Bowling Green

WKU Public Radio

Update at 8:02 a.m.:

Snow is falling over a large portion of Kentucky and threatens to make the morning commute slow and messy.

Kentucky Department of Transportation officials said salt trucks were out treating roadways, but noted that arctic air and continuing snow on Tuesday could still make for slick conditions.

Several school districts in the state canceled classes.

South-central Kentucky regions should see around an inch of snow with temperatures falling into the lower teens Tuesday night.

Some parts of western Kentucky may see an inch or two of snow with scattered flurries elsewhere and single-digit temperatures.

The forecast calls for up to 5 inches of snow in parts of northern Kentucky, and lows of around zero to 5 degrees.

Central Kentucky is expecting between 1-4 inches of snow with lows around 10.

Emil Moffatt

The last three months have been full of good news for the 2014 Corvette Stingray.  In November it was named Automobile Magazine’s Car of the Year, followed the next month by the same honors from Autoweek.  Monday, it was named the Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It’s a car with a long and storied past – and no place is that more celebrated than at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. In August, the museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Corvette Museum will open a new Motorsports Park featuring a 3.1 mile road course on 184 acres just across the highway from the museum.

Leading the planning for the track is Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright – a former professional race car driver-turn-motorsports park operator, who’s been behind the wheel for most of his life.

“I started quite young – I was 11 years old when I started racing go-carts,” said Wright.  “From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to race…I wanted to race something.”

Nacarius Fant has been named Kentucky’s Mr. Football by the state Associated Press.

Fant was a major part of Bowling Green’s recent undefeated season that culminated with the school’s third-straight Class 5A championship. The 5-foot-10 wideout caught 83 passes last season for nearly 1,700 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Fant was one of four finalists for the Mr. Football award, a list that also included John Hardin High School defensive lineman Matt Elam, Connor quarterback Drew Barker, and Scott County wide receiver Scott Daniel.

The Bowling Green senior will continue his football career in the fall at WKU.  

Fant wasn’t the only Bowling Green Purple to win an AP award. His coach, Kevin Wallace, was named the state’s coach of the year.

The Bowling Green Hot Rods minor league baseball team has a new owner.  The team has been sold to Manhattan Capital Sports Acquisition, a group that also owns the Triple-A team in Reno, Nevada.

Stuart Katzoff leads the new ownership group, which also includes Indiana Pacers Owner Herb Simon and Katzoff’s father.  The Hot Rods will remain in Bowling Green and will still be affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays.  The team was previously owned by Art Solomon.

“This is an announcement we make with extremely mixed feelings and a heavy heart,” said Solomon.  “The people in this region have been so welcoming to us since we arrived in the fall of 2008, and without them we would not be where we are today.  Stuart Katzoff is an outstanding, successful owner, and I have no doubt that this new era for the Hot Rods will mean great things for downtown Bowling Green and the surrounding region.”

The Class-A Midwest League team began playing at Bowling Green Ballpark in 2009 and has 15 years remaining on its lease with the city. 

Corvette Museum Announces 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

Nov 28, 2013

A writer, an engineer and a driver are the 2014 inductees into the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame in Bowling Green.  The museum announced the inductees this week.  

Jerry Burton has written multiple books including “Zora Arkus Duntov: The Legend Behind Corvette” and “Corvette: America’s Sports Car: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. He was also the founding editor and editorial director of Corvette Quarterly magazine and motorsports editor for AutoWeek.  He’ll be joined in the Hall of Fame by John Heinricy who was both a driver and a Corvette engineer. He won 11 Sports Car Club of America national championships as a driver and oversaw production of the C4 through 1996. Dave MacDonald was one of the drivers of the 1963 Stingray in the “Biography of a Sports Car” national ad campaign. He won 47 of the 110 races in which he competed, but died at the age of 27 after a violent crash at the 1964 Indianapolis 500. 

A ceremony honoring the three inductees is set for Aug. 28, 2014. The celebration will mark the museum’s 20th anniversary. 

Emil Moffatt

Eighteen-year-old Gerald Givens was a member of the Butler County High School Band in 1960 when then-Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy made a campaign stop in downtown Bowling Green.

“We were in front of his car, so when I got through with the parade I grabbed my camera and ran back up the street so I could get a good picture of him, which I did,” said Givens.  “After that, we just disbanded, got on the buses and went back to Morgantown at that time.”

Givens captured a picture of the future president, riding in a red car with a Kennedy/Johnson sign strapped to the side.

“I was 18 years old and politics and all that didn’t register a whole lot.  But I knew it was a big event because the streets were packed up one side and down the other,” said Givens.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear was in Bowling Green Monday to celebrate the opening of a manufacturing plant.

Austrian-based Alpla began operations in mid-August at its facility in the Kentucky Transpark.  The company invested $22.4 million in the plant and created 72 full-time jobs.

Governor Beshear helped cut the ribbon on the new factory which makes plastic packaging for beverages, cosmetics, and household items.

"Among their customers is Sun Products right here in Bowling Green," explained Beshear.  "You might not know the Aalpla name, but I guarantee you have held in your hand an Alpla-packaged product."

Alpla's Bowling Green plant brings the number of foreign-owned companies in Kentucky to 412.

Emil Moffatt

 A German company plans to invest $120 million dollars to bring a production plant to Bowling Green.
 
The Bilstein Group says the plant will  bring 90 new, full-time jobs to the area.  Governor Steve Beshear was on hand for the announcement Wednesday at Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce headquarters. Beshear, who just returned from a trip to Europe said he met with Bilstein executives on a previous trip. 

The company makes cold-rolled strip steel products for the auto industry.  It will be the Bilstein Group’s second facility in North America.  

“At the end of a long and thorough decision making process," said Bilstein CEO Marc Oehler. "I can say we are absolutely certain that Bowling Green is the perfect spot for our new [facility] being both sufficiently close to our customers and suppliers as well as within reach from Europe and any place in North America.”

A federal appeals court is scheduled in November to hear the case of an Iraqi man sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to terrorism charges.

The attorney for Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 25, will get to argue why he thinks his client's prison sentence should be reduced. Prosecutors oppose any reduction.

A co-defendant, Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, received a 40-year sentence in January.

Hammadi and Alwan pleaded guilty in 2011 and 2012 to conspiring to ship thousands in cash, machine guns, rifles, grenades and shoulder-fired missiles to al-Qaida in Iraq in 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors said the two were working with a confidential informant.

Both were arrested in May 2011 in Bowling Green in a federal sting operation.

Hammadi is being held in a maximum-security prison in Colorado.

A Bowling Green man accused of international gun trafficking is no longer in custody.  A federal judge on Friday morning granted bond to Adam Joseph Bunger. 

Adam Bunger is accused of shipping firearms to England, Sweden, and Australia, all countries with stringent gun laws.  He allegedly used a website called Black Market Reloaded to sell the weapons and used aliases to ship them overseas.  The firearms were supposedly disassembled, and the parts hidden in video game consoles.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jo Lawless argued before U.S. District Judge Brent Brennenstuhl that Bunger should remain behind bars, claiming he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.  She added that the government anticipates bringing additional charges.

“We have truly only scratched the surface,” said Lawless.

Not only was Bunger allegedly shipping firearms in illegal in other countries, Lawless said he was stripping the weapons of serial numbers.  She also contended the investigation had turned up evidence of Bunger also trading in marijuana, fake IDs, and stolen credit cards.

Kevin Willis

A new hotel is being called a bridge that will bring WKU and downtown Bowling Green closer together.

City and university leaders Tuesday announced that a 108-room Hyatt Place hotel will be built adjacent to the WKU Augustein Alumni Center. Construction on the four-story building will start this fall, with a scheduled opening in fall of 2014.

WKU President Gary Ransdell described the effort as a "cornerstone" that will help unite the school's campus and the city's downtown.

"This is what begins to marry Western Kentucky University--our physical campus--with downtown Bowling Green. This project is going to be the bridge which begins to bring these two very important variables in our community together."

The hotel will be owned by Dellisart Wellspring, LLC, the same group behind the Staybridge Suites Hotel in Bowling Green at the intersection of Nashville Road and Campbell Lane.

Health Summit Meeting in Bowling Green

Sep 16, 2013

Leaders in business, health care and government are assembling in Bowling Green for a summit designed to improve health information technology in Kentucky.

The annual e-Health summit begins Tuesday at the Sloan Convention Center.

Noted speakers include Judy Murphy, deputy of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes.

The event draws hundreds from around the state who come to present ideas and listen to state and national leaders speak about new initiatives in health information technology. It is sponsored by the Governor's Office of Electronic Health Information.

The next time you listen to a baseball game on the radio, notice how many times the weather is referenced.

"The weather is certainly one part of trying to convey to the listener the scene of what's happening and the setting for the game and what might turn out to be an important component that affects the way the game turns out,” said Stu Foster, WKU professor, Kentucky state climatologist and part-time color commentator for the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

"Whether it's a clear, deep blue sky that might be a problem for outfielders, whether there's a strong breeze blowing in or out,” said Foster.  “We had a game recently where there was a heavy dew that came on the field as the game went on that could've come on to affect the game."

Foster said a few conversations last winter led to the opportunity to sit in on a dozen games as color commentator for the Midwest League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. He says his weather expertise wasn’t the only part of his “day job” that helped ease his transition into the broadcast booth.

He says in both broadcasting and being a professor, the goal is the same: communicate a message with a large audience. 

Kevin Willis

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson says that while it feels like "slogging through mud", the area economy is slowly starting to turn around.

However, Wilkerson told WKU Public Radio the city is still subject to manufacturing job losses that can have a big impact on its labor force.

"In a community our size, when something like Eagle Industries shuts down and puts 275 people out of work, we feel that hit. Fruit of the Loom has decided to reduce its workforce by close to 100 this year, and those are 100 good-paying jobs that are very meaningful to our economy. So when they're gone, we notice it," Wilkerson said.

Recent data compiled by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet show the Bowling Green Metropolitan Statistical Area with a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.5 percent for the month of July, which is two-tenths of a percentage point below the national jobless figure.

Kevin Willis

The leader of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association says he’s pleased with the job WKU has done in hosting the state football finals. That might quiet any talk about the finals moving from Bowling Green to Louisville.

WKU has hosted the state high school football finals since 2009, and is under contract to remain host through 2014. Before that, the city of Louisville hosted the events stretching back to 1979.

In a text message to a Courier-Journal sports reporter, KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett said his group is happy with Bowling Green as the location for the football finals, saying WKU’s L.T. Smith Stadium gives fans and player a more intimate setting than the larger Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Tackett says WKU “appears to maximize all desired factors.”

The U of L Cardinals’ upcoming move to a new athletic conference means the team won’t be playing at home the first weekend in December, the weekend the high school football finals are traditionally held. Because of that availability, some have speculated the KHSAA might consider moving the high school finals back to Louisville.

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