Associated Press

Federal prosecutors say a Kentucky-based pharmacy has agreed to pay $9.25 million to settle allegations that it solicited and received kickbacks from a manufacturer in exchange for promoting a drug with nursing home patients.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday the settlement with Louisville-based PharMerica Corp. resolves claims that it received kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories in exchange for recommending that physicians prescribe the Abbott-manufactured drug Depakote.

The settlement partially resolves allegations in two whistleblower lawsuits filed in federal court in the western district of Virginia.

In 2012, Abbott pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.5 billion over allegations that it promoted Depakote for patients with dementia and autism — uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug was approved for bipolar disorder and epilepsy.

Nine semifinalists for the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award have been named.

The Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. made the announcement Monday.

Elementary school semifinalists are Joshua DeWar of Engelhard Elementary in Jefferson County, Sarah Lockard of A.C. Glasscock Elementary in Marion County and Michele McCloughan of Bowling Green Independent's T.C. Cherry Elementary.

Middle school semifinalists are Karen Mallonee of College View Middle in Daviess County, Rick Rafferty of Fort Thomas Independent's Highlands Middle and Carmen Thompson of Elkhorn Middle in Franklin County.

High school semifinalists are Lee E. Campbell of Knox County Central, Ashley Lamb-Sinclair of North Oldham County and Tracy Lambert of Lexington Lafayette.

International Bluegrass Music Museum

Owensboro Community & Technical College and Brescia University are planning to join forces to offer degrees in bluegrass music.

The college is working to create an associate degree program that officials hope to have up and running by spring 2017.

The idea is that students could study two years at the college and then transfer to Brescia to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree in bluegrass.

The schools hope to take advantage of the resources at the International Bluegrass Music Center, a $15.4 million project also slated to open in 2017. The center will be the new home of the International Bluegrass Music Museum and also include a concert hall, restaurant, teaching rooms and a library.

Versailles might be the next central Kentucky city to consider an ordinance prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity

The Versailles City Council on Tuesday will hear from a member of the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission who will encourage the city to adopt the ordinance.

Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott says he will ask the city's administrative and legal committee, chaired by council member Carl Ellis, to draft the ordinance.

On June 1, Midway became the eighth city in the state to adopt an anti-bias ordinance. Other cities that have passed similar laws are Lexington, Louisville, Covington, Danville, Frankfort, Morehead and Vicco in Perry County.

The Vatican says Pope Francis' meeting with Kim Davis "should not be considered a form of support of her position."

After days of confusion, the Vatican issued a statement Friday clarifying Francis' Sept. 24 meeting with Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who has become a focal point in the gay marriage debate in the U.S. because of her refusal to sign marriage licenses for gay couples.

The Vatican said Francis met with many people during his U.S. stay, due to his "kindness and availability."

The statement said: "The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects."

UPDATE: 7:35 a.m.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's lawyers are using the words "absurd," ''forlorn" and "obtuse" to describe the legal arguments a county clerk has used to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis filed a lawsuit against the governor, alleging he violated her religious freedom by asking clerks to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that effectively legalized gay marriage across the nation. Beshear reiterated a request Tuesday that a judge toss the suit.

Davis spent five days in jail for defying a series of federal court orders to issue the licenses.

She has blamed Beshear for her legal woes, alleging that he "commandeered" her office when he instructed clerks to follow the court's decision.

Beshear's lawyer, Palmer G. Vance, described Davis' continued legal battle as a "meritless assault on the rule of law."

Kentucky leads the nation in political spending on TV ads as it hosts the most competitive governor's race in the country.

Politicians and outside groups have spent $9.8 million on TV ads in Kentucky since Jan. 1, 2014, according to an analysis of ad spending by the Center for Public Integrity. The data includes spending through Monday and doesn't include money to produce the ads or money spent on radio, online, direct mail or TV ads that aired on local cable systems.

Hal Heiner is the top spender with an estimated $2.3 million. Heiner finished third in May's Republican primary after running a mostly self-funded campaign. Democrat Jack Conway is second with about $1.7 million, and Republican nominee Matt Bevin is third with $1.1 million.

The Center for Public Integrity estimates outside groups have spent $3.2 million on the race so far, but the actual number is likely higher.

Kentucky's Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he'll run for Congress to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield.

Whitfield announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election after spending 20 years representing Kentucky's 1st Congressional District in Washington. The heavily Republican district consists of 35 counties in western Kentucky that includes Comer's hometown.

Comer lost the Republican nomination for governor by just 83 votes in May. But he won the 35 counties in the 1st District with 55 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.

Other Republicans who've shown interest in the seat include Michael Pape, who was Whitfield's district director, and Hickman County Attorney Jason Batts. A spokesman for the Kentucky Democratic Party said party officials are focused on electing Jack Conway for governor in November.

The Morehead News

The Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples says Pope Francis told her to stay strong when the two met briefly during his visit to the United States last week.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn't deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome he had no comment on it.

In an interview with ABC, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis says they hugged during the meeting last Thursday and the pope thanked her for her courage.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail earlier this month for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In the ABC interview, which aired Wednesday morning, Davis said knowing the pope agreed with her validates her efforts.

Kentucky State Police say a 5-year-old boy has been fatally struck by a school bus in Butler County.

State police spokesman B.J. Eaton said that police were called around 3:20 p.m. CDT Monday to the scene on Kentucky 70 about four miles west of Morgantown.

Eaton says the child was hit at his scheduled stop after the Butler County school bus stopped in front of a residence to let children exit.

Butler County Coroner Marty Jones says the child was pronounced dead about 15 minutes later. The boy was identified as five year old Jayden Hawkins of Morgantown.

A statement from Butler County schools said the driver of the school bus has been employed by the school system for 18 years and has "an exemplary driving record with the district."