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LAWMAKER TRIAL

Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud to get trial date

CINCINNATI (AP) - A trial date is expected to be set for a southwestern Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud and theft for allegedly misleading investors about a company's financial status and using their money for personal gain.

A judge is expected to set the new date today for 61-year-old Republican state Rep. Pete Beck in Cincinnati. Beck has denied the allegations and brushed away calls to resign.

Beck initially faced 16 counts, including theft, securities fraud, making misrepresentations and selling securities in an insolvent company without full disclosure. He later was indicted on more than 50 other counts, including allegations that he lied to securities investigators.

The trial was rescheduled from this month after prosecutors indicated they intended to merge the charges.

Another defendant also requested more time.

SLAVE LABOR-CHARGES

Sentencing set for Ohio woman in forced-labor case

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio woman accused of using ice cream to lure a mentally disabled woman and her child to captivity in a forced-labor case is scheduled to be sentenced.

Dezerah Silsby (dez-eh-RAH' SIHLS'-bee) pleaded guilty in federal court last year to four counts of an indictment charging her with threatening the victim, beating her and making her do housework. Authorities say the ordeal lasted from early 2011 to late 2012.

Federal judge Benita Pearson is scheduled to sentence Silsby on Thursday in Youngstown.

A jury found two other defendants guilty at a trial last month, and a fourth who pleaded guilty was sentenced to five years in prison.

Silsby testified that she was threatened by the others and feared having her own child taken away.

JOGGER SLAIN

Ohio teen will get life in stabbing of jogger

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A 16-year-old boy who was living in a group foster home when he was accused of fatally stabbing a jogger in a central Ohio park last year will be sentenced to life in prison as part of a plea agreement.

A prosecutor in Franklin County Juvenile Court announced the agreement on Wednesday that will transfer the teen's case to adult court. He will be indicted by a grand jury, and his formal guilty plea could come as early as next week.

The boy won't be eligible for parole for 18 years.

The prosecutor said the teen will admit to killing 55-year-old Jane Juergens in a Westerville park and tampering with evidence by tossing his knife into a wooded area. Stewart lived in a group home near the park.

FATAL TRACTOR CRASH

Girl, 14, killed in western Ohio tractor crash

COVINGTON, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say a 14-year-old girl was killed and four members of her family injured when an agricultural tractor they were riding on went out of control and flipped in a western Ohio village.

The Miami County Sheriff's Office identified the girl killed in the Wednesday afternoon crash in Covington as Michelle Burns.

The Dayton Daily News reports the tractor was pulling a trailer filled with animal feed and some hand tools when the driver, Michelle's 43-year-old mother Tammy Burns, apparently lost control on a down incline.

Also injured were 20-year-old Lisa Warner and her children, 18-month-old Darrin Warner and 1-month-old Kelly Warner. Lisa Warner is Tammy Burns' daughter.

Darrin Warner was in serious condition, and Kelly Warner was in fair condition. The conditions of the others weren't available.

HOUSE FIRE-RESCUE

Ohio woman lauded for saving neighbors from fire

EUCLID, Ohio (AP) - A suburban Cleveland fire department has taken to social media to credit a woman with saving two disabled neighbors from a fire in their apartment.

The Euclid Fire Department said in a Facebook posting Wednesday that the woman neighbor managed to get the residents out after a grease fire broke out in their apartment. WKYC-TV reports that one of the residents was in a wheelchair and the other was an elderly woman on oxygen.

The woman, who wasn't named, lived upstairs. Firefighters said she evacuated the residents from the smoke-filled apartment before they arrived.

The fire department's Facebook post lauded the woman "for her quick reaction and response....This neighbor selflessly risked her life to save her neighbors. We would like to thank her for the bravery she exhibited tonight."

FATHER-CEMETERY DISPUTE

Ohio dad at odds with cemetery over memorial

KENT, Ohio (AP) - A northeast Ohio man is locked in a legal battle over an elaborate shrine he erected in a cemetery at the grave of his adult son.

The city of Kent, which operates Standing Rock Cemetery, has taken issue specifically with two large picture posters of Molai's son that hang on poles more than 8 feet high. The cemetery says they were put up without permission, and people have complained.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports Molai sued the cemetery and Portage County to try to keep the photos up. A judge recently referred the case to the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Committee.

Molai's son Adam was a U.S. Navy petty officer when he died in a rafting accident nearly three years ago.

The Kent city law director declined to comment.

AKRON-DOWNTOWN ARENA

New arena planned for downtown Akron

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A new 8,500-seat arena is being planned for downtown Akron.

The venue would be the new home of University of Akron basketball teams and also host other events.

Now officials will have to convince county voters to approve a 0.25-percent sales tax increase to help pay for the $76 million arena and other county expenses. That issue will go on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The arena will be a joint venture involving the city, Summit County and the University of Akron. University trustees approved an initial agreement for the project during a meeting this week.

The university would continue using the current 5,300-seat arena on campus, with plans for updates.

Basketball coach Keith Dambrot says newer facilities will help in recruitment.

BEE SHORTAGE-OHIO

Ohio winter takes toll on honeybees

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - State agriculture officials say Ohio beekeepers lost 50 to 80 percent of their honeybees over the harsh winter, threatening the farming industry.

Honeybees have also faced increasing numbers of diseases, pests and pesticides that have thinned colonies in recent years, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Ohio farmers rely on bees to pollinate more than 70 crops, including apples, strawberries and pumpkins. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that honeybees pollinate more than $14 billion in crops nationwide each year.

An expert at Ohio State University says "a combination of insecticides, mites and diseases" is taking a toll on the state's bee population.

Last year, Ohio had 4,390 registered beekeepers who tended an estimated 37,000 colonies at 7,199 apiaries. Since 2008, the number of beekeepers has increased by 27 percent.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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