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. 

A former swim team member at WKU has filed a federal lawsuit against the school.

The suit was filed by Collin Craig whose allegations of hazing and underage alcohol consumption resulted in a five-year suspension of WKU’s swimming program. 

The suit names WKU, former head swimming coach Bruce Marchionda, and an associate head coach.  Athletic director Todd Stewart is also a defendant along with two associate athletic directors and three former teammates. 

The 21-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court claims Craig suffered verbal, physical, and emotional abuse.  The suit alleges the coach and others knew of the abuse and didn’t take action. 

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.  The university said Thursday it had not yet seen the lawsuit.

The field is growing among Republicans interested in Kentucky’s 1st District Congressional seat. Ed Whitfield announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year.

By Paul Goyette from Chicago, USA (bird's eye) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  Kentucky loses one baby every five days to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. The state is launching a public awareness campaign to educate the public about the risks infants face when sleeping. Kentucky Department of Public Health mortality nurse Louan Cottrell says after premature births and birth defects, SIDS is the leading cause of infant deaths

Funtown / Facebook

The future of an amusement park in south central Kentucky looks grim as the owner faces legal troubles.  Officials have closed Funtown Mountain just off I-65 in Cave City because of safety violations.

Author: Toni Lozano, via Wikimedia Commons

  Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he will introduce a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling when the General Assembly convenes next year. 

Outgoing Governor Steve Beshear has pushed casinos as a way to generate revenue throughout his two terms in office. 

Efforts are underway to make Elizabethtown the ninth Kentucky city with a fairness ordinance.

The city council will hear a presentation later this month from the Fairness Campaign. Director Chris Hartman says a similar effort failed three years ago, but he’s still optimistic.

"Often times it is a tough road to convince elected officials to pick up what they imagine is a controversial issue," Hartman said.  "It's a different city council than the one in place in 2012 so we expect the response might be different now."

The ordinance would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accomodations based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Midway became the most recent city to approve a fairness ordinance in June.

An eastern Kentucky man has been sentenced to life in prison for the overdose death of a woman. 

It's the first time in Kentucky that a life sentence was imposed in an overdose death involving prescription drugs. 

Fifty-five-year-old Terry Smith, of Manchester, was accused of giving oxycodone pills to Patty Smallwood in 2011.  She went to sleep and never woke up.  A toxicology report following her death showed four times the therapeutic level of the painkiller in her system. 

U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said the sentence should send a message to prescription drug dealers.

"They are not only putting the lives of their customers or victims at risk, but they're putting their own freedom at risk," Harvey told WKU Public Radio.

Smith ran a large-scale drug trafficking ring in eastern Kentucky.  He would recruit addicts to travel to out-of-state pill mills to obtain prescriptions painkillers.  The individual then gave the pills to Smith, who kept a portion for himself and divided the rest among the people who made the trip.

Because of Smith's criminal history, he received a mandatory life sentence under federal law.

The mayor of Bowling Green says he is going to look at the hiring practices of every department in the city.  The decision follows notification of a Department of Justice investigation into the police department. 

Mayor Bruce Wilkerson will meet with a federal investigator in August, and by then, he hopes to have in place in place to examine every city department.  While the probe will be across the board, he says the city will not lower its standards to hire more minorities.

"We're going to aggressively recruit in those areas, but we will look for people who, in the motto of the police department, 'We hire for character but we train for skill,''' Wilkerson told WKU Public Radio.

Mayor Wilkerson says he will also push for hiring an affirmative action employee for the city who will actively recruit minorities. 

The changes come as the Department of Justice looks into whether the city discriminates against African Americans with respect to employment opportunities in the police department. 

According to the DOJ, the city should have more black officers based on its population.

In the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, some county judge-executives in Kentucky have stopped presiding over marriages altogether rather than perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. 

John Settles, president of the Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association, estimates about half of the state’s county leaders have turned away same-sex couples while the other half have not.

"One in particular said we all have sinned, even heterosexuals," Settles commented to WKU Public Radio.  "He figures that everyone he marries is a sinner anyway, and he can't discriminate between the sins."

As judge-executive of Washington County, Settles has performed about 350 marriages in his 16 years in office, but since the Supreme Court ruling, he has stopped the practice due to his religious beliefs. 

"I have a strong belief in the Bible as the word of God and I believe the Bible states that marriage is to be between one man and one woman," Settles states.  "It's my firm belief that that's the way it was intended to be from the very beginning."

While county clerks are bound by state law to issue marriage licenses, judge-executives are not required to perform marriage ceremonies.

Work crews are prepping the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green for reopening in July. 

Construction began last November in an area where eight prized cars fell into a massive sinkhole in February 2014. 

The hole was filled with crushed limestone and flooring supports were added underneath to prevent future collapses.

"If there were ever a future collapse of any kind, the floor is not going to go anywhere, it will stay in place," says NCM Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli.  "After that, they've been installing guardrail around the perimeter of room, cleaning, and painting."

The $5 million project converted the Skydome from two levels to one and added more display space. 

Once complete, all eight Corvettes will return to the Skydome.  Three of the cars were restored by General Motors.  The other five were too mangled for restoration.

A new sinkhole exhibit will open in the fall.