WKU Public Radio News

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The award-winning news team at WKU Public Radio consists of Dan Modlin, Kevin Willis, Lisa Autry, and Joe Corcoran.

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Politics
3:11 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Paul's Presidential Plans Slowly Coming to Light

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY

U.S. Senator Rand Paul is still mum on a presidential run, but the Bowling Green Republican has worked behind the scenes for months laying the groundwork for 2016, having visited 35 states during the mid-term election season. 

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator has repeatedly said an announcement won’t come until spring, but according to those close to him, the decision has already been reached.  In an interview published Monday by Politico, advisers say they expect the campaign to be a ‘go’ by mid-April with an announcement shortly after as soon as his staff can organize a fly-around to early-voting states. His campaign would likely be headquartered in Louisville.  Paul and his political team have scheduled a lengthy closed-door meeting Wednesday at a Washington  hotel to discuss his future plans. 

Within the next few weeks, Paul is expected to announce his re-election bid for the U.S. Senate, a race he is likely to run simultaneously with a presidential campaign.  Kentucky law prevents a candidate from running for more than one office at a time, but aides claim they have found several ways to get around the law that includes possibly changing the state’s GOP primary to a caucus.

Regional
3:46 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Kentucky Gay Marriage Ban Upheld

A federal appeals court has upheld Kentucky's bans on same-sex marriages, rolling back two rulings that opened the door for gay couples to have their unions in other states recognized and to be wed in the Bluegrass State.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panels' 2-1 ruling Thursday is the highest-level court victory for gay marriage opponents after a flood of 20-plus court wins for supporters of same-sex marriage in the past year.

The ruling from the Cincinnati-based court followed arguments on Aug. 6 in six gay marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

 Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote that the issue should be settled at the ballot box.

Family Foundation of Kentucky spokesman Martin Cothran says the case may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT rights group, calls the decision a "shameful outlier" and will, eventually be viewed as being on the "wrong side of history".

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Politics
12:36 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Poll Finds Limited Support For Potential Grimes' Gubernatorial Run

Alison Lundergan Grimes delivers a concession speech outside the Carrick House in Lexington on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 next to her husband, Andrew Grimes, and Governor Steve Beshear
Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

What’s next for Alison Lundergan Grimes? It’s a question some have been asking since the Secretary of State’s loss Tuesday night to incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.  A Bluegrass Poll taken a week before the election suggests voter enthusiasm is tepid with regards to Grimes running for Kentucky governor next year.  The poll found 33 percent of respondents wanted her to run.  Fifty percent did not and 17 percent said they weren’t sure.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the only Democrat to enter the race so far.  Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and businessman Hal Heiner have entered the race on the GOP side.

Politics
9:46 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor Tapped for Obama Administration Job

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson
Credit Lieutenant Governor's Office

Jerry Abramson is resigning as Kentucky's lieutenant governor to become Deputy Assistant to President Obama and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the White House.

Governor Steve Beshear announced Abramson's resignation, effective November 13, Thursday at the state Capitol.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me and for our administration. Jerry and I have been friends for more than 30 years, and I chose him as my Lieutenant Governor because I knew that his extensive experience as longtime mayor of Louisville, his contagious enthusiasm and his knack for building momentum around new ideas would make him a great partner in leading our state,” said Gov. Beshear. “But the White House noticed all those skills, too, and realized that he will take those same gifts and put them to work on our nation’s domestic agenda. He will be an outstanding addition to the President’s administration, and we will miss him terribly.”

Abramson will serve as a liaison to state and local governments.

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Regional
1:28 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Fisher Dynamics To Open Evansville Facility, Will Hire 169 Workers

Fisher Dynamics, based in Michigan, makes parts for automotive seats.
Credit Fisher Dynamics

Nearly 170 new jobs will be coming to Evansville over the next two years.  Fisher Dynamics, an automotive supplier based in Michigan announced plans Wednesday to open a new facility in Evansville.

Fisher Dynamics will invest $11 millionfor the facility. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says the new jobs will pay an average of $19 an hour.

Politics
8:32 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

2014 Election Night Blog from WKU Public Radio

Alison Lundergan Grimes conceded defeat Tuesday evening.
Credit Abbey Oldham

Update at 10:20 p.m.

It appears the Democrats will maintain control of the Kentucky House. Democrats had managed to win at least 51 House seats as of 10 p.m.

Update at 8:41 p.m.

Bardstown Republican David Floyd has won another term in the Kentucky House. Floyd beat Democratic challenger Audrey Haydon 53%-46% for the 50th House District seat that covers Nelson and parts of Bullitt and Spencer counties.

Update at 8:33 p.m.

With 88 of 89 precincts reporting in Warren County, David Lanphear leads the Family Court Judge race by about 1,300 votes over Rebecca Adams Simpson.

Update at 8:20 p.m.

Kentucky House Races in Our Region:

With 81% of the vote counted

7th House District (Union, Daviess, Henderson)

(R) Rep. Suzanne Miles: 53.8%

(D) John Warren: 46.1%

12th House District (McLean, Webster, Daviess, Henderson)

With 100% of vote counted

(D) Rep. Jim Gooch: 59%

(R) Dianne Mackey: 41%

13th House District (Owensboro)

With 100% of vote counted

(D) Rep. Jim Glenn: 52%

(R) Alan Braden: 48%

20th House District (Bowling Green)

With 80% of the vote counted

(D) Rep. Jody Richards: 63%

(R) Jenean Hampton: 37%

23rd House District (Barren, part of Warren)

With 100% of vote counted:

(D) Rep. Johnny Bell: 54%

(R) Jeff Jobe: 46%

25th House District (Elizabethtown)

With 100% of vote counted

(R) Jim DuPlessis: 50.9%

(D) Rep. Jimmie Lee: 49.1%

Update at 8:13 p.m.

It appears Hardin County Democratic Rep. Jimmie Lee has lost a close re-election battle.

With 100% of the vote counted, Republican challenger Rick DuPlessis led with 50.8 percent of the vote, with Lee winning 49.1 percent.

This would be a pickup for Republicans as they try to win control of the Kentucky House for the first time in over 90 years.

Update at 7:53 p.m.

The winners in the Bowling Green City Commission race are Joe Denning, Melinda Hill, Sue Parrigin, and Rick Williams.

David Lanphear is maintaining a lead over Rebecca Adams Simpson in the Warren County Family Court Judge contest.

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Politics
7:43 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Latest Bluegrass Poll Shows McConnell With Five Point Lead Over Grimes

Credit Lisa Autry

The final Bluegrass Poll before Tuesday’s election day shows Senator Mitch McConnell with a five point lead over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The poll shows 48% of likely voters plan to vote for McConnell, while 43% say they'll support  Grimes. Three percent said they'll vote for Libertarian candidate David Patterson.

Six percent are still undecided.

The poll’s results are still within the margin of error of 4.1 percentage points. The McConnell campaign said the poll numbers show the campaign is peaking.

The last poll showed Grimes two percentage points ahead of McConnell and the Grimes campaign says its own internal polling shows the race as a dead heat.

The Louisville Courier-Journal quotes Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the non-partisan Cook Political report, as saying the Bluegrass Poll results are in line with other polling she’s seen in recent days.

Politics
3:43 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Bill Clinton to Speak at Rallies in Louisville, Ashland on Behalf of Grimes

Bill Clinton will be back in Kentucky Oct. 30 to speak at rallies for Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Bill Clinton is once again trying to rally voters to the side of Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The Grimes campaign has announced that the former President will attend events at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville Thursday morning, with an afternoon visit to the Veteran’s Riverfront Park in Ashland planned for the afternoon.

It’s the fourth time Clinton has campaigned on behalf of Grimes, as she tries to unseat Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

The former President spoke at Grimes rallies in Owensboro and Paducah last week. Hillary Rodham Clinton is also returning to the commonwealth this Saturday to campaign on behalf of Grimes in northern Kentucky and Lexington.

Regional
2:22 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Public Utility Commission Finds Power Lines Involved in Firefighter Death Were Properly Maintained

One Campbellsville firefighter died and another was seriously injured after helping to film an Ice Bucket Challenge video Aug. 21, 2014.
Credit Kentucky Public Service Commission Report

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has released details into its investigation of the Ice Bucket Challenge mishap this summer that left a Campbellsville fire dead.

The Public Service Commission concluded that Kentucky Utilities’ power lines were in compliance with code. The incident happened August 21 after the filming of a video with the Campbellsville University marching band.

“While Commission Staff acknowledges the tragic loss of life in this incident, the Commission’s authority is limited to determining whether the jurisdictional utility (here, KU) violated any of the aforementioned statutes...Commission Staff’s review of KU’s seven day summary report found no indications of compliance issues or probable violations related to any of the aforementioned statutes…” the report read.

The investigation says the aerial ladder basket was raised after the filming was complete and two firefighters in the basket came too close to power lines overhead. Forty-one-year-old Captain Tony Grider eventually died from his injuries. Simon Quinn, 22, was also hospitalized but survived.  

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Regional
12:42 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

WKU Baseball, Bowling Green Hot Rods To Meet In Exhibition Game

WKU's baseball team will play an April 7 exhibition game against the minor league Bowling Green Hot Rods

The WKU Hilltoppers baseball team will face the minor league Bowling Green Hot Rods in an exhibition game next spring. 

The university’s athletic department and the Midwest League club made the joint announcement Wednesday morning.  The game will be played April 7th at Bowling Green Ballpark.

WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart says, during his time in college athletics, he’s never been a part of an exhibition game against a professional team.

“I think this is truly unique,” said Stewart. “Because we’re both obviously based in Bowling Green. Fans will be familiar with the players of both teams and the timing of the game, as I said before, is really good. The question was asked ‘do we continue to do this in the future?’ I certainly hope so. I think this is just the beginning of something that people can mark on their calendars."

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