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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No life-threatening injuries are reported following a bus crash in Tennessee involving students from an Owensboro college. Members of the Kentucky Wesleyan Singers and Chamber Singers were aboard the charter bus that went over a small hill beside a road in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, late Sunday night.

A Chattanooga TV station reports 22 people were taken to hospitals.

A Kentucky Wesleyan College spokeswoman told WKU Public Radio the rest of the group’s week-long tour has been cancelled following the accident. The singers began their tour with stops in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, Nashville and Signal Mountain, Tennessee. They were on their way to sing in Atlanta when the bus accident occurred.

Kentucky State Police were investigating whether distracted driving caused a tractor-trailer to plow into an SUV carrying eight people on Saturday, killing six and possibly triggering a serious crash on the opposite side of the highway.

The truck driver is "telling us that he saw the vehicle that was in front of him and he hit the brakes and he didn't hit them in time," Master Trooper Norman Chaffins said. " ... There was a reason for that and we're trying to figure out what the reason was."

The late-morning crash was followed 15 minutes later by a multi-vehicle crash on the opposite side of Interstate 65 that injured three people. The site was just 15 miles from where 11 people died in 2010 when a tractor-trailer crossed the median and hit a van carrying a Mennonite family. Ten people in the van were killed along with the truck driver and the National Transportation Safety Board determined the truck driver was distracted by his cell phone.

A wintry mix of precipitation is expected to extend overnight into Friday morning for those in the northwestern Kentucky portion of our listening area.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has released the following information:

Crews in Union, Henderson, and Daviess Counties are reporting sleet that is creating scattered slick spots on area highways.  Henderson County had 10 trucks out Friday evening spreading salt.

Motorists should use caution.  Pavement temperatures have been dropping over the last couple of hours and are now hovering just above the freezing mark.  The ambient air temperature is holding at 31 degrees in Union County and Henderson County.

Motorists should be especially cautious around bridges and overpasses which cool down quicker than regular pavement.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF-2 tornado touched down in Warren County Kentucky northeast of Bowling Green as strong storms moved through the region early Wednesday morning.

A NWS survey team is currently investigating the damage along with local emergency management and media members. The track of this tornado likely extends farther northeast outside of Warren County, thus, details will be forth coming as the survey team continues the investigation.

An EF-0 tornado touched down southwest of Bradfordsville in Marion County, Kentucky. This tornado did damage along Calvary Road where a mobile home was destroyed and a small shed slid off its foundation. 2 minor injuries occurred with this tornado.

A federal judge sentenced one Iraqi man accused of entering into a terrorist plot in Bowling Green to a life sentence in prison, with a second man given a 40 year sentence.

Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi appeared at the William H. Natcher federal courthouse in Bowling Green Tuesday to receive sentencing for a serious of charges related to a plot to send weapons, explosives, and money to Al-Qaida in Iraq.

The 30-year-old Alwan was given 40 years in prison for his role in the plot. He could have received a life sentence, but Judge Thomas B. Russell went along with the recommendation of prosecutors to give a lesser sentence since Alwan cooperated in the case.

Hammadi received a life sentence. The two were arrested in Warren County in 2009.

Both men had previously pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization, and conspiracy to send Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Iraq. Alwan and Hammadi also pleaded to making false statements when they applied for admission to the United States as refugees.

The terrorist plot was actually a government sting operation. This led the Iraqis' lawyers to claim they were victims of entrapment.

Join WKU Public Radio Wednesday during Morning Edition for recaps of the sentencing handed down Tuesday in Bowling Green's federal court.

A line of strong to severe thunderstorms is expected to move through the region late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning ahead of a strong cold front. Damaging winds of 60 to 70 mph are expected along this line, with a few tornadoes possible along and ahead of the line. 

One to two inches of rain is also possible within short periods of time, which may cause flooding.

Showers and storms will continue on Wednesday, with temperatures dropping from the low 60's to the 40's by late afternoon.

More from the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for a large part of the WKU Public Radio coverage area.

A wintry mix of precipitation will move in around daybreak Friday. Expect mostly freezing rain across south central Kentucky. Farther north the precipitation will be mostly snow and sleet, with up to an inch of snow expected across the Bluegrass.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States. The year included a record warm spring, the second warmest summer, the fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.

The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation with the Mountain West, Great Plains, and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions. The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West, charring 9.2 million acres — the third highest on record.


WKU Public Radio would like to share with you some news we learned today regarding several NPR show hosts.

NPR Senior VP of News Margaret Low Smith notified members stations that Michele Norris will be returning to NPR in a new role of Host/Special Correspondent. According to Smith, Norris will produce “signature profiles of leaders in politics, pop culture, business and other fields.”

“While on sabbatical, Michele has spent a good deal of time traveling the country and developing two successful initiatives: The Race Card Project and NPR’s Backseat Book Club.  Her new role will allow her to continue this work while producing in-depth segments for all NPR programs," said Smith.

Norris stepped down from her ATC hosting duties in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential campaign, due to the fact her husband took a job working with President Obama’s re-election efforts.

Smith says Audie Cornish will become a permanent co-anchor on All Things Considered, and Rachel Martin will stay on as host of Weekend Edition Sunday.

The National Weather Service reports that rain showers will change to a rain/snow mix and then all snow across southern Indiana. Accumulating snow appears likely by midnight and after, with around 2 to 4 inches of accumulation expected. Some portions of southern Indiana could see as much as 4 to 6 inches of snow.

North-central Kentucky over to the Bluegrass region should expect 1 to 4 inches of accumulation before the majority of precipitation ends around daybreak.

An intense winter storm system will continue to bring rain, snow and icy conditions to our region through Wednesday evening.

The Blizzard Warning for Owensboro, Henderson, and Evansville has been cancelled, though these areas can expect additional snow today. A Blizzard Warning remains in effect for portions of southern Indiana.

Much of the rest of our coverage area is under a Winter Weather Advisory through early evening Wednesday, with predictions of accumulations around 1", along with icy conditions as rain mixes with sleet. 

More from the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory is in effect across our coverage area through early Friday morning, with some wind gusts expected to reach 40-45 mph.  

Those with loose outdoor objects including Christmas decorations, etc. should take precautions to secure them before Thursday. Drivers should exercise caution, especially when driving high-profile vehicles.

Much colder air will move into the area as the system passes, and may change rain to snow showers in the eastern parts of our coverage area.  High temperatures on Friday will only reach the upper 30s.

Unseasonably strong storms are possible Monday afternoon and evening.  A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for parts of our coverage area until 8pm E.T. 

Showers will continue off and on through the day as a low pressure system moves along the Ohio River. Thunderstorms will be possible as well, mainly in the afternoon. Some storms have the potential to become strong with hail and gusty winds. 

More from the National Weather Service.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet reports that a contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet switched the new 38-mile section of Interstate 69 in Lyon, Caldwell, and Hopkins Counties to new mile points and new signage Friday.   Old mile markers for the former Western Kentucky Parkway have been removed or covered.

The change also reoriented the east-west direction of the former Parkway to north-south for Interstate 69 from the Interstate 24 Interchange near Eddyville to the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway Interchange near Madisonville.

Election Day 2012 has come and gone. President Obama has won a second term in the White House, Republicans have held on to control of the U.S. House and made gains in the Senate--but not as big of a gain as they had hoped.

In Kentucky, the GOP picked up a U.S. House seat held by Ben Chandler and four Kentucky House seats, falling short of their goal to take control of that chamber for the first time since the 1920s.

Here's the latest election news:

Come-From-Behind Winner Donnelly Will Focus on Economy, Jobs, and Economy