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 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.

 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 10:48

AUDIO Abreu To Play Again?

Alex Abreu would like to wear a Zips basketball uniform again.  The ousted starter says he would like to play again at Akron or another Division I school.  Abreu lost his position and nearly lost his freedom after getting caught with five pounds of marijuana last year.  AkronNewsNow asked Zips Men's Head Basketball Coach Keith Dambrot if he would take Abreu back.

"If anybody is going to give people a second chance, it's going to be me because I'm the one that received a second chance," said Dambrot.  He is referring to his days as a young coach at a different university when he was ousted for getting too physical with a player on the court.  Dambrot worked his way back up through the ranks.

 

Dambrot says he would consider letting Abreu play again but he does not have ultimate authority.  Higher ups at the university would have to offer their approval first.

"My only concern with Alex is that he rehabilitates himself and really becomes the person that he's capable of becoming," said Dambrot.  "He's a guy that has tremendous potential, not only as a basketball player, but as a person."

Dambrot says it appears that Abreu is surrounded by good people and seems to be in a better place than he was a year ago.

 

Monday, 17 February 2014 11:20

Akron Man Charged With Robbery, Kidnapping

Akron police say they solved three robberies with one arrest.

Timothy McDonald, 26, of Malasia Road in Akron, is charged with two counts of robbery and one count each of aggravated robbery and kidnapping.  He is accused of two hold ups Thursday evening and when police arrested McDonald Friday evening, they didn't realize at first that there was a third that may be linked to their suspect.  

"After officers had McDonald in custody, officers were notified of another robbery that occured in 300-block of Shawnee Path around 8:00, just prior to officers arresting McDonald," said Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards.

McDonald was arrested in a restroom at the Dry People's Club, where officers found a fake gun, allegedly used by McDonald, in a toilet tank.

The robbery that was reported about 30 minutes before McDonald's arrest involved a man who was talked into giving McDonald a ride to the hospital, who told the man that his father had just suffered a massive heart attack; however, when the gun was pulled, the driver fought back.

"The victim fought with the man over the gun, when McDonald jumped out of the truck and ran," said Edwards.

Police say McDonald admitted to all three robberies.

Friday, 14 February 2014 12:15

AUDIO Cuyahoga Falls Church Marks 180 Years

It's a special weekend for a Cuyahoga Falls church - the oldest functioning church in Summit County.  Pilgrim United Church of Christ is celebrating its 180th anniversary.  Reverend Kirk Bruce says he's moving the pulpit and making other adjustments for Sunday's service.

 "It is the original pulpit from when the church was first founded," said Bruce.  "The order of worship that we're using is not the order of worship that we use every Sunday morning.  We're using an order from 100 years ago.  We had an old bulletin that we pulled out."

The church was founded in 1834 and the building was constructed in the 1840's.  Bruce says Pilgrim UCC gained status as the oldest church when the church in the Tallmadge Circle was abandoned as a church and designated as an historic building.

 
It's called Pilgrim United Church of Christ now - and has been for more than five decades, but that afilliation has changed in the last couple of centuries.  It started out as a Presbyterian church, but it was only about 20 years before the members went in a different direction in the years preceding the Civil War.

"It left the Presbyterian denomination because the Presbyterians were southern and Pilgrim, and the members, have a strong heritage of freedom," said Bruce.  "The southern church was really slave-supporting."

That line of thinking coincides with an old tunnel under the building.  Bruce says they can't prove it, but have reason to believe that the church was one of several places in Cuyahoga Falls that was part of the Underground Railroad.

Pilgrim was a Congregational church for about 70 years, ending in the 1920's, then Congregational Christian.  Another merger in 1957 created United Church of Christ.

Bruce says he'll follow tradition and open the building to the general public for tours in September or October.

Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:32

AUDIO Coventry Hazing: No Charges ... Yet?

The fallout from a hazing scandal at Coventry High School could be far reaching.  While 11 upper classmen on the high school wrestling team have been suspended along with a coach, students could also face criminal charges. 

"We're trying to determine whether or not there's going to be some charges filed," said Coventry Superintendent Rusty Chaboudy.  "We know that some parents went down to the sheriff's office with their concerns.  At this point there have been no charges filed."

The boys got in trouble for luring some first-year wrestlers to a locker room, then punched, kicked and hit them.  Apparently, nobody was seriously hurt, but Chaboudy says it is "absolutely" classified as "hazing."

Many of the suspended students qualified for post-season action, but will not be allowed to participate.  For some, it's a last chance to become a state champion.  Regional and statewide appearances can also lead to greater interest among college scouts.  

 
Chaboudy says Head Coach Keith Shinn's current forced displacement from the program is not meant to suggest that he initiated any hazing or related activities.  In fact, Chaboudy says neither Shinn nor any assistant coaches were at the school when it happened.  They are not full time district employees, not expected to be at the school at the time the hazing took place and the students were not supposed to be in the locker room at the time.

"I don't think they had any idea it was going to happen," said Chaboudy.  "What we're investigating is did they know it happened and that's what we're concerned about."

Chaboudy previously told AkronNewsNow that he was upset the incident happened Thursday afternoon, but nobody reported it to school officials until some parents approached high school administrators on Monday.

Previous Coverage:  Hazing At Coventry H.S.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:39

Stark State Gets Funding

Stark State College is getting some anticipated funding to move forward with renovating a building in downtown Canton. 

The Ohio Controlling Board voted to release $230,000 to Stark State.  The college is putting together a new training center in Canton in response to the oil and gas drilling jobs in the region. 

The total cost of renovating the building is about $2.9 million.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:36

Knight Foundation Resignation

The Knight Foundation's Jennifer Thomas is moving on.  She's been a fixture in Akron since 2010, overseeing Knight-funded projects and otherwise being engaged in the community, but Thomas says she's leaving the Knight Foundation this month. 

It sounds like she might be involved in some similar projects, but from a different perspective.  Thomas will be coaching companies on community investment.  She noted in a blog post that announced her resignation the amount of private investment that is being made in cities.

Monday, 10 February 2014 11:20

Photo Exhibit Tells African-American Stories

The public now has a chance to see a collection of photographs of local historical significance.  The collection by photographer Opie Evans opens tonight at The University of Akron, but the university's head of archival services, Vic Fleischer, says the images are also available online.

Evans captured daily life and special events that create a visual history of the African-American community from the 1940's through the 1970's. 

"There was a sympathy march for Selma, Alabama for what was going on down there with Dr. King right here in Akron and I think those are some of the most historically significant images," said Fleischer.

The exhibit is being unveiled during this Black History Month as part of the university's Rethinking Race inititative, but Fleischer says putting it together represents more than a single event.

"This started about three years ago when I discovered these great images of Mr. Evans in our collection and thought they would be a great online exhibit to digitize a lot of these images and make them available to the general public," said Fleischer.

The exhibit will be open at the Buckingham building for the next several months.  You can see the online version at www.summitmemory.org

Friday, 07 February 2014 12:45

VIDEO Akron Gold Medalists

Akron has a place in Winter Olympics history.

There are only three Ohioans in Winter Olympics history to bring home gold medals.  Two of them are from Akron. 

Figure skater Hayes Jenkins brought home the gold from Italy in 1956.  The Akronite's brother David Jenkins, who won bronze that year, went on to win the gold in the Squaw Valley games in 1960. The YouTube video below features the 1960 medal-winning performances of Carol Heiss, then David Jenkins.  They later married.

 

The only other Ohioan to win winter olympic gold was Toledo's Scott Hamilton in 1984.

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 12:46

Stay Of Execution For Spaulding

An Akron man on death row wants the Ohio Supreme Court to help him avoid execution for the 2011 murders of the mother mother of his children, Erica Singleton; her friend, Ernie Thomas; and the non-fatal shooting of another man, Patrick Griffin, who was left paralyzed. 

Attorneys for Dawud Spaulding cite ineffective counsel during his trial in most of the 14 alleged trial errors, many of which are routine in death penalty appeals.

The Ohio Supreme Court, in a separate ruling, granted a stay of execution for Spaulding.  The high court has not yet considered the recently filed appeal.  The stay of execution is another routine matter in death penalty cases.  Death Row inmates are typically sentenced to die about a year from the day they are sentenced, even though everyone involved knows that Ohio's automatic appeals and other appeals generally extend the time frame by 10 - 20 years or more.  Spaulding was sentenced February 13, 2013 to be executed March 3, 2014.  The stay allows the appeals process to take place.