accurately reflect me.”

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