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

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.

Tuesday, 02 September 2014 08:55

Obamacare Impact On Free Health Clinics

The Affordable Care Act is having an impact on free health clinics in Summit County. Barberton Community Health Clinic Director Donna Keim says the ACA is one factor and the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio is another. She says up to 50% of the patients she used to see at the Barberton facility are now getting health services elsewhere.

"We have guided them and they now have a Medicaid card," said Keim.

It's a similar story at Open M Ministries which has about 650 patients, down from approximately 725 last year. They had 125 patients dismissed so far this year and admitted only 54 new patients.

"The actual dismissals that we had were related to the Affordable Care Act as well as the Medicaid expansion here in Ohio," said Nurse Administrator Liz Flaker.

She says there is still plenty of need but not necessarily demand in Summit County.

"At this point, from the numbers I've read, there are still 77,000 uninsured patients," said Flaker. "That's down a little bit from the 80,000 from when the Affordable Care Act started in January."

Flaker thinks that one major reason the uninsured on rushing to the free clinics is that they don't know the clinics exist.

The shift in patient load are not a sign that the free clinics are no longer needed.

"There's always going to be somebody losing a job and with no health care, somebody has to see them and it does take a couple of months to get the Medicaid card.," said Keim.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 12:07

Stolen ATM Found In Stolen Car

Akron police found a couple of stolen city-owned vehicles - and neither is in good shape. The unmarked Dodge Stratus sedans were stolen from the Akron Fire Department Training Bureau on Emmitt Road sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.

One was recovered at South Main Street and East Miller Avenue Thursday morning.  It had been set on fire, probably after a trip to Stark County.  Police say they found an ATM in the back seat of the car.  The ATM was stolen from a store in North Canton, so police from both cities are working together.

The other car was spotted on Holly Avenue this morning.  Its windows were broken out and the steering column was peeled.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 09:22

APS: First Day Of School

Thousands of students in Akron had to wake up a littler earlier today ... it's the first day of school for Akron Public Schools.

Superintendent David James says he's optimistic about enrollment this school year, even though afinal head count is weeks away.

"That is always a difficult issue because we never know who is going to show up until after Labor Day, so we'll do head counts this Friday, next Friday and the following Friday and look at staffing in our buildings," said James.

School security is top-of-mind.  James says school resource officers have completed some additional training.  There is also a new security-related policy that parents will notice if they stop by a school building.

"This year when you go to you school and you want to sign out your child or bring something to your child, we're going to ask to see a photo ID," said James.

James planned to stop by several school buildings today, including Firestone High School and Kenmore High School - both have new principals this school year. 

 

There are now 300 Ohio teachers and administrators who have completed firearms training, prompted by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, as the politically-charged debate continues over the use of guns, particularly in schools.

The program administered by the Buckeye Firearms Association is called Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response, or FASTER.  It's also simply referred to as an "active killer class."  Jim Irvine with the Buckeye Firearms Association says that allowing trained school employees to carry guns could stop future school shootings.  He says if kids know that if one or more people in the school has access to a loaded gun, they are less likely to start violence.

"The predator wants an easy target, so the idea that the gun increases violence is absolutely false," said Irvine.  "Any documentation on it shows that it goes exactly the opposite."

That's not good enough for Toby Hoover, a gun violence victim who founded the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.  She says it's better to cripple the source, rather than adding guns to a teacher's took kit. 

"I think if adults took the responsibility for making some restriction so that it wasn't so easy for everybody to get guns, we'd have a different story and we wouldn't have come to this."

 
Irvine says the next step is for boards of education to allow trained teachers to carry guns inside the building.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results," said Irvine.  "Unfortunately, that's what we've been doing in our schools for 50 years.  While law enforcement keeps improving and changing their tactics to do a better job in responding to these things, the places where they're happening haven't changed."

 
Hoover says it's just not true and cites ways that schools have attempted to address the problem.

"There's an awful lot being done as far as curriculum and as far as school safety is concerned," said Hoover.  "Your school systems have increased their lock situation.  They've trained their teachers and they know how to respond differently.

Other than the 300 people already trained, Irvine says at least 1,400 others have applied to take the class.

Thursday, 21 August 2014 11:16

OVI Checkpoint Planned Tonight

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is setting up an OVI checkpoint in the northern part of Summit County tonight. 

Troopers and National Park Servide rangers say they'll be making sure drivers are sober at 500 W. Streetsboro Road (State Route 303) near Happy Days Lodge.  The checkpoint lasts from 9:00 P.M. until midnight.  There will also be a heavier police presence than normal in that area to coincide with the OVI checkpoint.

 

 

Thursday, 14 August 2014 12:09

Court Amnesty Program

People who lost a driver's license because they owe money to Barberton Municipal Court have a chance to make things right. An amnesty program kicks in Friday through September 30th. Clerk of Courts Diana Stevenson is not erasing the debt, just making it easier.

"If the person comes in and pays half of their fines and costs, we'll release the registration block or the forfeiture and we'll put them on a new payment plan," said Stevenson.

Stevenson says the judges realize that without a driver's license, it's difficult for people to get to work so they can earn money to pay their fines and court costs.  Stevenson says a lot of people aren't trying to ignore debts to the court - they just don't have the money.

"A lot of times people just come on hard times and can't make their payments, so they get behind and this is a great way to get things straightened out and get their lives back on track," said Stevenson.

Payments can be be online or in person at Barberton Municipal Court.  You can also call for more information:  330.861.7191.