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

A 22-year old Akron man faces charges as he recovers from being stabbed in the neck. 

Akron police say Kevin Taylor was drunk when he decided to ignore warnings to stay off the property of his child's mom's apartment on Everton Drive.

Police say Taylor argued with the 19-year old woman over their two year old, but it escalated when she tried to get rid of him.

The door was kicked in, and the woman's head was shoved into a wall before she was backed into a kitchen --where she grabbed a steak knife and slashed the back of Taylor's neck.  She suffered minor injuries as well. 

Taylor is charged with domestic violence and criminal tresspassing.

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 13:19

AUDIO UPDATE Victim In Police Shooting Had Gun

Akron police say the investigation into an officer-involved fatal shooting Monday evening is in "it's infancy." 

Raupheal Thomas, 29, of East Emerling Street died at Akron General Medical Center shortly after he was shot by an Akron police officer.

The manner of death is classified as a homicide by the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office but Police Chief James Nice is confident that his officer did nothing wrong.

"The officer did turn on the in-car video and much of it was captured," said Nice.  "Some of the scuffle went out of view of the camera."

That scuffle started, according to police, when Thomas became "confrontational" when officers tried to take him into custody.  Although the exact sequence of events is unclear right now, Nice says one of the officers deployed his taser and it turns out that cops were neither the only ones with weapons nor the only ones to use one.

"The one fellow that is deceased had a weapon and actually the weapon that was on him was fired at least once," said Nice.  "We collected a shell casing from that weapon at the scene."

Nice says it could take more than a month before the investigation is complete.

Police haven't yet named the officers involved but the one who fired the shot is on paid leave for now.

 

Friday, 31 October 2014 12:40

UA Freshmen Retention Better

The University of Akron is seeing a payoff with efforts to retain students. The retention rate among first-time, full-time Freshmen has jumped 7.5-percent.

"Typically, you would seee, with some good concerted efforts 2% or 3%, so we were thrilled that we were able to move the needle that far," said
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Stacey Moore.

Nearly 74% of Freshmen enrolled again.

Moore credits an overhaul in everything from admissions and advising to orientation and communications.

"We're no longer sitting in our offices sending out passive communications about where we are, so we shifted what we do in academic advising and beyond to be high touch, highly-relational, highly intentional and highly structured," said Moore.

Moore says the biggest gains were among students who are typically the ones that bring the average down.

Friday, 31 October 2014 04:34

AUDIO Buchtel Band: Size Does Not Matter

How can a marching band have a list of instruments that is longer than its list of members?

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That's what it takes to stage a marching band at Buchtel Community Learning Center.  There's nothing easy about putting together a high school marching band at any school.  It is, however, much easier when there are students who have access to instruments and students who can read music. Those basic assumptions about marching bands are not entirely true at Buchtel.Simple:  Just have most of the marchers play two instruments.

But they have not given up.

According to the band director, Lee Gibson, the program faltered a few years ago.  After all, schools are struggling to keep up with ever-changing academic standards, a revenue stream that is more like a trickle and a voter base that is sympathetic but worried about their own budget.  Those forces are much more powerful than research that suggests links between higher academic performance and students who participate in instrumental music.

Gibson has not given up.

At a recent practice there was one flute, two clarinets, one saxophone, one trumpet, one french horn, one sousaphone and five drums.  Only a couple of people were missing and a couple of those participating were alumni who just want to help.

Gibson says there are other students who would like to participate in the band but they don't have an instrument.  The school has an instrument rental program but even that is a problem:  First, there are almost no instruments available because they've been loaned to other Akron schools.  Second, Gibson says most of the students in the school come from families who can't afford to rent an instrument at any cost.

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But nobody has given up.

Most of the students have some of the fundamental music-reading skills that thousands of other band students in Summit County began learning as fifth graders and basically mastered before entering high school.  Gibson says has taught them a modified way to read music but the music they could realistically handle is limited.  They play pop music that the students and Gibson just figure out.

The students have not given up.

As for the number of instruments mentioned at the top of this article, Gibson says there's high demand from the stands for a drumline approach but he's concerned that if everybody plays percussion, there would be no band during the concert season, a concert band that does have additional members.  So, most of the students have a wind instrument and a drum.

Many other marching bands in Summit County will travel to Disney World, raise tens of thousands of dollars for uniforms, and offer scholarships.  At Buchtel, Gibson would just like to get some donated instruments.  You can hear from some of the students and hear the band in the audio file below.

If you would like to donate an instrument, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 12:17

AUDIO Commendation For Amber Vinson

The Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while taking care of a now-dead Ebola patient is being recognized by Akron City Council. 

The council passed a resolution last night commending Firestone High School graduate Amber Vinson for her "professionalism and courage."  Council President Garry Moneypenny says Vinson, through her profession, can be compared to more traditional heroes, like police officers, firefighters or members of the armed services.

"She stepped forward and said she would take care of that patient," said Moneypenny.  "The fact that she was fighting for his life put her in a position where for awhile, she was fighting for her own life."

Of course, Vinson is controversial over her decision to travel to Akron immediately after treating Thomas Duncan.  She had a low-grade fever but was cleared by the CDC to hop on a plane and go back to Dallas.  Some people think that Vinson should have never left her own home due to her close contact with Duncan.  People on social media have been particularly brutal.

"So, here's people hiding behind a keyboard that I would tend to say, until they knew all the facts, were really just being cowards to attack this hero, who were actually out there," said Moneypenny.

 
Vinson wasn't there for the passage of the resolution but some family members were present.  Moneypenny says he hopes Vinson visits the area again and stops by council's chambers.  Vinson didn't visit Akron when she was here earlier this month - she stayed in Tallmadge.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 10:27

AUDIO APS Budget: Looks Good

The latest five year budget forecast for Akron Public Schools looks good - no foreseeable problems for the next couple of years.

"Compared to the five-year forecast I was looking at when I first came on the board, this is a dream five-year forecast," said Akron Board of Education President Lisa Mansfield.  "We were looking at almost a $130 million deficit.  We're looking at no deficit in the next five years."

Mansfield says the number is based mainly on projected revenues and the picture will become more clear in January, when expenses can be better analyzed. 

  
There could be problems starting in 2017.  Mansfield says enrollment continues to decline.  Mansfield says the district loses too many students - and the state funding that goes with them - to charter schools and she thinks that's a poor choice for parents to make.

"The unfortunate part is that in the past, they've always had stronger marketing and we've really been working the last couple of years to tell our own good stories," said Mansfield.

Mansfield says she's hoping property values and enrollment both increase between now and 2017.

 

 

Saturday, 25 October 2014 07:18

High School Football: Week 9

Barberton 19, Kenmore 0

East 38, Garfield 32

Ellet 42, Firestone 22

St. Vincent-St. Mary 28, Massillon 20

CVCA 28, Tusky Valley 20

Chardon NDCL 28, Hoban 24

Cleveland Benedictine 26, Walsh Jesuit 7

Nordonia 34, Revere 13

Highland 35, Green 14

Wadsworth 34, Copley 27

Tallmadge 41, Cloverleaf 7

Springfield 20, Norton 14

Triway 54, Manchester 10

Cuyahoga Falls 17, Brush 7

Elyria 22, Stow 21

Field 38, Coventry 21

Woodridge 55, Rootstown 6

Mogadore 63, Waterloo 0

Solon 28, Twinsburg 7

Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:48

AUDIO Ebola: Could It Become Airborne?

The threat of Ebola is unlikely to last long, according to microbiologist Dr. Hazel Barton unless the organism finds new life.  Barton says that, theoretically, Ebola could become an airborne virus.

"We can never predict how organisms evolve and how they're gong to respond to different situations," said Barton. 

Barton says they often adapt for survival.  She says microrganisms essentially regroup because if they kill people, in this case, too quickly, there's no spreading and the organism itself risks dying as well.

"The worry is that if it goes from human to human to human to human, which is what we've seen, it makes those adaptions every time it jumps and the worry is that maybe it gains the ability to jump through the air," said Barton, an associate professor of biology at The University of Akron.  "That changes something that was generally contained and generally doesn't go very far and creates something more like an influenza, where somebody sneezes on a plane and everybody could be infected but that's definitely not the case but we can't predict where it's going to go."

 
Barton says it really is not appropriate to panic over Ebola.  She predicts more people will contract Ebola but not too many.

"I don't think we've seen all the cases," said Barton.  "I think that realistically there's going to be some more but that number may never exceed ten or just even a handful."

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 12:18

AUDIO News Photo Archives Going Online

Akron-Summit County Public Library is working with the Akron Beacon Journal to make it easier to access local history.

Library Special Collections Manager Judy James says the newspaper is making available at least 500,000 archived photographs that will be digitized and uploaded to a website, www.summitmemory.org,  that's already loaded with numerous collections of historical artifacts.

"It's amazing," said James.  "It's a treasure and it's a huge chunk of Akron's history right there in those filing cabinets."

James says it's going to be a lengthy process.

"Our goal is to do 5,000 in the next few months," said James.  "We've already selected somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 but we're still only in the "A" folder so we have a long way to go."

She hopes to have some of the photographs available on the website in the next few weeks.  

James says they'll start with images that tell part of the story of the Akron Beacon Journal, including pictures of the newspaper's building and employees that date back to the 1920's.

 

Monday, 06 October 2014 10:52

AUDIO Tuesday Sale Features Mall

There is something other than the usual run-of-the mill properties listed in Tuesday's Summit County sheriff's sale:  A property that was once one of the busiest places in Akron, Rolling Acres Mall.

The county foreclosed on the property because of unpaid taxes which now total nearly $900,000.  Summit County Executive Russ Pry says he hopes that whoever buys the property will launch a rejuvenation of that part of Akron.

"I think that getting it to sale and getting the property back into some productive use is critical for that whole area and it is a great area there on Romig Road," said Pry.

Romig Road used to be a retail mecca but Pry says he's not looking for it to be like that again.

"Between Wadsworth, Montrose and Belden VIllage areas, there is a saturation of retail, so I think most of the conventional wisdom is that that is not going to come back as a retail use," said Pry.

 
Pry says the county and, based on conversations he had with Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, the city of Akron are both ready to work with a new property owner to help create jobs. 

Pry says he thinks that the actual mall will have to be torn down.