Morning Headlines: KSU Offers I Promise Students Free Tuition; UA Launches $150M Campaign

Feb 13, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Feb. 13:

  • Kent State offers I Promise students free tuition;
  • University of Akron launches $150M fundraising campaign;
  • Bath Township man accused of laundering $300M of cryptocurrency;
  • Cuyahoga County considers how to spend opioid settlement money;
  • Worthington Industries to close in Wooster;
  • Ohio Medicaid doesn't back Trump administration's proposal;
  • Five inmates from Stark County on the loose;
  • 2 Ohio State football players dimissed amid rape charges;
  • Ohio House again approves emergency responders to PTSD coverage;
  • Employee accused of excessive force on kindergartner fired;
  • Analyst: income tax limits plan could harm Ohio bond rating;

Kent State offers I Promise students free tuition
Kent State University will offer the first graduating class of Akron’s I Promise School free tuition and one year free room and board. Kent State is teaming with the LeBron James Family Foundation to provide higher education to the nearly 200 I Promise students that will graduate next year. To qualify, the students must be admitted to Kent State and work a required number of community service hours per semester. The program piggy-backs on Kent State’s summer enrichment program for I Promise students announced earlier this year.

University of Akron launches $150M fundraising campaign
The University of Akron has launched a $150 million fundraising campaign to mark 150 years. The goal of the We Rise Together capital campaign is to support student scholarships, faculty endowments and new initiatives. The school was established as Buchtel College in 1870 and became the University of Akron in 1913.

Bath Township man accused of laundering $300M of cryptocurrency
A Bath Township man has been charged for allegedly running a darknet operation that laundered more than $300 million worth of cryptocurrency. The Beacon Journal reports Larry Harmon ran an online business called Helix and partnered with the underground marketplace AlphaBay. It allowed people to send bitcoin and hide its origin. AlphaBay was shut down in 2017 after it was found to have been selling drugs. Harmon has been ordered to Washington D.C. for prosecution. Harmon also owned the Akron business Coin Ninja and a darknet search engine called Grams. 

Cuyahoga County considers how to spend opioid settlement money
Cuyahoga County Council is considering how to spend the nearly $23 million its getting in settlement money with opioid manufacturers. Council has to deposit the settlement money into a special fund used to combatt the opioid epidemic before approving the plan. If approved, nearly $20 million would be spent this year, and about $4 million next year. The county hasn't announced how it will be allocated.

Worthington Industries to close its doors in Wooster
A manufacturing facility in Wooster is closing with the loss of 122 jobs. Columbus-based Worthington Industries is closing its oil and gas equipment plant and moving operations to Bremen, Ohio. Some Wooster workers will be offered positions at the southern Ohio plant. Worthington operates in 15 states serving the gas and oil industry.

Ohio Medicaid doesn't back Trump administration's proposal
The head of Ohio’s health insurance for low-income families is saying no to a Trump administration proposal to cap payments. Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran said she has no plan to switch to federal block grant funding which would limit the number of people covered under the program. The state’s Medicaid program provides health insurance to nearly 3 million poor and disabled Ohioans, covers half of all births in the state and covers care for 3 in 5 nursing home residents. The federal government pays around 68% of the $26.8 billion program.

Five inmates from Stark County on the loose
Police are asking the community to keep an eye out for five inmates who have escaped from the Stark County Regional Community Correction Center. The Canton Repository reports that the men smashed out windows and escaped between Monday night and Tuesday morning and remain at large. The inmates were being held on various charges including drug possession.

2 Ohio State football players dimissed amid rape charges
Two Ohio State University football players have been kicked off the team after being charged with kidnapping and rape. Senior defensive back Amir Riep and redshirt senior linebacker Jahsen Wint are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning. The woman told police she started having consensual sex with Riep before Wint came into the room and both raped her.

Ohio House again approves emergency responders to PTSD coverage
The Ohio House has once again approved a measure covering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for emergency responders who haven't suffered a physical injury. Police and firefighters have been pushing for the coverage under the state insurance fund for injured workers for years. The House on Wednesday approved mandating the coverage. The House approved a similar measure as part of its workers' comp budget proposal last year but state senators said they wanted time to study the idea.

Employee accused of excessive force on kindergartner fired
A Canton school safety and security employee has been fired after officials said he used excessive force on a kindergarten student. An investigation found Shawn Poole used excessive force when he tried to stop a 6-year-old girl at McGregor Elementary from running out of the cafeteria. Poole admitted to picking up and carrying the student. He said some of the witnesses could not have seen the interaction.

Analyst: income tax limits plan could harm Ohio bond rating
A fiscal analyst has warned lawmakers that a proposal to make it harder to raise the state income tax could harm Ohio's bond rating. At issue is a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose a supermajority requirement in both chambers for the General Assembly to raise such taxes. The nonpartisan group, Policy Matters Ohio, told the Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday that other states with similar supermajority requirements have seen their credit ratings lowered.