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This Hour: Latest Ohio news, sports, business and entertainment

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PLANE CRASH

Ohio plane crash victim was company CEO

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio say one of the two people killed in a weekend plane crash was the CEO of an Ohio manufacturing company.

Hancock County deputies say Ralf Bronnenmeier, CEO of Grob Systems in Bluffton, was piloting the single-engine Lancair IV-P plane that crashed early Sunday morning into a ditch along a county road just northeast of the city of Findlay. The name of the female passenger hasn't been released yet.

Authorities say the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have launched investigations.

Media reports said plane was traveling from Holland, Michigan, to Bluffton, which is near Findlay.

SEVERE WEATHER-OHIO

Severe storm causes headaches in NE Ohio

CLEVELAND (AP) - Authorities say storms that moved through northeast Ohio knocked out power to thousands of customers and caused some flash flooding that could slow the morning commute.

Some roads, including a section of Interstate 90, were blocked by flash floods after the storm rolled through Sunday night. Flooding also was reported on I-271 near U.S. 422.

Flash flood watches are in effect until 4 p.m. Monday for Ashtabula, Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh), Geauga (jee-'AW-guh), Lake and Trumbull counties.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that RTA commuter trains were delayed after a retaining wall collapsed near the East 93rd Street bridge, sending debris onto the tracks.

Hundreds of northeast Ohio customers were still without power before dawn Monday.

CATARACT FALLS DEATH

Ohio man dies in fall from western Indiana cliff

CLOVERDALE, Ind. (AP) - State conservation officers say an Ohio man died after he apparently fell from a cliff at western Indiana's Cataract Falls State Recreation Area.

Officers report 67-year-old Paul Dominic DiBlasis of Galloway, Ohio, was visiting the falls with his girlfriend Sunday afternoon when witnesses say he stumbled and fell over a cliff near the falls.

Conservation officers are still investigating DiBlasis' death, but they say he fell about 26 feet and landed partially in the water at the recreation area about 45 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

DiBlasis was removed from the water and aided by other park visitors until medical units responded, but he died from his injuries.

LAWMAKER-FRAUD TRIAL

Pretrial hearing set for indicted Ohio legislator

CINCINNATI (AP) - A southwest Ohio lawmaker accused of misleading investors about a company's financial status and using their money for personal gain has a pretrial hearing.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge John Andrew West scheduled a hearing Monday in the case, with state Rep. Pete Beck scheduled for trial in November.

Beck is charged with felony counts that include theft and securities fraud.

A former business partner has agreed to testify against Beck as part of a plea agreement.

The 61-year-old accountant from the northern Cincinnati suburb of Mason has denied the allegations through his attorneys. Beck lost his chances for re-election after being defeated in in this year's Republican primary, but he has rejected calls for his resignation.

OHIO STATE-NEW ER

Ohio State U hospital to open new emergency room

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State University will soon open a new emergency department aimed at reducing wait times and eliminating use of hallway beds.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that emergency department stays for those admitted to Wexner Medical Center have been averaging just over six hours, one of the longest waiting times in the state.

The department has more beds, and there are procedural and other changes that medical officials say should reduce length of stay for patients.

With its opening next Sunday, the university will have 70 emergency department beds, up from 50 or so now. Renovations in the old emergency department will push the total past 100 beds next year.

The new department is named for Ohio-based clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, which donated more than $10 million.

OHIO CORN-PRICES

Bumper crop of Ohio corn drives down prices

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's bumper crop of corn this year means lower prices for shoppers.

The high corn yields from this year and last year are forcing a drop in prices not seen in the past five years.

John Miyares, a statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service's Great Lakes Regional Field Office, tells The Dayton Daily News that per-bushel corn prices have dropped 38 percent since last July.

The $4.37-per-bushel price last week was the lowest in five years.

Nationally, corn has the potential to reach 2003's record of nearly 14 billion bushels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its mid-year report.

Miyares says prices of other crops have fallen sharply as well, with soybeans trading at near 2½-year lows and wheat at near four-year lows.

GAS PRICES-OHIO

Ohio gas prices down to start work week

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio motorists will find lower gas prices to start the work week.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.37 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's 12 cents less than a week ago - and 29 cents lower than a month ago in Ohio.

Monday's national average was $3.52, which is a nickel lower than a week ago, and 16 cents lower a month ago.

Analysts say U.S. refiners, enjoying plentiful supplies, have aggressively cut wholesale prices to chase sales.

The lowest average in the state was $3.22 in Toledo. The highest was $3.41 in Akron.

ASLEEP IN CAR

2 Ohio men found asleep in car with loaded weapons

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Two men are due in court after authorities say they were found asleep in a car at intersection with three loaded weapons in northeast Ohio.

Youngstown police found the men stopped at an intersection Sunday morning, with the driver and a front-seat passenger asleep. A report said the driver had a gun between his legs, while the passenger had a gun in a holster to the right-side of his body.

Officers also found a sawed-off shotgun on the floorboard of the vehicle. All the weapons were loaded.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator reports the driver, 41-year-old Derrick Taylor, and 57-year-old passenger Myron Washington are facing multiple charges including improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.

They were in jail and due in court Monday. No attorneys were listed for them.

EDDIE RICKENBACKER'S HOUSE

Eddie Rickenbacker's childhood home neglected

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The childhood home of World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in central Ohio could use some help.

The house just east of downtown Columbus continues to be neglected despite a plan years ago to restore it and build a museum and community center that could help revitalize the community.

The city bought the property in 1998 and the state, county and private donors chipped in. But so far only the exterior of the house has been renovated, with the inside gutted and sealed from the weather.

A Franklin County commissioner - who was a member of the board formed in the early 2000s to oversee the project - tells The Columbus Dispatch that there wasn't enough money to continue.

The house has been designated a national historic landmark.

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