Chris Keppler

Chris Keppler

Chris is the regular news anchor on WQMX's Wynn and Wilson in the Morning and WONE's Tim and Christi in the Morning programs. He first opened a microphone at WZIP-FM at The University of Akron in 1990 but got his first paid radio job delivering weekend news on WZKL-FM & WDPN-AM in Alliance. Chris then moved to WJER AM & FM in Dover where he reported on Tuscarawas County, including stories that made national headlines. Chris has been honored by his peers with first place awards from the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters including Best Reporter, Best Feature Story, and Best Broadcast Writing among others. In addition to his work as a broadcast journalist Chris has also worked in public relations and as an instructor at the University of Akron teaching Broadcast News Writing. Chris enjoys volunteer work, and has served on the boards of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters, Public Relations Society of America (Akron Area Chapter), American Cancer Society Hope Gala Committee and currently serves on the Green Baseball/Softball Federation Board. Contact Chris through the newsroom 330-864-6397 or email at ckeppler@rcrg.net

Friday, 26 September 2014 13:04

Barberton Flower Power

Flower Power is the 1960's-related theme for this year's mum festival in Barberton.

Thousands and thousands of the colorful fall plants are on hand around Lake Anna.  Even Festival Chair Lisa McLean doesn't know exactly how many chrysanthemums are on display.

"I quit counting," said McLean.  "I think there are about 20,000 mums, which we say create over a million mum blooms.  We have 21 varieties."

There may even be one variety of chrysanthemum with a familiar name:  Akron.

There is a patented mum named Akron.  It was invented by Cornelius P. VandenBerg of California, who actually invented many others that include the Bronze Comet, Golden Kent, Yellow Fina and the White Coricia.  The Akron is described in a 1995 patent document as one that has daisy-like flowers that are red-purple in color. 

McLean says they're selling Igloo mums for the first time this year.  There is also an expanded children's area added to all of the regular events and attractions at the festival.

The festival runs 10:00 A.M. through 6:00 P.M. Saturday and Sunday.  Admission is free.

 

Monday, 22 September 2014 05:39

AUDIO Green Schools: Feeding More Kids

Two programs are underway to address hunger among children in Green - and the numbers appear to be growing.  One helps keep bellies full in the morning, and the other helps reduce hunger on the weekends. 

Jennifer Doerrer heard about Blessings in a Backpack and how it was being used in other school districts in Summit County, so she decided to ask school administrators in Green if there was a need.  Doerrer says she was shocked to find out that there was a need and it's a need that is getting stronger. 

"There's no reason for this," said Doerrer.  "There's just absolutely no reason that a child should be hungry at any point.  We have the means to do away with this problem, epecially here in this community.  As soon as I found that there was a need, I just said 'this problem will end in this community now.'"

Blessings in a Backpack provides food to any student, whether they are receiving free/reduced lunches or not, whose parents say it's okay for them to bring it home.  It's intended to provide breakfast, lunch and snacks for a child for the entire weekend.  She says most backpacks contain about seven items but Doerrer gets so many donations that the backpacks in Green usually have 9 - 10 items.

"Last year we had 150 children," said Doerrer.  "This year, once all of the numbers are collected, we are expecting somewhere between 300 and 400 children." 

Part of the increase is linked to a program expansion that includes high school students.  Those students, who may be embarrassed that they don't have enough food, have the option of texting a request, then picking up the backpack of food inconspicuously.

 
The Blessings in a Backpack program, which has participating schools across the country, was one thing that prompted Food Services Manager Amie Payne to inquire about adding a school breakfast program when she came to Green about a year ago.  It started this school year and it's a hit.  Prior to that, Doerrer and her husband were paying for breakfast foods for children at Green Intermediate School when they found out that students were arriving hungry in the mornings, prompting teachers to bring food with them.  

"I'm very pleased with the numbers that we have," said Payne.

It's not just for students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, although they do get a price break.  Bulldog Breakfast Bags are available to any students.

"Even if the pantries are full at home, whether it's time or something they don't care for or some students don't like to get up and eat breakfast as soon as they get up," said Payne.

Making sure that students are operating on a full stomach serves another purpose as well, according to Julie McMahan, a district spokesperson. 

"We're setting up not only the children to succeed academically in the classrooms but we're also enabling the teachers to do what they do best, teacher, without the worry or concern of children being hungry," said McMahan.

Blessings in a Backpack depends on donations.  There are about 60 volunteers.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 13:22

AUDIO Perspectives: Dealing With Diabetes

Carter Hosfeld of Green is just 9-years old and dealing with something that many of us may not really understand.  He has Type 1 Diabetes, commonly referred to as Juvenile Diabetes.  Carter's mom Jessica hopes other parents take notice if they have children with some of the symptoms that she noticed in her son last year.

As for Carter, he wasn't crazy about getting poked multiple times per day for testing and for insulin shots.  He now wears a monitor and has a port that makes it easier and less painful.  Carter is like a few hundred other boys in Green - he likes to play baseball, not to mention other sports and the diabetes has created some extra challenges.

 
Carter's family has put together a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association ... it's called Carter's Crash Course for Juvenile Diabetes.  It's at Boettler Park in Green this Sunday.  Tires runs, hay climbs, rope crawls are part of the obstacle course.  There will also be food trucks, some raffle items and giveaways. 

 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 12:11

AUDIO Crime Down In Akron

Akron police say the city is becoming a safer place. 

Crime rates are down in  all categories between 10% and 20%, depending on the crime category.

"There is going to be crime," said Akron Police Chief James Nice.  "It's a large city but you want to see it going in the direction of being reduced."

  January 1, 2013 - September 16, 2013 January 1, 2014 - September 16, 2014 % Change
Murder 18 15 -17
Robbery 404 297 -26
Aggravated Assault 652 534 -18
Sexual Assault 265 227 -14
Burglary 2100 1800 -16

Nice says part of the reason is simple cause and effect:  More cops are on the streets, so fewer crimes are being commited.  The city has hired 56 officers since Nice took the top position in 2011, creating a net increase of 35 cops.

He also says formation of a 12-member Neighborhood Response Team contributes to the decrease along with the 10-member Gun Violence Reduction Team.

"Now that we've identified the most dangerous people in Akron, their full time job is to pay attention to those people," said Nice.  "We're watching them, surveilling them and overall just paying attention to them and gun violence is going down as a result."

 
Nice says responding to verfied burglar alams, rather than responding to all of them, which includes many false alarms, the cops have more time to spend creating and implementing proactive programs to help prevent crime.  

Monday, 15 September 2014 08:24

Fire Kills One In Stark

A Plain Township man is dead following a fire in his trailer.  

According to the Repository, the body of Carl Lawson, 56, was found inside the trailer on Dennis Court N.E. Sunday morning.  Something inside the trailer ignited between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  Neighbors noticed something wrong around 10:00 A.M. Sunday.

Sheriff's deputies told the newspaper that they were told Lawson had not been in good health.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

On the Web:  www.cantonrep.com 

Monday, 15 September 2014 08:16

AUDIO Parent Coordinators Needed In Akron

Summit County Domestic Relations Court is welcoming new state guidelines for a program designed to help divorced parents understand their court-approved parenting plan.

Having a plan in place makes it sound easy but some parents continue to fight - over just about anything - until their children are grown.

"I've had people in Parent Coordination who have disputed who gets to pass out the Tootsie Rolls at Halloween all the way to what school the children are going to go to," said Family Count Services Director Randy Flick. 

Parent Coordination is one of several programs set up to keep families civil and out of the courthouse.  Remember the Children is a three-hour class required for everyone seeking a divorce or dissolution with children.  Working Together is a one-hour class that involves mediation and education.  Some parents need to go beyond those options.  They could spend nine hours in the Positive Solutions program.  There are others, too, including Parent Coordination.

"The parent coordinator is just somebody who's just going to help them navigate their plan, report to the court what decisions they've made or what decisions they can't make so that if they do end up back in court, at least the court has information on what they were able to work out and not work out," said Community Outreach Director Susan Tucker.

Parent Coordination has been in place for years but the Ohio Supreme Court recently came up with some new guidelines that are supposed to add more organization and oversight.

The program needs more Parent Coordinators, who are essentially mediators, to help.  Training is provided.

 

Saturday, 13 September 2014 10:23

Rough Night For City Series Football

It was a losing night for most Akron City Series teams in the third week of high school football action.  Ellet ignored the trend with a win over (Amherst) Steele.  City Series, Suburban League and other Summit County scores:

Ellet 27, Amherst Steele 14
Stow 41, Firestone 8
Tallmadge 27, Garfield 13
Springfield 19, North 15
Lake 21, East 14
Hubbard 51, Kenmore 8
Cardinal Mooney 31, Buchtel 0

Hoban 42, Cleveland Shaw 6
Orange 49, CVCA 42
Walsh Jesuit 35, Bishop Waterson 7

Alliance 42, Barberton 23
Kent Roosevelt 35, Cuyahoga Falls 21
Copley 33, Norton 6
Green 21, Wooster 20
Aurora 35, Revere 21
Nordonia, 55, Parma 0
Wadsworth 47, Medina 37
Highland 35, North Royalton 0

Buckeye 27, Cloverleaf 7
Chagrin Falls 40, Woodridge 34
Manchester 52, Black River 27
Hudson 48 - Brecksville 14
Avon 52, Twinsburg 13
Mogadore 41, Coventry 20

 

State officials have issued more citations this year than last year to establishments in Summit County that sell alcohol.  Most of the citations are linked to people caught drinking beer under the age of 21 but there are numerous other violations as well.

The Ohio Investigative Unit, an arm of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, makes compliance checks that are heavily based on complaints, according to Canton District Office Agent-in-Charge George Pitre, but no all compliance checks are complaint-based.  The unit pay people 17 - 20 years of age to go inside selected establishments and try to buy alcohol.

"We want that person to check an ID and we want that person to refuse the sale," said Pitre.  "If that happens, we're pleased.  If it doesn't happen, then once the minor leaves the store, we can proceed with enforcement action."

Pitre, whose district covers 16 counties, says prom and graduation seasons are among the best times to make compliance checks.  Geographically, college towns tend to have more problems simply because there are typically plenty of bars within walking distance of campuses and they cater to college crowds even though most college students are not old enough to legally purchase alcohol.

 
Pitre says education and awareness are key, emphasizing that most people who violate laws surrounding alcohol sales aren't trying to break the law.  Instead, they are simply not trained well enough to be proactive.

"We also offer educational programs for alcohol servers and it's paramount that some type of training, I believe, should be received when you work in that industry," said Pitre.

The table below shows "License premises cited for sales of alcohol to minors."  It shows the number of citations per county from January 1 through September 8 for each year.  While it does show a dramatic increase in Summit County, the data stop short of explaining why that appears to be the case.

  2013 2014
Medina 10   8
Portage 5  40
Stark 84   91
Summit 126 269
Wayne 9    3
Friday, 05 September 2014 11:58

Italian Company Opens Division In Akron

Press Release from the city of Akron:

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic announced today that a manufacturing company from Italy, Ravizza Packaging, will be opening its U.S. headquarters in Akron, Ohio, and will be selling their patented product, Simplicita Bag Smart, throughout the United States. Ravizza Packaging, founded by Roberto Ravizza and his father, Franco Ravizza, in 1982, is a privately-held Italian bagging machinery company based in Turin, Italy. The company will start out in Akron with 9 large pieces of machinery and 3 employees at Akron’s Global Business Accelerator. Its American presence will be called Ravizza Packaging USA Corp.

Ravizza Packaging sells small scale packaging equipment and accessories, and has four distinct business segments: Machine & Materials Distribution, Packaging Line System Solutions, Liquid Fill Container Packaging, and Simplicita Bagging Machines. Their most popular product, the Simplicita Bag Smart Machine, forms, fills and seals bags from tubes on a roll, instead of the more expensive traditional pre-made bags. Ravizza’s product, can achieve an average annual cost savings of $35,000 versus competing machines.

“I am excited that Ravizza Packaging chose Akron, Ohio, to be its entry into the United States market,” noted Mayor Plusquellic. “While their operation in Akron will start out small, growing sales of their products in the U.S. market will require additional employees, and Roberto plans to hire locally. As they cultivate their U.S. presence over the next few years, we will continue to work with Roberto to find a permanent location in Akron that will fit their escalating needs.”

Ravizza Packinging is actually a third generation family-run company, whose parent company, Ravizza, Giuseppe & Son, was founded by Roberto Ravizza’s grandmother and grandfather in 1938 to provide wood crating and shipping containers. In 1982, Roberto and his father Franco established Ravizza Packaging to enter the packaging machinery and materials market. The majority of Ravizza’s sales and revenue is from Europe, but the company has recently expanded outside Europe into South America and New Zealand. The company has annual revenue of $3.4 million. Roberto’s 17 year old son Francesco Ravizza has grown up in the company and will help with the company’s transition into the U.S. market.

“Originally, I met [previous Deputy Mayor for Economic Development] Bob Bowman and now Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Sam DeShazior at a trade show in Germany,” noted Roberto Ravizza, co-founder of Ravizza Packaging. “Since then, we have been in communications regarding doing business in the United States. I chose Akron, Ohio, because of its proximity to our market, the overwhelming support from the City and the Accelerator, and the welcoming nature of the people I have met throughout Akron during my visits.”

Information provided by the city of Akron

Friday, 05 September 2014 11:51

Car vs. Bicycle In Green

A 74 year old man suffered serious injuries when his bicycle collided with a car in Green. 

It happened Thursday evening at Boettler Road and Golden Wood Way just after 7:00 P.M.  Summit County sheriff's deputies say the man was wearing a helmet but still got hurt when he was thrown off the bike by the impact of the crash. 

The 24-year old driver of the car was apparently not injured.  Boettler Road was partially closed for about three hours.  Inspector Bill Holland says speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash.