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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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Somerset businessman Michael Keck is joining the race to replace outgoing state senator Chris Girdler in the 15th District senate seat in Pulaski, Lincoln and Boyle Counties.

Keck is a Somerset High School and WKU graduate who now works as a business broker for a local financial group helping to facilitate the buying and selling of companies.

He says he’s running because of what he sees as the untapped economic potential of Kentucky. He’ll be running on a platform of job creation and tax reform.

Keck joins local insurance agents Don Moss and Rick Girdler and Somerset optometrist Dr. Joshua Nichols in the race for the 15th district senate seat.

National Corvette Museum

The head of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green is being recognized for growing the Museum’s membership and guiding it through the aftermath of last year’s sink-hole collapse.

Wendell Strode is one of three Kentucky Nonprofit Network award winners…he’ll receive the Distinguished Nonprofit Leadership Award at a ceremony in Lexington October 28th.

The awards committee noted Strode’s efforts to grow the museum’s membership and visitors resulted in a 35-million dollar economic impact to the local and state economy.

He’s also being recognized for using the collapse of the floor in the Museum’s Skydome  as an opportunity to attract world-wide media attention and setting record museum attendance during repairs.

A semi crash occurred Friday morning near Mile Point 70 in the southbound lanes of I-65 in Hart County.  The vehicle came to rest behind guardrail and is over an embankment of the construction zone.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, emergency crews are attempting to keep one interstate lane open as much as possible but intermittent full closures will be necessary.

The Exit 71 Southbound on-ramp is restricted to emergency vehicles only.      

It is expected to take several hours to clear the scene.

Motorists traveling through should consider using Exit 91 to the Western Kentucky Parkway and Natcher Parkway as a route to re-join I-65 in Bowling Green.

Motorists needing local access should consider US 31W.

Kentucky State Police say a 5-year-old boy has been fatally struck by a school bus in Butler County.

State police spokesman B.J. Eaton said that police were called around 3:20 p.m. CDT Monday to the scene on Kentucky 70 about four miles west of Morgantown.

Eaton says the child was hit at his scheduled stop after the Butler County school bus stopped in front of a residence to let children exit.

Butler County Coroner Marty Jones says the child was pronounced dead about 15 minutes later. The boy was identified as five year old Jayden Hawkins of Morgantown.

A statement from Butler County schools said the driver of the school bus has been employed by the school system for 18 years and has "an exemplary driving record with the district."

The Kentucky State Trooper killed in a Sunday night shooting on I-24 in Lyon County was a Hardin County native who will be buried Friday at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Radcliff.

31 year old Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder died at a hospital in Princeton, KY just hours after being shot during a routine traffic stop that turned tragic. The suspect, Joseph Johnson-Shanks of Missouri was shot and killed by police after an hours-long search.

Ponder had just graduated from the State Police Academy in January. He was in the process of transferring back home from the State Police Post in Mayfield to the one in Elizabethtown.

Trooper Ponder was a 2002 graduate of North Hardin High School where he won all-state honors in track. He turned down a track scholarship from WKU to enlist in the Navy instead.

Ponder's body was transported to Coffey and Chism Funeral Home in Vine Grove Monday following an autopsy in Louisville. A KSP Trooper will stand guard by the casket 24 hours a day until his burial Friday.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 Friday morning at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown. Burial with full military honors will follow at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Radcliff.

Ryland Barton

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will be released from an Eastern Kentucky jail, provided she does not interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses by her deputies.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis into the custody of U.S. Marshals on Thursday. Davis had refused to issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. She’s said issuing the documents to same-sex couples violates her deeply held religious beliefs.

Last month, Bunning ordered Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses, but she remained defiant. Several of the deputy clerks in her office began issuing marriage licenses to all couples on Friday.

On Tuesday, Bunning ordered Davis to be released from the Carter County Detention Center. But he wrote that she could not interfere with her deputy clerks issuing the documents.

Davis’ fight against same-sex marriage has drawn national attention to the small towns of Grayson — where she was jailed — and Morehead, where she works.

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were expected in Grayson.

Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for governor, has also planned a visit.

A federal judge ordered that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be taken into custody on Thursday over her refusal to issue marriage licenses despite a court order.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Ryland Barton reports:

We’ll have more soon.

Pulaski County state senator Chris Girdler wants to change time.

The Somerset republican wants all Kentucky counties bordering Lake Cumberland to be in the Eastern time zone to better accommodate tourism.

The Somerset “Commonwealth Journal” reports Girdler sent a letter to officials in a six county region wanting Clinton, Cumberland and Russell Counties to leave the Central time zone and join Pulaski, McCreary and Wayne counties in moving an hour ahead.

Wayne County made the switch just a few years ago.

Girdler says most of the population around Lake Cumberland is already in the Eastern time zone, as is Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville.

He says having all the counties within the same time zone would improve promotion of Lake Cumberland and the interaction among the counties.

Another southern Indiana county might declare a state of emergency over increasing rates of HIV and hepatitis C.

Clark County, which is just across the Ohio River from Louisville, is considering the move in light of the recent outbreak in neighboring Scott County.

Scott County, Indiana, has received national attention recently following a spike in HIV and hep-C, blamed on the use of dirty needles used by addicts who are injecting heroin and the painkiller opana.

The Courier-Journal reports Clark County public health officer Kevin Burke is considering declaring a public emergency after it was discovered that a current HIV case in his county was linked to the Scott County outbreak. A public emergency would allow the creation of a needle exchange program, something proponents say is necessary to slow the spread of disease and offer treatment options to addicts.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden says the 4,200 person town of Austin, in Scott County, has a higher per-capita rate of HIV infection than any country in sub-saharan Africa.

The wife of a deceased Somerset attorney is suing several psychiatrists and Eastern State Hospital. 

Beth Stanziano claims they were negligent in their handling of a mentally ill man who murdered her husband, according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The complaint says 41-year-old Clinton Inabnit had been treated at Eastern State for several days in May 2014.  The following month, he shot and killed Somerset attorney Mark Staniziano. 

The lawsuit claims Inabnit was released from the mental hospital while still delusional.  He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had a criminal record. 

The lawsuit filed by Stanziano’s widow claims Inabnit had made prior threats to harm the prominent attorney and that doctors failed in their responsibility to warn Stanziano or notify police. 

Inabnit was scheduled to go on trial this month.  Instead, he pleaded guilty but mentall ill on charges of murder and wanton endangerment.  The plea agreement calls for a 20-year sentence.

Pulaski County State Senator Chris Girdler announced last week he wouldn't be running for a second term in Frankfort but now his uncle says he's getting in the race.

60 year old Somerset insurance agent Rick Girdler says he'll be running for the 15th district seat to replace his nephew.

He said he considered a state senate run in 2012 when long-time Senator Vernie McGaha retired but he stepped aside when Chris Girdler decided to run. Rick Girdler had also considered a run for Pulaski County judge-executive in 2014.

The district includes Pulaski, Boyle and Lincoln counties.

A commercial vehicle crash has closed I-65 Northbound near Mile Point 73 between Bonnieville and Sonora. 

Motorist are being detoured off at Exit 71 via 728 to KY 357 to continue north.   Temporary detour signs are installed to direct motorists back to I-65. 

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the estimated time for the closure is 3-4 hours.

Traffic is very heavy.  Please consider an alternate route in advance of Exit 71.

WKU

A recent WKU graduate from Lexington has won the 2015 Hearst National Multimedia championship.

Adam Wolfbrandt received his photojournalism degree last month, and is the first WKU student to win the Hearst Multimedia title, along with a $5,000 award.

The Hearst awards are considered the “Pulitzers of college journalism”, and are given annually to students for excellence in the fields of photojournalism, writing, radio, television, and multimedia.

WKU students have won the Hearst photojournalism title 11 times, and the Hearst national writing championship and radio news championship one time each.

A former Buffalo Trace Distillery guard pleaded guilty today to aiding a theft ring that allegedly sold thousands of bottles of bourbon illegally.

Thirty-five year old Leslie Wright of Frankfort is accused of taking payments from members of a crime syndicate in exchange for allowing them to steal 11 barrels of bourbon from Buffalo Trace.

The Courier-Journal reports Wright has agreed to a plea deal that could allow her to avoid jail time. She has agreed to testify against others, and pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of facilitation to receive stolen property over $10,000.

Wright is one of ten people charged in what prosecutors have described as an organized effort to steal and sell bourbon and steroids. Nine others were indicted in April, including a Buffalo Trace employee accused of running the operation since 2008.

Former Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton has begun serving an 18 month sentence for two counts of witness tampering. Eaton was allowed to turn himself in Thursday to the low security Federal Correctional Institution at Oakdale, Louisiana.

Eaton was originally convicted by a federal jury two years ago on two counts of witness tampering. He and two deputies were accused of using unnecessary force on a suspect and then trying to cover it up. Eaton had remained free on bond since then pending an appeal. His conviction was upheld by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

One of the deputies initially charged in the case pleaded guilty to making a false statement and was placed on a probation that has since ended.

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