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

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Slain man had helped Ohioan charged in 4 killings

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Police records show one of four men found slain at their homes in a small Ohio city had sought help two days earlier for the man now charged in the killings.

Billy Jack Chatman told Bucyrus (byoo-SY'-rus) police two days before he was found dead that he had called an ambulance for Donald Hoffman against Hoffman's wishes after the man collapsed on his floor.

Records obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request show Hoffman had entered Chatman's house Aug. 30 bloody and reeking of alcohol, the apparent victim of an assault.

The bodies of Chatman and another man were found Sept. 1. Two other bodies were found the next day.

Hoffman has been indicted on charges including aggravated murder and robbery. His arraignment is scheduled for Monday.


Sex abuse probe of ex-coach in NE Ohio widens

JEFFERSON, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in Ashtabula County say their investigation into alleged sexual abuse by a former high school coach has widened.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator reports that county sheriff's detectives and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation have questioned more than 100 people about the activities going back 15 years of former Jefferson Area Schools coach and ex-local sports editor Don McCormack.

The 51-year-old McCormack resigned his coaching position in June after a complaint of an inappropriate text message sent to a female high-school student. He was charged last month with three counts of gross sexual imposition and one of child abuse, all felonies.

The newspaper reports McCormack waived a preliminary hearing last week and his case has been bound over to a grand jury. A message was left Sunday with his attorney.


Ohio reaches key goal in long-term-care spending

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - State officials say Ohio has met a key benchmark in providing long-term-care services for older and disabled residents.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state exceeded a goal of spending at least 50 percent of its Medicaid long-term-care budget on home- and community-based services.

State Medicaid officials say they reached the mark more than a year ahead of a federal deadline.

The federal government gave Ohio $169 million last year to help keep seniors and those with disabilities in their homes and out of more costly nursing homes. Ohio was awarded the money through the Affordable Care Act's Balancing Incentive Program.

Ohio Medicaid Director John McCarthy tells the newspaper that Ohio will continue pushing to expand home-care services while making nursing-home care available to those who need it.


Mahoning Valley prepares for latest Ohio racino

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Another Ohio racino is set to open this week.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator reports that Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course near Youngstown is on track to open its doors Wednesday.

General manager Mike Galle told the newspaper that northeast Ohioans are eager for another form of entertainment and the 100,000-square-foot facility is ready to oblige with food, live music, simulcast racing and 850 slots-like video lottery terminals.

The $250 million development on Ohio 46 also features a one-mile thoroughbred racetrack.

It's Ohio's seventh racino. State figures have shown the facilities combining gambling and horse racing are on track to make more money than the state's four casinos.


Officials in Ohio flood study to offer basic plan

OTTAWA, Ohio (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says officials studying how to reduce flooding risks and hazards along the Blanchard River in northwest Ohio will present a basic plan to Corps leaders in the coming weeks.

The regional office handling the study says the plan isn't final and probably will be adjusted. It suggests targeted efforts to decrease risks by diverting water, using a levee and taking steps such as raising structures or possibly buying out landowners in high-risk areas.

Addressing flooding along the river is a top concern in areas where five major floods led to millions of dollars in damage since 2007.

The study is slated to be done in 2016. For the outlined plan to be put into action, federal or local funding would have to be allocated.


Fans of 2 Ohio schools vie in weeklong food drive

CINCINNATI (AP) - Fans of two Ohio universities can compete in a weeklong food drive leading up to their schools' football game in Cincinnati next Saturday.

Fans of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and the Miami University RedHawks will compete to see which group can generate the most meals for two area food banks leading up to the Sept. 20 game.

Fans can make cash donations through an online app developed by NomNom Nation LLC. Company co-founder Brent Bielinski says the goal is to raise at least $10,000 that would provide about 30,000 meals. He says food banks can purchase three meals with every dollar donated.

Fans also can donate food items or cash at the game with the winner announced at the event at Paul Brown Stadium.


Air Force museum in Ohio hosting WWI air show

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Snoopy would probably love this.

Others who also imagine what it was like to be a World War I flying ace can get a glimpse of a 100-year-old past at the WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous set for Sept. 27-28 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton.

The event features full-scale and nearly full scale reproductions of triplanes, with pilots landing on the field behind the museum. Visitors can get a close view and try their hands at computer simulators.

The museum says more than 100 radio-controlled model aircraft will take to the skies for demonstrations of WWI dogfights, formation flying and dropping bombs.

Also featured at the free event are a re-enactor encampment, and an above-ground trench for a look at how trench warfare was waged.


Ohio farm maze honors passenger pigeon connection

HEBRON, Ohio (AP) - A central Ohio farm that was once a nesting area for passenger pigeons is honoring that history with a 3-acre corn maze in the shape of the bird, which became extinct 100 years ago.

The display at Pigeon Roost Farm is in the village of Hebron, about 25 miles east of Columbus. Owner Ralph Jutte tells The Advocate in Newark that the farm has always highlighted its heritage as a nesting spot for the pigeons, and the maze fits in with the anniversary. Visitors this fall also can see fancy pigeons on display.

The last known passenger pigeon died in September 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo, after hunting decimated the once-abundant species.


Mystery animal befuddles northwest Ohio town

LEIPSIC, Ohio (AP) - Residents of a small northwest Ohio village are theorizing about what type of animal has been prowling their streets in the last week.

The guesses in Leipsic (LIHP'-sihk), a village of about 2,000 people south of Toledo, are that the animal is a wolf, a large coyote or a wolf mix. The (Findlay) Courier reports that the animal first appeared Sept. 7 and was seen for the next two days.

A woman living at the edge of Leipsic described the animal she saw in her backyard that Sunday as white and gray with a large bushy tail. She says it definitely looked wild and was larger than her golden retriever.

A state wildlife officer also spotted the animal. He said it appeared passive and was probably someone's pet.


Yelp group mourns prolific Ohio online reviewer Paul F.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Columbus-area Yelp users will gather this week in central Ohio to remember a 70-year-old prolific reviewer who in six years shared hundreds of opinions on restaurants, service providers and even underwear shopping.

Paul G. Ferrara was known as Paul F. on the online review community Yelp. He died in August.

The Columbus Dispatch ( ) reports a gathering is planned in his memory Tuesday at his favorite eatery, a Columbus Chinese restaurant where he loved to order spicy wontons.

The Pittsburgh native and former computer programmer wrote 929 reviews. He stood out both for posting so many assessments and for being an early adopter of a forum more commonly used by amateur critics decades younger than he was.

He despised plastic utensils and championed local businesses. His short reviews were to the point. One about a restaurant said: "I went in, took a look around and left."


Federal officials warn of counterfeit sports items

CLEVELAND (AP) - Federal officials are cautioning sports fans to help protect themselves against counterfeit merchandise and tickets as professional football season gets underway.

Officials with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations say counterfeit jerseys, headwear, T-shirts and other souvenirs are among counterfeit merchandise typically sold at and around National Football League games and other large sporting events. An agency statement says many counterfeiters travel the country to scam sports fans.

The agency says fans can help defend themselves against such schemes. They are advised to buy merchandise at established retailers rather than from sources such as street vendors and flea markets and to be wary of unusually low prices.

Officials also urge football fans to look for the NFL hologram as a way of verifying authentic merchandise.

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