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 March 2014 11:17

Pro Golfers Help Area Charities

The charitable arm of Akron's premiere sports event is reaching out to 42 area charities with $926,000 in hand.  The World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational and Northern Ohio Golf Charities will help hospitals and other entities.

"It's what makes us different from other professional sports," said Tournament Executive Director Don Padgett.  "Not only do you get to see the greatest golfers in the world from Tiger Woods, Phil Mikelson and Rory McIlroy, but the proceeds from that ticket go back to help so many great charities."

Padgett says the PGA Tour has given back $2 billion since 1938, but half of it in the last eight years. 

Northeast Ohio is part of that," said Padgett.   It's over $23 million that's gone back through Northern Ohio Golf Charities and professional golf at Firestonesince 1984."

Padgett says the luncheon they stage to hand out the checks is also a time to remember the one thousand-plus volunteers.

Monday, 17 March 2014 05:43

Akron Murderer Up For Parole

The Ohio Parole Board is about to take up the case of an Akron woman who murdered an 83 year old man in 1988.  Deena Lambert got a life sentence with parole eligibility for the beating and stabbing of Harry Robinson, who came into The Temple Tavern and HarryRobinsonsaid she needed a ride back to her motel after an argument with her boyfriend.  Robinson said he would help her out - an act of kindness that turned out to be deadly.  The parole possibility is not going unnoticed.DeenaLambert

"She's crazy," said Bret Vinocur with www.blockparole.com.  "She brutally murdered this innocent 83-year old man.  She had no remorse then and no remorse now and she's just a frightening human being that can't be put on the streets for public safety issues."

Vinocur is hoping an online petition will help convince the parole board to not only keep Lambert in prison, but extend the time between future parole hearings to ten years.  He says about 600 signatures have been collected so far.

"The parole board takes public sentiment very seriously, so the goal is to let the parole board know that the public does not want this woman back on the streets and they're afraid and they should be afraid," said Vinocur.

He started the organization after hearing about some children in California who had been kidnapped and murdered.  Vinocur then researched Ohio's parole system, which he called "broken" and decided to get involved in the cases he described as "the worst of the worst," hoping to keep those offenders behind bars. 

The Ohio Parole Board will hear from Robinson's family, Vinocur and other opponents to Lambert's release later this week.  Lambert and her supporters get the same opportunity later.

You can read more about the murder, the trial and access the petition at: www.blockparole.com 

 

Friday, 14 March 2014 11:13

Last Day Of School In Akron: June 10

The school year will extend into the second week of June for students in Akron Public Schools. 

The district will not try to extend the school day to make up the necessary number of calamity days, which is an alternative to alterin the calendar under a bill that has cleared the legislature and expected to receive the signature of Governor John Kasich.  Instead, students' last day will be June 10th.  District Communications Director Mark Williamson says that extending the school day by 30 minutes is not logistically realistic due to transportation issues.

There is an exception:  Students at Bridges learning center have to make up four days instead of three, so their last day is June 11th.

It's not guaranteed that there will be no more calamity days.  If that happens, the plan will have to be altered.

UPDATE 530pm  3-12-14  The National Weather Service has cancelled a Winter Storm Warning and has now issued a Winter Weather Advisory until  8 Wednesday evening. One to three inches of snow is expected through the afternoon and evening with the Wednesday night low temperature plunging to 5 degrees with a wind chill of  -11 degrees. Thursday's high will reach only 20 degrees.

 

Previous Coverage

The Winter Storm Warning for our region in northeast Ohio has changed again: It's in effect now and lasts until 2:00 A.M. Thursday.  What has not changed is the fact that some wintry weather is headed to the Akron vicinity.  The antcipated 4-5 inches of snow will fall long before the weather warning ends.

"Unfortunately, most of that is going to come probably during the afternoon and it's also going to be accompanied by some pretty gusty wind," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Will Kubina. "We're talking wind gusts of 40 mph, so visibiliites at times are going to be near zero. It's not going to be very nice out this afternoon."

Kubina's predictions calls for the current (5:40 A.M.) to last until around dawn, then quickly react to falling temperatures and change to snow with some freezing rain likely during the transition.

"The warm temperatures yesterday have helped us out quite a bit because the road temperatures are actually quite a bit warmer than the air temperatures are now," said Kubina. "Although the air temperature may be cold enough for freezing rain, it might have a hard time freezing on the road surfaces because they're so warm yet."

Kubina says snowfall will be heavier north of Akron.

Political science professors at The University of Akron are getting a little help this week. Two former members of Congress are at the university today and Wednesday as part of the Congress to Campus program.

"They bring some real world experience to the campus and talk to our students about what it's really like to work in the federal government and Congress and to understand how both policy and politics work at that level," said Professor John Green, professor and director of the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics.

The program, administered by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.  It places a former Republican and a former Democrat with a participating college or university.  The former members deliver lectures, meet with faculty and students and otherwise offer their political perspectives to the campus community.  There are only about eight Congress to Campus visits each year. 

Democrat Beverly Byron and Republican Melissa Hart of Pennsylvania agreed to visit the Akron campus.

This is the third time that the university has participated in the program.

Friday, 28 February 2014 11:44

AUDIO Hazing: Prevalent Despite Laws

The recent hazing allegations involving a University of Akron fraternity could be far from isolated. 

Dr. Ricky Jones, a professor at the University of Louisville, says 90% of hazing incidents go unreported.  He says that despite laws and written policies, hazing is more common than many people realize.

"I have a five year old daughter," said Jones.  "If my daughter was about to go to college - and I'm a member of a fraternity - I would forbid her to pledge.  There is no way that I would sit idly and risk my child's life." 

The incident at UA involved a 21-year old would-be member of Alpha Phi Alpha, who reported that he was bleeding and required hospitalization after excessive paddling by from of the fraternity members.  Six people are facing criminal charges as a result.

Jones also says leaders of organizations that engage in hazing are well aware of the ongoing practice, and he also alleges that university leaders know about it, too, but Jones suggests a multi-faceted approach to trying to curb the problem.

"Some schools are starting to take a long, hard look at ways they can get rid of these groups altogether," said Jones. "Some of the private schools have already started to do this.  Some of the public schools certainly have different legal challenges than the privates, but these organizations are a risk-management nightmare."

 

Jones wrote a book that focuses on hazing among fraternities what have primarily black memberships, such as Alpha Phi Alpha.  His research suggests that while white fraternities lean more toward binge drinking and soroities seem to prefer humiliation, physical violence is a common hazing tactic among black fraternities that engage in hazing. 

"And sending the potential members through a process which reaffirms their manhood, which gives them entre into a very particular sphere of black masculinity and it's so deeply entrenched and it is widespread and I don't think it's going to stop."

The book suggests that the reason young black men want to prove their manhood can be linked to a lack of accessibility of jobs, education and other things that make them feel weaker or less worthy than others.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 13:24

Electric Bills May Be Higher

Some Ohio Edison customers may get an unwelcome surprise when they receive the electric bill. Not only are people using more electricity because of the particularly cold winter, but meter readers have had a hard time accessing the meters, so they've had to make estimates."They're fairly accurate," said Ron Green, vice president for customer service."This winter, customers very well may be hit with a catch up bill when we actually do come and read the meter because of a previous estimate perhaps being a little low."

Green says the estimates are based on energy consumption from the same month a year ago - when it was warmer.Why can't they just read the meters?  Sometimes the meter readers can't access them.

"You have gates that freeze and to get into their back yard, the gates are frozen to the ground and there are snow piles," said Green.

Green says people who want an accurate reading right away can follow directions on the company's website, read the meter and call or post the reading.

Monday, 24 February 2014 05:02

Akron Potholes: Fewer Than You Think

Have you noticed the potholes?  If you drive anywhere in Summit County, probably anywhere in northeast Ohio, it's hard to not notice them. 

You might be surprised, however, to hear what Akron Public Works Director Paul Barnett has to say about them - he says there are actually fewer potholes right now than what he considers normal for this time of the year.  You can thank (yes, thank!) the sustained cold weather.

"This winter we went into a freeze cycle that we didn't come out of for a long time, so we had very few freeze-thaw cycles and that actually helped us out," said Barnett.

It's those freeze-thaw cycles that cause the problems.  Water gets into cracks in the road and expands when it freezes, creating a larger crack, crevice or hole that is real easy bust into.

Despite Barnett's estimation of the number of potholes, he's not denying that there are plenty of them out there. 

"There are a lot right now because we got so much snow and we've been working on that snow, said Barnett"  "We haven't been doing  that much pothole patching, just emergency locations, so it's appearing like there's a lot more than normal."

 
He says city crews have already used about 20 tons of cold patch mix, which is often a temporary fix, but hot patch mix isn't available until Spring and crews have been too busy plowing snow off the roads to do much of anything else.

Monday, 24 February 2014 04:58

Daughter Of Murder Victims Speaks

Most of us will never know what it's like to lose both parents to violence.  Jessica Schobert knows.  Her mom and dad, Margaret and Jeff Schobert, were beaten to death in their New Franklin home about 11 months ago. 

As reported by NewsChannel 5, the whole family was heavily involved in high school mock trial competitions, particularly with the team from Archbishop Hoban High School.  The Akron Bar Association decided to give awards to the top two finishing teams in the names of Jeff and Margaret Schobert.  Jessica says there has been so much focus on how her parents died, something she's trying to shift.

"We're glad that today is not about how they left this world," said Schobert.  "It's about how they lived in it.  It's really about the kids that they loved and the work that they did with them."

Schobert can't comment much about the murder investigation or upcoming trial of her sister's ex-boyfriend, Shawn Ford, who allegedly used a sledgehammer to beat the couple, with possible help from a 14-year old, who is also charged.

"We would like to see justice done, although more than that, we would like to see them remembered as they  were, for who they were and not just for their ending."

Ford's trial is currently scheduled to begin on the one year anniversary of the double-homicide.

On the Web:  www.newsnet5.com 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:07

When Will My Street Get Plowed?

The snow might have stopped, but Akron road crews still have long hours ahead.  Public Works Manager Paul Barnett says he thinks they'll be done clearing the primary routes by noon, then move to secondary routes.

"Once the secondaries are done, probably close to midnight, we're going to in and plow out all of the residential streets," said Barnett.

 Plowing the residential streets is quite a process, too.  Barnett says it will take about 24 hours.  The good news is that there is no additional snowfall expected; however, rain could be a problem.  Rain and snow showers are in the Wednesday weather forecast.  Rain and possible thunderstorms are part of the mix on Thursday.

"One of the reasons right now we're trying to push everything back to the curbs is so we can open up the inlets, water can make it down the inlets," said Barnett.

The other problem would come into play if there is rain or melted snow, particularly the water has nowhere to go, followed by a freeze.  The current forecast shows temperatures dipping just below freezing at night, but probably not cold enough to turns the streets into skating rinks.