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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Morning Headlines: Ohio Nursing Home Deaths Continue to Rise; Tribe Selects Tucker in MLB Draft

a photo of a a patient in a nursing home

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, June 11:

  • Ohio nursing home coronavirus deaths continue to rise
  • Stow’s only African-American cop suing city for discrimination
  • Ohio tax revenue could see steep drop
  • Sponsors of Ohio sports betting bills optimistic on a deal
  • UA board approves tuition hikes for incoming freshmen
  • MAC schools create separate conference for esports
  • LeBron James helps form voting rights group
  • Cleveland Indians select Carson Tucker in first round of MLB draft

Ohio nursing home coronavirus deaths continue to rise
Ohio's COVID-19 death toll at nursing homes has now reached more than 1,700, or 71% of the state's total deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Cleveland.com reports the death toll is likely higher since reporting takes days or even weeks to process. The latest ODH report indicates Summit, Cuyahoga and Mahoning Counties have among the highest nursing home deaths related to COVID-19. Overall, Ohio has reported more than 2,400 deaths. ODH will update its coronavirus data this afternoon.

Stow’s only African-American cop suing city for discrimination
The city of Stow's only African-American police officer is suing the city and its police chief for discrimination. The Akron Beacon Journal reportsOfficer Barry Smith alleged white officers were promoted ahead of him, and he was harassed for violating the department's facial hair policy, even with a doctor’s note saying he had a skin condition. Smith is seeking salary and retirement benefits he would have received had he been promoted. His lawyer says it's about more than compensation and wants to prevent the same treatment for future black officers in the department. Smith, who has been with the department since 1996, filed the lawsuit in February. The case is set for trial in November 2021. The Beacon Journal reports the attorney representing the City of Stow denies Smith's claims.

Ohio tax revenue could see steep drop
Ohio’s tax revenue is projected to fall by nearly $3 billion in the fiscal year starting July 1.The Office of Budget and Management estimates that receipts from state sales, income, and commercial activity taxes will drop by a combined 9.4 %. That’s about equal to the entire state budget for higher education, according to The Columbus Dispatch  Gov. Mike DeWine has shifted gears signaling he is willing to make withdrawals from Ohio’s $2.7 billion rainy day fund to help fill the gap. DeWine ordered $775 million in education-centered budget cuts last month to cover part of the budget hole prior to June 30. The state has issued salary cuts and hiring freezes. DeWine warned unionized workers that, without pay concessions, layoffs are likely.

Sponsors of Ohio sports betting bills optimistic on a deal
Sponsors of Ohio's legislative efforts to make sports betting legal are hopeful the House and Senate can work out a compromise despite differences on regulation. The House overwhelmingly approved legislation in May to put the Ohio Lottery Commission in charge of sports betting and give much of the tax proceeds to education. A Senate bill during the pandemic makes the Casino Control Commission the chief regulator with no detailed plan on where tax proceeds would go. Rep. Dave Greenspan of Westlake said the state constitution favors the House version.

UA board approves tuition hike for incoming freshmen
The University of Akron board of trustees voted yesterday to increase tuition for incoming freshman by 2.1% at its main campus and 6% at satellite campuses. The Akron Beacon Journal reports a university spokesperson said the board could have raised tuition for UA’s main campus as much as 4.1%. The tuition hike is part of the university’s plan to offset a projected loss in revenue of around $65 million. Last week Kent State University said it would raise tuition for incoming freshmen by $225 per semester.

MAC schools create separate conference for esports
A dozen schools in the Mid-American Conference including Kent State University and the University of Akron  are creating a standalone esports conference to offer structured competition without the extensive rules that govern intercollegiate athletics. MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said they're hoping it's an advantage in recruiting and engaging more competitive video gamers. The structure allows teams to enlist not just amateurs but professional players. Steinbrecher said the new Esports Collegiate Conference plans to be open to schools outside the MAC and operate separately from it. Competition starts this fall. The spring season will feature competitions in the games League of Legends and Overwatch with the champions getting automatic bids to national postseason tournaments for those titles.

LeBron James helps form voting rights group
Akron's own LeBron James has joined other famous black athletes and entertainers in forming an organization to advocate for black voting rights and safeguards. The New York Times reports James, basketball player Trae Young and ESPN commentator Jalen Rose formed ‘More Than a Vote’ to inspire African-Americans to register to vote ahead of November’s presidential election. James said he’s following in the footsteps of other black athletes like Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in standing up for social justice. He said the death of George Floyd, which has sparked weeks of protest around the nation and other parts of the world, inspired him to do more.

Cleveland Indians select Carson Tucker in first round of MLB draft
The Cleveland Indians took a high school short stop from Arizona named Carson Tucker in the first round of last night's MLB draft. Tucker is the younger brother of Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop Cole Tucker. The Indians selected right-handed pitcher Tanner Burns from Auburn University. The MLB draft continues Thursday night.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.
J. Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.