Officials issue health warning urging those who vape to stop

LOUISVILLE — Officials in Kentucky's largest city have issued a public health warning that urges people who use vaping products to stop in the face of a national outbreak of severe lung injuries.

A statement from the Louisville health department says there are 805 cases of lung illness in 46 states and one territory. Kentucky has 20 cases under investigation.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says city officials are "deeply concerned" about the public health trends, which include a rise in teen vaping.

Department of Public Health and Wellness Director Sarah Moyer says "vaping is not safe" whether it is electronic cigarettes or other products.

Former Kentucky House speaker won't run for reelection

FRANKFORT — Kentucky's former House speaker says he won't run for reelection in 2020, ending a long legislative career tarnished by his involvement in a secret sexual harassment settlement.

Republican Rep. Jeff Hoover says it's the right time for him to step aside from the legislature and focus on his law practice and business interests.

Hoover stepped down as House speaker in early 2018 after acknowledging he settled sexual harassment claims with a woman who served as a Republican staffer. Hoover denied harassing the staff member but said he sent inappropriate text messages that he said were consensual.

His statement this week acknowledges that he made mistakes but has "learned and grown from them."

Hoover became the first Republican speaker of Kentucky's House in nearly 100 years in 2017.

Bevin proposes veteran tax benefit in campaign stop

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says the state should not be taxing the retirement income of its military veterans.

The governor says the proposal will be part of a broader bill that he'll push to revamp Kentucky's overall tax system if he wins re-election.

Bevin made the comments Tuesday at a Louisville-area park, where he received support from a coalition of military veterans. Bevin is in a close race with Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear in next month's election.

Bevin, a former Army officer, says removing state taxes on veterans' retirement income would cost the state a "modest" amount of revenue that's not comparable to the sacrifice veterans made.

Bevin didn't offer any other details about his tax plan.

Sinkhole at Kentucky zoo starts to resemble money pit

LOUISVILLE — A Kentucky zoo has spent thousands on a sinkhole about as wide as a football field, but still hasn't settled on a long-term plan for the problem.

Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak tells the Courier Journal the zoo is weighing how to best handle the sinkhole, which opened in March in an undeveloped zoo section. Walczak says the zoo has spent about $125,000 on the sinkhole, which now sits about 60 yards (54.8 meters) wide, 90 yards (82.2 meters) long and 50 feet (15.2 meters) deep.

Costs have included fencing, engineering, surveys and other responses. The sinkhole closed the zoo for 10 days and cost it thousands in revenue since then by shutting down a train ride. Walczak says it may cost $500,000 to move the popular ride.

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