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

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:34

New Akron Hotel Open

The new Hilton Garden Inn on Akron's east side is officially open. The 139-room hotel is seen as the anchor for the EastEnd Project but also serves another voic, according to Akron City Council President Garry Moneypenny.

"If you talk to anybody, when they're here visiting and you ask where they're saying, it's always staying in Montrose or Fairlawn and this provides us a hotel right inside the city limits," said Moneypenny.

Moneypenny says 119-one and two bedroom apartments are being built inside former Goodyear buidings and one or two new restaurants or bars are already announcing plans to open.

"You're eventually going to see an arch  that goes over East Market Street that says, 'You're entering the east side,' much like some of the area in downtown Columbus," said Moneypenny.

The hotel also has a ballroom, various meeting rooms, a bar and a restaurant.

 

Monday, 17 November 2014 12:25

AUDIO Akron FOP: We Want Ivery Dead

There is no doubt about what the president of Akron's police union wants to see happen to the man who killed Officer Justin Winebrenner.

"This guy may not have been a terrorist but he's a worthless thug and he deserves to die," said Akron FOP Preisdent Paul Hlynsky.

Kenan Ivery, 35, is charged with aggravated murder and several counts of felonious assault for the shooting spree that killed Winebrenner and injured four others, including another off-duty police officer. 

Hlynsky says the deadly shooting does not serve as an example of why guns need to be taken off the streets but it does illustrate why laws should be broadened for responsible people.  Simply put: too many bad guys have guns and too many good guys are left unarmed, according to the union chief.

"I think that the only thing some of these thugs understand is the use of force," said Hlynsky.  "You've got politicians that have no idea what they're talking about and making policy that doesn't work."

He's referred to scattered laws that, if reformed, Hlynsky believes would curb situations like the one Sunday at Papa Don's Pub.  Hlynsky says all off-duty cops should carry guns - a practice that is allowed but not mandated in Akron.  Hlynsky says off-duty officers who do carry have to follow all state and other laws that pertain to firearms.

 
Hlynsky also says support is pouring in from police agencies all over Ohio with offers to help with manpower or anything else the day of Winebrenner's funeral.  He predicts 4,000 - 5,000 police officers from around the country will be in Akron to show support to the Winebrenner family and the Akron Police Department.

Saturday, 15 November 2014 09:11

Fatal Fire In Akron

UPDATED 4:12 p.m. Akron police are treating the death of a woman who's body was found following an apartment fire as a homicide. Her name hasn't been released pending a positive ID and notification of family members. The blaze in the 200 block of East Emerling Avenue started sometime before 3:30 Saturday morning and neighbors first called with the report of smoke. The body was found after firefighters arrived.

(Akron Police Department) Detectives are investigating the death of a 33 year old female found inside of her apartment in the 200 block of East Emerling Avenue. Around 3:30am this morning, firefighters and officers responded to the East Emerling Avenue address for an apartment fire. The victim was found by firefighters inside of the apartment unresponsive.

The victim was pronounced dead on scene. The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy today.
The victim's name will be released after positive identification and family notifications are made.

No suspect(s) has been identified.

Previous coverage:

Authorities are investigating a fatal apartment fire in Akron. 

Others who live in the building in the 200-block of East Emerling Avenue heard an alarm and noticed the smoke around 3:30 this morning. 

According to NewsChannel 5, the body of the victim, only identified so far as a woman, was found inside her apartment.  

On the Web:  www.newsnet5.com

 

Saturday, 15 November 2014 07:17

High School Football Playoff Scores

St. Vincent-St. Mary and Nordonia are still in the hunt for a state championship while Mogadore is ousted in the second round of high school football playoffs:

St. Vincent-St. Mary 20, Poland 0
Nordonia 56, Perrysburg 52
Loudonville 42, Mogadore 14
Lewis Center Olentangy 32, Wooster 6
Hubbard 23, Aurora 19
Kenton 13, Triway 6

Hudson, Canton Central Catholic and Glen Oak play tonight.

Monday, 10 November 2014 06:50

Fatal Crashes Up In Stark

More people are dying on Stark County roads this year.

36 people were killed in 34 crashes through the end of last week.  That's compared to 24 crashes that killed 24 people for the same period in 2013.  Why?  Drunk driving and lack of seat belt use are the biggest contributors, sometimes both, according to the commander of the Canton post of the Ohio State Patrol.

"I think what happens is that people think it's not going to happen to them," said Lt. Bill Haymaker.  "Maybe that mentality of 'it's not going to happen to me, so those rules don't apply to me.'"

Despite those contributors, Haymaker says drunk driving arrests are up and so is Stark County seat belt compliance, at 83%.  He says the more cops on the streets, the fewer people die in accidents.

"When manpower is cut and we don't have the guys out on the road to stop these things, that's when you see an increase," said Haymaker.

Haymaker says drivers should notice plenty of cruisers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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.