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Akron-based FirstMerit Bank to merge with Huntington
Top headlines: Former Brimfield police chief convicted of theft and assault; Cleveland City Council president proposes limits on the city’s campaign contributions; Ford announces plans to add capacity to Avon Lake plant
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
and MICHAEL BRATTON


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
FirstMerit was founded in 1845. The new merger will make Huntington the largest bank in Ohio, ahead of Cleveland-based Key Bank.
Courtesy of FirstMerit Bank
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In The Region:
Morning headlines for Tuesday, January 26, 2016:

  • Akron-based FirstMerit Bank to merge with Huntington
  • Former Brimfield Township police chief convicted of attempted theft and simple assault
  • Cleveland City Council president proposes limits on the city’s campaign contributions
  • Ford announces plans to add capacity to Avon Lake assembly plant
  • Gov. Kasich to hold additional town hall meetings in New Hampshire after endorsement from Boston Globe
  • Strickland touts plans on labor, education and the economy in Ohio
  • More than 200 people fell victim to human trafficking in 2015, says Ohio Attorney General
  • ODOT to install fencing along bridges and overpasses after 2014 incident that injured a Stark County teacher
  • Akron-based FirstMerit Bank to merge with Huntington
    In a deal valued at $3.4 billion, Huntington Bank is buying Akron-based FirstMerit. FirstMerit employs about 2,000 people at its Akron headquarters, and 4,000 overall and has been growing as a Midwest regional bank for the last decade as it was picked by the feds to take over a number of failing banks during the recession.

    Columbus-based Huntington has more than 12,000 employees and is one of the largest small-business lenders in the country. The merger will catapult it to a national presence, with a hundred billion dollars in assets -- larger than Cleveland-based KeyBank. It is unclear how many people will lose their jobs and what will happen to FirstMerit's downtown headquarters.

    Huntington CEO Steve Steinour tells the Akron Beacon Journal that the merged bank will be called Huntington and pledges that it will be “a good corporate citizen in Akron.” Steinour, however, maintains the bank will keep a significant presence downtown Akron and employees who are laid off will get severance packages.

    The combined banks will be the largest in Ohio in terms of deposits. Details are to be announced today.

    Former Brimfield Township police chief convicted of attempted theft and simple assault
    A former Northeast Ohio police chief known for ridiculing criminals as "mopes" has been convicted of four misdemeanors, including attempted theft in office and simple assault involving a female officer who accused him of sexual harassment.

    A defense attorney says former Brimfield Township chief David Oliver pleaded no contest yesterday to get his family closure. Oliver abruptly quit after allegations arose about his abuse of the officer, who is suing him and the township.

    In sentencing him to probations and revoking his license to be a police officer, the judge told Oliver, “You’ve become the mopes you wrote about.” Though he didn’t contest the charges in court, Oliver says he’s done nothing wrong and plans to sell his side on Facebook.

    Cleveland City Council president proposes limits on the city’s campaign contributions
    Cleveland City Council’s president is proposing a boost in limits on the city’s campaign contributions. According to Cleveland.com, Kevin Kelly says that would help challengers take on well-funded incumbents. The new limits included in an ordinance introduced last night would limit individual and PAC contributions to mayoral candidates to $10,000 each year. That’s 10 times what individuals can contribute now, and five times the limit for PACS. The old limits were established in 1994. The limits for council candidates for be $1,500 from individuals and $3,000 from PACS. Candidates could not get money from city employees or large corporations.

    Ford announces plans to add capacity to Avon Lake assembly plant
    Ford plans to add capacity to its Avon Lake Assembly plant to build its news Super Duty chassis cab. The Super Duty has been made in Louisville, Ky. Ford says it doesn’t know yet how many of the cabs will be made in Avon because that will depend on demand. The plant employs about 1,400 people to make F-650 and F-750 trucks, as well as vans and chassis. The new work will expand that to the F-350, F-450 and F-550. The new model Super Duty is expected to go on sale later this year. Ford is investing invest $1.3 billion and adding 2,000 in Kentucky, including a new body shop.

    Gov. Kasich to hold additional town hall meetings in New Hampshire after endorsement from Boston Globe
    Ohio Gov. and presidential hopeful John Kasich is holding more town halls in New Hampshire today and touting his endorsement from the Boston Globe. The Globe endorsement praises Kasich’s experience as a congressman and governor and says a vote for him would be “dealing a blow to the divisive, demagogic candidates running on nativism and other political simplicities.” Including three today, Kasich has held 27 town halls in the Granite state since the first of the year, and he’s polling a distant second to Donald Trump there. 

    Strickland touts plans on labor, education and the economy in Ohio
    Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland is making the case that his positions on labor, education and economic issues differ starkly with Republican incumbent Rob Portman's and are a better fit for average Ohioans. The former governor spoke yesterday to the Akron Press Club. Republicans in the closely watched race lobbed back, questioning Strickland's economic record as governor.

    More than 200 people fell victim to human trafficking in 2015, says Ohio Attorney General
    A report by the state Attorney General's Office says investigators identified more than 200 victims of human trafficking last year. According to the report, law enforcement agencies conducted more than 100 human trafficking investigations leading to more than 100 arrests and 33 convictions.

    ODOT to install fencing along bridges and overpasses after 2014 incident that injured a Stark County teacher
    Ohio plans to put up fencing on more than 100 more bridges and overpasses. The effort began after teenagers in Pennsylvania threw a rock off a bridge that struck a car and severely injured a Stark County teacher in 2014. Teacher Sharon Budd’s husband, Randy, triggered the change with help from Ohio Sen. Scott Oelslager and the Ohio Department of Transportation. Budd was hospitalized for months after the incident and underwent intense therapy.

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