Lisa Autry

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum.  She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years.  Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville.  She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky.  Many of her stories have been heard on NPR. 


NPR Story
2:41 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Fatal Western Kentucky Plane Crash

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:18 pm

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on a deadly plane crash earlier this month in western Kentucky.  The accident killed everyone on board except for a young girl. 

The report released Friday shows the pilot of the twin-engine plane, Marty Gutzler, radioed to air traffic control that he was having "problems" with both of the plane’s engines.  He was instructed to land at the nearby Kentucky State Dam Airport.  Minutes later, Gutzler reported he had lost sight of the airfield.  There were no further radio communications from the plane. 

The January 2 crash killed Gutzler, his wife, their nine-year-old daughter and her cousin.  The NTSB report says the victims were found strapped in their seats.  The family was returning from Florida to their home in Nashville, Illinois. 

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2:38 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Hardin County on the Verge of Passing Right-to-Work Law

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 2:22 pm

Hardin County is in line to become the fifth county in Kentucky to pass a local right-to-work law. 

The fiscal court is expected to give final approval Tuesday afternoon to a measure that allows workers in unionized companies to choose whether to join the union and pay dues.  Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry believes a local law is necessary to attract economic growth.

"We have a mega site that's just south of Elizabethtown in a community called Glendale with some 15,000 acres," Berry told WKU Radio Radio.  "It's a large site that is prime and ready to go."

Berry says local leaders are ready to go what Frankfort has not.

"I'd like to see the state do it statewide.  If the state had been successfully over the years of doing it, we wouldn't be in the position of counties trying to do this individually," added Berry.  "You might ask why we haven't done it before now and it's because we didn't realize we had the ability to do it before."

The matter is expected to wind up in court as legal opinions vary on whether local governments have the authority to pass right-to-work laws. 

Hardin County would join Warren, Simpson, Todd, and Fulton counties in approving local measures.

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4:28 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Kelley Paul: Book has Nothing to Do With Presidential Politics

Kelley Paul, the wife of U.S. Senator Rand Paul, promoted her book "True and Constant Friends" to the Bowling Green Republican Women's Club.

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 4:20 pm

The wife of U.S. Senator Rand Paul is preparing to roll out her first book. 

Kelley Paul promoted the book titled “True and Constant Friends” to a gathering Tuesday of the Bowling Green Republican Women’s Club.  The book contains essays about inspiring women. 

Mrs. Paul told WKU Public Radio her inspiration to write the book came from her immigrant grandmother who fled poverty in Ireland in 1929 and traveled alone to the U.S. at a young age.

"I've given a lot of speeches about my grandmother since Rand entered politics because to me she is really the American dream story," commented Paul.

The book is set for release in April, around the same time Senator Paul plans to announce whether he will seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016.

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4:05 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Simpson County on the Verge of Passing Local Right-to-Work Law

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:21 pm

Simpson County has become the third Kentucky county to give preliminary approval to a right-to-work law. 

The Simpson County Fiscal Court voted unanimously Tuesday on a local ordinance that allows workers to decide whether to join a union and pay dues without fear of losing their job.  Simpson County borders Tennessee which has a right-to-work law.  For Judge-Executive Jim Henderson, it’s an economic development issue.

"It is perceived by many new and expanding businesses throughout the country that Kentucky is not as business-friendly because we don't have right to work," Henderson told WKU Public Radio.  "Whether it's real or perceived doesn't really matter because when those companies are looking at locating a plant somewhere in the country, many of them simply won't look at Kentucky."

Eldon Renaud, president of the United Auto Workers Union in Bowling Green, spoke out against the ordinance at the fiscal court meeting, arguing right-to-work laws drive down wages and benefits for employees.

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4:12 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Deadline Approaching to Purchase Health Insurance on Kentucky's Exchange

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:39 pm

An important deadline is just days away for Kentuckians needing health insurance. 

Although the second enrollment period on Kentucky’s health care exchange runs until February 15, residents must sign up for coverage by Monday in order to be covered when the new year begins. 

"If you wait until February 15th the soonest your effective date can be is March 1st," explains Kynect Executive Director Carrie Banahan.  "If you're wanting coverage by January 1st, you really need to enroll by Monday, December 15th."

More than 18,000 Kentuckians have been filed applications for private insurance or Medicaid since open enrollment began a month ago.  The first month of last year’s enrollment period resulted in 32,000 applications. 

"Keep in mind that last year we enrolled more than 400,000 people," adds Banahan.  "There was a lot of pent up demand among people who didn't have insurance coverage, and now a lot of folks do."

Most of the uninsured have gained coverage through an expansion of Medicaid. 

According to one poll, Kentucky's uninsured rate fell from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 11.9 in 2014.

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10:24 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Western Kentucky County Could See Coal Jobs Cut in Half

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 3:13 pm

A western Kentucky county could lose half of its coal-mining workforce in the next couple of months. 

Coal mining employs about 1,200 people in Union County, but that could change, according to a layoff notice issued by Patriot Coal Corporation. 

The company is warning that up to 670 workers could be laid off in February at the Highland mine on the Union-Henderson County border and at the Dodge Hill complex.

Union County Judge-executive Jody Jenkins says, unfortunately, the news is familiar.

"For the last 60 years, I guess, coal mining has been the life blood of this community, Jenkins told WKU Public Radio.  "Historically, we've had mine closures and layoffs, but it doesn't make it any easier."

Union County's unemployment rate in October was 4.8%.  The statewide rate was 6.2%.

Patriot emerged from bankruptcy reorganization a year ago and had earlier closed its mines in Henderson County.  In a news release, the company said low natural gas prices and tougher EPA regulations continue to drive down coal prices, resulting in operating losses at many mines.

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3:39 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Paul Asks Congress to Declare War on ISIS

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 2:41 pm

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul introduced a resolution Wednesday in the U.S. Senate declaring war against the Islamic State. 

Paul said he believes the president should have come to Congress before authorizing military action against the terrorist group.

"Our founding fathers wanted to make it difficult to go to war," explained Paul.  "They wanted to have the authority of Congress, you had to have some consensus from the public at large before going to war, and they didn't give the power unilaterally to the president.  The president for the last four or five months has been acting illegally and unconstitutionally."

The U.S. began air strikes in Iraq and Syria a few months ago.  Senator Paul argues the current war must be made valid or be ended. 

The Bowling Green Republican says he does support a military campaign against ISIS, claiming the American embassy and consulate are threatened.

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10:51 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Crit Luallen Ponders Political Future

A mainstay in Kentucky state government is keeping an open mind about her political future.

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3:34 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Still Mum on Presidential Run, Rand Paul Announces U.S. Senate Re-election Bid

With no fanfare, Rand Paul announced Tuesday he’s running for a second term in the U.S. Senate in 2016.

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10:06 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Kentucky Seeking Hemp Growers for 2015

WKU Assistant Gardener Jenny Comer assists agriculture student Corinn Sprigler with cutting down hemp plants on the WKU farm.

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:25 pm

The application window is now open for Kentucky farmers and processors who want to grow hemp for research in 2015. 

Several Kentucky universities, including WKU, grew hemp this year for the first time in decades.  The application deadline for the next round  is January 1.

The first round of pilot projects yielded a lot of data about production methods, seed varieties, and processing techniques. 

"This past year we were as far west as Murray and as far east as Bath County.  We'd like to see that continuation or even expansion on either end," said Adam Watson, Industrial Hemp Program Coordinator in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.  "Definitely, we have different growing environments in Kentucky."

Applications are available on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website at  Applicants who are selected will undergo background checks and site visits.

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