Associated Press

State health officials are pointing to more progress in efforts to reduce Kentucky's youth smoking rate.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services says the latest smoking rate among Kentucky high school students is 16.9 percent, down from 26.2 percent a decade ago. That's according to the 2015 Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Youth smoking rates in Kentucky remain higher than the national average. Officials say the nationwide rate was 10.8 percent in 2015.

Officials from the Kentucky Department for Public Health attribute the state's decade-long decline, in part, to tobacco-free school policies, which encourage districts to create environments where tobacco and alternative nicotine products are prohibited.

The Islamic Center of Nashville is suing the state in federal court after it says it was denied a tax exemption.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, argues the center's religious tax exemption for its Nashville International Academy school was denied because of a banking deal that allowed the center to follow its religious beliefs. The center was billed more than $87,000 in past-due taxes as a result.

The Islamic center first appealed the denial to an administrative law judge and the Assessment Appeals Commission. In May, the commission said a transfer of title — which was a part of the banking agreement — disqualified the center from exemption. It also sympathized with the mosque and suggested they take legislative action.

A state spokesman said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.

Ryland Barton

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky says lawyers for the couples who sued to be issued marriage licenses in Rowan County are seeking to recover more than $233,000 in legal fees and costs.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued in 2015 after Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples could marry.

Davis was jailed for several days after refusing to comply with a court order to stop denying qualified applicants a marriage license. Her deputy clerks issued licenses while she was incarcerated.

The state eventually changed marriage license forms so that clerks' names did not have to appear, and the case was later dismissed.

City of Owensboro, KY

Kentucky State Police are continuing their investigating into the shooting death of a knife-wielding man by two officers in Owensboro.

State police say 29-year-old Lucas Anderson died from gunshot wounds in the incident Friday night.

Police say Owensboro Police Department officers responded to a domestic argument call. Police say the officers saw Anderson grab a woman's hair and put a knife to her throat.

WFPL News

A federal agency says it needs more time to complete an environmental review of a proposal to convert a natural gas pipeline to one that would carry natural gas liquids.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says it now plans to complete the review by Nov. 2. The agency had originally planned to finish the review in September.

The proposal has caused concerns in some communities about safety and the Danville City Commission passed a resolution opposing the conversion.

Kinder Morgan has said the company would examine the pipeline closely, upgrade any areas in need and thoroughly test it before returning it to service.

The existing pipeline runs through 18 counties, from Greenup in the northeast to Simpson County in south-central Kentucky.

Wikimedia Commons

The state says a 73-year-old Louisville man has died of West Nile virus.

Health and Family Services Cabinet spokeswoman Beth Fisher says it is Kentucky's first death from the virus reported this year.

The state Health Department says Jefferson County typically reports a few cases of the virus each year, mostly during late summer and early fall.

The Clark County Health Department in southern Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, identified two samples of mosquitoes infected with the virus this week in Charlestown and Jeffersonville.

The cabinet advises wearing bug repellent and protective clothing outdoors and staying indoors at dawn, dusk and early evening when mosquitoes are most active.

The cabinet's website says symptoms of West Nile may include a slight fever or headache, possibly with skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked Kentucky Republicans to pray for his party to maintain control amid what he called a "challenging" election cycle this November.

McConnell was one of several speakers at the Republican Party of Kentucky's annual Lincoln Dinner that also included U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Matt Bevin. Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats in November while Democrats are defending 10 seats. McConnell said many of the Republican races are in competitive states that are "in the crosshairs of the presidential" race.

Bevin urged people to elect Republicans to the state House of Representatives, the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats. All 100 seats are up for re-election in November. Bevin said the change is needed for him to sign anti-abortion legislation.

An Alpha Natural Resources spokesman says the company plans to lay off 117 people when it shuts down a Kentucky coal mine in November.

Spokesman Steve Hawkins tells the Lexington Herald-Leader  that the company has issued a required 60-day layoff notice at the Process Energy Mine in Pike County, which is set to be closed on Nov. 7.

Hawkins says dismal market conditions are the reason for the layoffs.

He says the Process Energy mine is Alpha's last active mine in Kentucky. The Bristol, Virginia-based company has 18 mines in West Virginia.

Emil Moffatt

An Ohio River boat festival held in Owensboro for the past five years has been scrapped.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports the Dragon Boat Festival didn't draw enough participants. Owensboro public events director Tim Ross says organizers wanted 15 to 20 teams.

Boats of 20-member crews row along the river in front of English Park. Last year's event drew 13 teams, down from a high of 30 in 2013.

The event had been moved back from August to Sept. 17.

Ross says the festival could be held again in future years.

Mike White threw for 517 yards and three touchdowns in his debut as starting quarterback as Western Kentucky opened the season and Conference USA play with a 46-14 drubbing of Rice.

White, who was 25 for 31 passing, is only the third quarterback to throw for 500 or more yards in Western Kentucky history.

The Hilltoppers had two receivers top 100 yards in receiving as Taywan Taylor caught five passes for 165 yards and Nicholas Norris hauled in seven for 147 yards and two scores.

www.facebook.com/RepEdWhitfield

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield says he will resign from office next week, triggering a special election that will give his successor a head start in Congress.

The Republican congressman notified Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin with a letter on Monday. Whitfield's communications director Robert Hankins confirmed the letter and said his resignation will be effective at 6 p.m. on Sept. 6.

First elected in 1994, Whitfield announced his retirement last year in the midst of a House Ethics Committee investigation. The committee ultimately rebuked Whitfield for violating House rules, but said it was unintentional.

Bevin, also a Republican, will call a special election to fulfill the remainder of Whitfield's term that ends in January. The special election will be Nov. 8, the same day as the general election between Republican James Comer and Democrat Sam Gaskins

Zach McWilliams hit a grand slam in the fourth inning, RJ Moore struck out five in two relief innings and Goodlettsville, Tennessee beat Bowling Green, Kentucky 8-4 on Thursday night for a spot in the U.S. championship game of the Little League Series.

McWilliams' smash over the center-field wall gave Tennessee a 6-4 lead. Moore struck out the side in the fifth and he retired Devin Obee with two on in the sixth for the final out.

Ryan Oden added two RBIs for Tennessee. His one-run double in the second pulled Tennessee to 2-1 and he scored on a wild pitch to tie it. His sacrifice fly to right scored Carson Rucker to make it 7-4 in the fourth.

Kentucky had runners on the corners with two outs in the bottom of the fourth but Tennessee catcher Tanner Jones threw out Obee trying to steal second.

Tennessee plays Endwell, New York on Saturday.

Jude Abbadessa was 5 for 5 with six RBIs to lead Endwell, New York past Bowling Green 13-10 on Wednesday night for a place in the U.S. championship game of the Little League World Series.

Abbadessa hit a two-run homer to center field to give New York a 4-3 lead in the second inning. Conner Rush walked with two outs, got to second and third on wild pitches, and scored on Jack Hopko's single for a 5-3 lead.

New York put runners on first and third with two outs in the third to chase Kentucky starter Devin Obee. On the second pitch from the reliever, Abbadessa had a RBI double to left field for a 6-4 lead and scored on Rush's bases-loaded, two-run single.

Abbadessa sent a two-out, two-run double down the left-field line in the fourth to give New York a 10-8 lead.

Spencer Newman was 4 for 5 with four RBIs and Bowling Green, Kentucky scored 11 runs in the seventh inning for a 14-4 victory over Johnston, Iowa on Monday night in the Little League World Series.

Kentucky had the bases loaded in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

With the bases full in the seventh, Patrick Forbes and Devin Obee were both walked and Tate Hanks crossed home plate on a wild pitch for a 6-3 lead. Newman drilled a two-run double and Turner Nottmeier hit a RBI double to right to make it 9-3.

Iowa loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh but was held to one run on Josh Larson's RBI single. Iowa starter Kaiden Dinh left with an apparent injury to his throwing arm in the top of the third.

Kentucky will play New York on Wednesday night. Iowa faces Rhode Island in an elimination game on Tuesday.

Kentucky State Fair

State officials are raising awareness about the Zika virus at this year's Kentucky State Fair.

Officials from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Department of Public Health and the state agriculture department are holding an informational event for the media on Thursday at the fair.

Their goal is promote awareness about the Zika virus. The officials involved include Dr. Ardis Hoven with the Department for Public Health and ag commissioner Ryan Quarles.

The informational session will be at the Health Horizons Area, South Wing B of the Kentucky Exposition Center.

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