Kevin Willis

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio.  He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.  He is a broadcast journalism graduate of WKU, and has won numerous awards for his reporting and feature production.  Kevin grew up in Radcliff, Kentucky and currently lives in Glasgow.

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Society
3:45 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Kentucky Ranks 40th in Nation for Child Poverty

Credit www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show Kentucky ranks 40th in the nation for child poverty. The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey says 25.3 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2013, which is a little more than three percent higher than the national average.

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Government
7:21 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Reaction to Beshear's Smoking Announcement

Credit wikpedia.org

A Kentucky health group is lauding an announcement that state-owned properties will be going tobacco-free.

Governor Beshear last week issued an executive order banning tobacco products and e-cigarettes from state-owned and leased buildings and vehicles, effective November 20th.

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Government
3:46 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Chief Justice Minton Announces Study Looking at Caseloads for Kentucky Judges, Urges Pay Raises

Chief Justice John Minton

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 3:28 pm

Kentucky’s judicial branch is set to begin a study that will examine the balance of caseloads throughout the state.

Speaking to reporters after his annual “State of the Judiciary” address to lawmakers Friday, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr., said there is a perception held by many that some parts of the state have too few judges, while other regions have too many.

“And rolled up in that is the continuing concern in Daviess County of the need for family court, Daviess County being the largest jurisdiction in the state without family court.”

Seventy-one of Kentucky's 120 counties have family courts.  In counties that don't—such as Daviess—circuit judges are tasked with hearing cases regarding adoption, paternity, and domestic violence.

The Kentucky Supreme Court in 2012 certified the need for two family court positions in Daviess County, but budget constraints have delayed any action.

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Politics
5:17 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

AFL-CIO Blasts GOP's "Handshake With Kentucky"

Credit http://www.ky.aflcio.org/

The President of the Kentucky AFL-CIO is blasting the agenda laid out by the Kentucky GOP House leadership.

Bill Londrigan says “Handshake with Kentucky” plan will only exacerbate the level of income inequality seen in the commonwealth. 

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Health
7:16 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Health Departments Offer Free Colon Cancer Screenings

Credit http://kycancerprogram.org/

The wife of Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson is asking Kentuckians to be proactive about colon cancer screenings.

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Politics
2:40 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Pro-McConnell NRA Mailer Blasting Bloomberg Comes As Senator Defends Wife's Role on Bloomberg Board

This mailer from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action says Sen. McConnell will "Stop the Obama/Bloomberg Gun Control Agenda".

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 3:14 pm

The lobbying wing of the National Rifle Association has sent a mailer to some residents in Kentucky that says Senator Mitch McConnell will stop the “gun control agenda” of President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  

It hit mailboxes shortly after it was revealed that McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, sits on the board of a charity run by Bloomberg.

The mail piece came from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and by law cannot be authorized by a candidate or candidate’s committee. Featuring on the front photos of Bloomberg and President Obama, with a dark, grainy picture of New York City in the background, the mailer says “Restricting Your Second Amendment Rights is Obama’s Unfinished Business.”

The back features a picture of McConnell, with assurances that the incumbent Republican opposes “any bans on guns and ammunition”, “a federal gun registration database”, and what it describes as the President’s “anti-gun nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The NRA’s criticism of Bloomberg’s gun control views comes as McConnell was recently forced to answer questions about his wife’s role on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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Environment
8:35 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Video: Mammoth Cave Scientist Predicts White Nose Syndrome to Get Much Worse, and Soon

Rick Toomey is director of the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning.

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 2:22 pm

A researcher at Mammoth Cave National Park is fearful that a fungal disease is set to kill large numbers of bats in the region.

White Nose Syndrome was first discovered at the park in south-central Kentucky last year, and has impacted at least six of the eight bat species found inside the cave. Rick Toomey, director of the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning, says researchers at the park are expecting a spike in White Nose cases.

“Unfortunately we’re expecting potentially our next big milestone this year, when we may start seeing fairly large population drops, or possibly finding bats dying of white nose at the park.”

Watch: WKU Public Radio photojournalist Abbey Oldham recently produced a video exploring the potential impact of White Nose Syndrome on the bat populations at Mammoth Cave, and what the park is doing to combat the fungus:

Toomey says an estimated 6.5 million bats in North America have died due to White Nose Syndrome, although he believes the actual number could be much higher. Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee has recently seen a surge in bat deaths due to White Nose Syndrome—deaths Toomey says haven’t shown up yet in official estimates.

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Science
2:19 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

New Federal Grant to Help HIV Vaccine Research Effort Underway in Owensboro

Kenneth Palmer, Ph.D
Credit Photo Provided

 

HIV vaccine research being conducted in Owensboro is getting a boost from a federal grant. The National Institutes of Health Monday announced a five-year, $14.7 million dollar grant for a project being led by the Owensboro Cancer Research program.

The goal is to create a gel-based vaccine that involves tobacco plants.

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Fort Campbell
4:07 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Ft. Campbell Honoring Fallen Soldier by Renaming Reserve Center

Credit Fort Campbell photo

A Meade County native who died while serving in Iraq is being honored this weekend at Fort Campbell.

The U.S. Army Reserve Center at the Kentucky post is being renamed Sunday in honor of Major Michael Mundell, who died in 2007 from injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device was detonated in Fallujah.

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Society
9:54 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Kentucky Overdose Deaths Level, but Heroin Deaths Increase

Heroin overdose deaths continue to rise in Kentucky.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new report indicates the number of overdose deaths in Kentucky is leveling off. In 2013, there were one-thousand-and-seven drug overdoses statewide, just three more than the year before. The leader of Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy, Van Ingram said while he’s disappointed the numbers haven’t decreased, there are still bits of good news that can be found in the report.

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