1:19 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Coalition of Groups Helps Bowling Green Veteran Live the American Dream

Keith Koerner and his girlfriend Kelly Ballance stand on the front porch of their new home in Bowling Green.
Lisa Autry

A Marine veteran received the keys to his new home today in Bowling Green.

Formerly homeless, Keith Koerner, a student at WKU, is now a first-time homeowner.

"This is an amazing gift to me and I want to assure each one of you who are now my angels that have made this possible that I'm going to give back to this community," said Koerner.  "I really didn't feel like I deserved this, and most veterans would say the same thing."

Housing and Development Services of Bowling Green (HANDS) worked with Monticello Banking Company of Monticello, Kentucky a coalition of local veterans’ groups, the city of Bowling Green, and U.S. Senator Rand Paul to build a home for Koerner. 

"I am pleased to be part of this.  This is a great combination of government, private, and community to get together to do something that I think is very noble," commented Paul.

The house, located on Chestnut Street, was financed with a $75,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati. 

Also helping with construction were Wabuck Development and Clayton-Watkins Construction, both of Leitchfield, Kentucky. 

The property for the home was donated by the city of Bowling Green.

12:23 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

As White Nose Syndrome Spreads, Worries Persist About Potential Impact on Bats, Ag Industry

The entrance to Mammoth Cave
Credit Emil Moffatt

White Nose Syndrome has spread to more areas at Mammoth Cave National Park and may end up costing farmers billions of dollars

After a 10 minute climb up a gentle incline just off the main trail at Mammoth Cave National Park, Rick Toomey stands on a wooden platform overlooking Dixon Cave.

“It’s one of our most important hibernation sites,” said Toomey, the park’s research coordinator.

He says during the winter thousands of bats, including several different species hibernate here.  But those numbers might be on the verge of a drastic change.

“This is a site that could be vastly altered in five years.  In five years we might go in there and find five or ten bats total,” said Toomey. “It’s a very realistic possibility based on what’s been seen elsewhere. And that would be devastating to our ecosystem up here.”

The problem: White Nose Syndrome. It started in the northeast in 2006. It was first noticed at Mammoth Cave in 2013 and has since spread to the caves that welcomed nearly half-a million visitors last year.

Toomey says the fungus that gives White Nose Syndrome its name is just one of the symptoms of the devastating disease.

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11:52 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Cave City Alcohol Vote Set for July 22

Another Kentucky city is planning a referendum on alcohol sales.

The Glasgow Daily Times reports Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer announced on Wednesday that a local option election would be held on July 22 in Cave City. Greer's announcement came right after the Barren County Clerk's office verified enough signatures had been submitted on a petition seeking package sales.

A group called Cave City Forward Committee handed in the petition after researching potential benefits of approving alcohol sales.

The group cited Smith Travel Research, which found that restaurants and hotels in Hardin and Simpson counties had double-digit increases after taking similar votes in 2012. In addition, the group noted Kentucky State Police findings that alcohol-involved accidents in 2012 decreased in five counties that allowed alcohol sales.

8:47 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Lane Closures Impacting I-65 Thursday Night in Hart County Region

Some I-65 lane closures are taking place Thursday evening near Exit 65 in Munfordville.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued the following statement:

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet contract crews will be setting bridge beams along the I-65 bridge over US 31-W tonight beginning at 7pm (central time).  I-65 will be reduced to one lane in each direction. 

Though this work is taking place during off-peak hours, short delays are possible.

Beams should be set and both lanes open by 7am Friday morning.

1:24 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report: Owensboro Mayor Wants to Boost Population by Annexing Subdivisions

Could the annexation of nearby subdivisions give Owensboro a larger population than Bowling Green?
Credit City of Owensboro

The mayor of Owensboro says the city should consider trying to annex nearby subdivisions in order to boost its population.

Ron Payne made the comments following the release of census numbers showing Bowling Green has grown at a faster pace than Owensboro.

Those figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reflect populations on July 1, 2013.

Bowling Green retained its position as the state’s third-largest city, with a population of 61,488 people. Owensboro remained fourth-largest, with just over 58,416.

That 3,072-person advantage by Bowling Green is more than the gap between the two cities during the 2010 census. Four years ago, Bowling Green had just an 800-person advantage.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne and City Manager Bill Parrish are talking about meeting with homeowner associations in subdivisions along Kentucky 54 in order to gauge their interest in being annexed by the city.

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11:23 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Danville Alters Proposed Gay Rights Ordinance

The Danville City Commission has altered a proposed gay rights ordinance to exempt religious groups after a Baptist-affiliated organization threatened to leave the city.

The City Commission changed the proposed ordinance on Tuesday. The Advocate Messenger reports the commission voted 3-2 in favor of the revised ordinance on its first reading Tuesday.

At the commission's meeting last month, an attorney for Sunrise Children's Services said it would move its child care center out of Danville if the ordinance did not include an exemption. The Baptist-affiliated agency receives a significant portion of its funding from the government, but it refuses gay job applicants.

The commission will vote on a second reading next month.

10:08 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Just Months After Snake-Handling Pastor's Death, His Son Is Recovering From Snakebite

Serpent handling Pastor Cody Coots
Credit Lexington Herald-Leader photo

In February, Pastor Jamie Coots was bitten by a rattlesnake during his serpent handling church service in eastern Kentucky and was dead within hours. This week his 21-year-old son nearly suffered the same fate.

Jamie Coots was bitten on his right hand by a six-foot long rattler Monday morning as he was using a hooked pole to take venomous snakes from a cage he keeps at his mother's house. He was trying to get two into a carrying case and was reaching for a third when the other rattler lunged out of the cage at him and bit him on the index finger of his right hand.

The call went out for fellow church members to come and pray for his recovery and about two dozen people went to the house. Coots, in line with his religious beliefs,  refused medical assistance.

Earlier this year, Coots told WKU Public Radio being bitten by poisonous snakes is part of his job. "I like to handle snakes," he said, "I've been bit five times, strictly cottonmouths. But one of those bites, God was moving on me, the thing reached and grabbed me right in the back of the shoulder and never did hurt me. I just kept right on dancing with fire in one hand and a snake in the other."

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Bourbon Trail
8:15 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Photo Gallery: The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Empty barrels sit outside at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Ky on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.

Nearly 2.5 million people from around the world visit distilleries across the Kentucky Bourbon Trail each year. WKU Public Radio photojournalist Abbey Oldham photographed three distilleries including the oldest, Woodford Reserve, and one of the youngest, Wilderness Trace.

She also photographed Wild Turkey, where Master Distiller Jimmy Russel taught her how to taste corn mash and remove a bung hole by hand.

The bourbon distilleries are one of the things that makes Kentucky a special place, with a rich history and a bright future of keeping bourbon making alive and well in the Bluegrass State. 

Abbey was in Bourbon Country to document the production of Mainstreet "Kentucky Spirits", which will air on WKU PBS this Saturday (May 30) at 7 pm, Sunday (June 1) at 1:30 pm, Monday (June 2) at 8 pm, and Friday (June 6) at 9:30 pm.

9:22 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

FEMA To Reimburse Vanderburgh County For Some Winter Storm Repairs

Vanderburgh County Courthouse
Credit Emil Moffatt

Vanderburgh County has been approved to receive a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover some damage sustained during a brutal winter storm January 5-9.  

Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Director Cliff Weaver says much of the damage came to the water grid in-and-around Evansville. 

“We had hundreds of water mains break,” said Weaver.  “So you can imagine the labor and materials over time – plus the loss of the water.  It was a very unusual situation.” 

Weaver says the total damage amounts to $1.3 million dollars.  He says about half of that is eligible to be covered by the FEMA grant.  A total of 28 Indiana counties have been approved to receive the grants.

12:15 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Crews Begin Paving Corvette Museum's Motorsports Park

The Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in a photo taken in April
Credit National Corvette Museum

A milestone was reached Tuesday morning at the site of the new Motorsports Park in Bowling Green.  Crews began laying pavement for the 3.1 mile road course across the highway from the Corvette Museum. 

“We’re using a 3D paving system, which is something relatively new to the paving world, there’s only a few contractors who use it,” said Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright.  “What they’re telling us, is that it will hold the surface to within an eighth of an inch – which is pretty amazing if you think about it.”

Wright says the quality of surface can make or break a track and first impressions are important.

“If the track is rough or bumpy, or whatever – that’s what it becomes known as. If you’ve got an extremely smooth surface, that’s again, just a huge added benefit to us.”

Wright says the paving process is expected to take about a month.  The track is set to open in August in conjunction with the Corvette Museum’s 20th anniversary celebration.