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Morning Headlines: Former Akron Police Chief Sues City; FirstEnergy Solutions Sells $140M Contracts

photo of FirstEnergy building
Tim Rudell

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, July 11: 

  • Former Akron police chief sues city for defamation;
  • Third victim dies after violent weekend in Akron;
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown raised $3.7M in recent quarter;
  • Shaker Heights elementary school damaged in fire;
  • FirstEnergy Solutions sells $140M in energy contracts.;
  • Senior housing project in Akron gets $1.6M loan;
  • Ohio judges receive threatening letters with white powder;
  • Ohio Senate approves payday lending overhaul changes;
  • Rep. Jim Renacci supports term limits;
  • Man pleads guilty to cheating farmers out of grain sales;
  • U.S House votes to award medal to Indians Hall of Famer Larry Doby;

Former Akron police chief sues city for defamation

Akron's former police chief who resigned amid misconduct allegations is suing the city. James Nice is seeking unspecified damages for defamation and violation of his right to due process. Nice resigned in 2017 amid allegations including that he used a racial slur. Nice denied that, but later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for misusing a government computer, and received probation. In a statement, the city says Nice chose to resign and the city didn't misrepresent any information or mislead the public. Meanwhile, the Beacon Journal reportsthe Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office is asking that Nice’s guilty plea be vacated and that the case proceed to trial.

Third victim dies after violent weekend in Akron

A third shooting victim has died following one of the most violent weekends in Akron's history. The Beacon Journalreports a 17-year-old died in the hospital yesterday. All of the victims were shot in the head and found in different locations. Police say they have no suspects in the nine separate shootings over the weekend.

Sen. Sherrod Brown raised $3.7M in recent quarter

Incumbent Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is out fundraising his opponent, Republican Congressman Jim Renacci. Brown announced Tuesday he'd raised nearly $3.7 million for his re-election campaign during the second quarter of 2018. This compares to the $2 million Renacci raised during the same time period. Brown now has more than $11 million in cash on hand leading up to the November election. Renacci has not yet announced how much money his campaign currently has, but Cleveland.com reports mathematically, it's $6 million or less. 

Shaker Heights elementary school damaged in fire

A roof at a Shaker Heights elementary school has collapsed in a fire, leading officials to look into alternative options for its more than 300 students ahead of the fall semester. The fire broke out at Fernway Elementary School Tuesday. Fire Chief Patrick Sweeny says workers were doing maintenance on the roof at the time, but it's unclear if their work is connected to the fire.

FirstEnergy Solutions sells $140M in energy contracts

FirstEnergy Solutions has sold $140 million worth of retail electricity and wholesale load serving contracts as it works through bankruptcy protection. The subsidiary of the Akron utility is selling the contracts to Exelon Generation Co., which was the winner among 19 interested businesses. FirstEnergy Solutions filed for bankruptcy in March and announced plans to shut down its nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Akron senior housing project gets $1.6M  loan

A senior housing project in Akron's Middlebury neighborhood is getting a boost from The Akron Community Revitalization Fund. The $1.6 million loan will be used to build senior apartments on the upper floors of the Middlebury Commons, and retail space on the ground floor.

Ohio judges receive threatening letters with white powder

Judges across the state have received threatening letters containing white powder. One of the letters was addressed to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Margaret Russo. The letter included death threats and claims that it contained fentanyl. No charges have been filed, but authorities say the letter was signed by a man sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2012 for robberies. They say he later pleaded guilty to threatening a judge.

Ohio Senate approves payday lending overhaul changes

Ohio's Republican-controlled Senate has toughened a proposed bill cracking down on the short-term lending industry and returned the measure to the House. During a rare July session Tuesday, senators approved the bill, 21-9. Nine Republicans opposed restrictions tacked onto the legislation over the payday lending industry's objections. The Senate bill bars loans with terms of less than 30 days. Payments on loans of 90 days or less can't exceed 7 percent of a borrower's monthly net income, or 6 percent of the gross income, under the plan. Fees and interest can't be more than 60 percent of the loan's original principal amount. The restrictions add to interest-rate caps and fee limits that cleared the House last month. Ohio has some of the highest payday loan rates in the nation.

Rep. Jim Renacci supports term limits

The Republican nominee looking to unseat two-term U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown wants term limits that include only two terms for senators. Congressman Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth, announced Tuesday he supports a maximum of three terms for U.S. representatives and two for senators. Brown, a Democrat, is pursuing his third six-year term in office.

Without mentioning Brown by name, Renacci said "career politicians" who hold office for decades are to blame for the stalemate in the U.S. Senate. By signing the pledge, Renacci agreed to co-sponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits amendment, a joint resolution introduced to the U.S. House and Senate judiciary committees in January 2017. He also promised he would limit himself to two terms as senator, if elected.

Man pleads guilty to cheating farmers out of grain proceeds

A man accused of stealing more than $3 million in proceeds from grain he sold on behalf of northern Ohio farmers has pleaded guilty to theft and other charges. Investigators say 79-year-old Richard Schwan, doing business as Schwan Grain Inc., sold grain on behalf of 35 farmers in Huron, Erie, Lorain, Richland and Seneca counties. Investigators say he deliberately failed to pay farmers their share of grain-sale proceeds and filed false financial documents with Ohio. The plea agreement calls for the Monroeville man to pay about $3.2 million in restitution.

U.S House votes to award medal to Indians Hall of Famer Larry Doby

The U.S. House has voted to give a Cleveland sports legend a Congressional Gold Medal. Indians Hall of Famer Larry Doby was the second African-American to play Major League Baseball. The resolution now moves on to the Senate. The Indians unveiled a bronze statue of the late star outside Progressive Field in 2015.

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