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, 01 April 2014 00:00

Fire Destroys Springfield Township Home

The state fire marshal's office is helping Springfield Township firefighters pinpoint the cause of a blaze that nearly leveled a house Monday night.  The fire on Hayne Road, near Myersville Road, was discovered by one of the residents around 11:00 P.M.  Fire Chief Vic Wincik says an elderly woman and her daughter lived in the home and both were able to get out safelty when they heard smoke alarms.  Wincik says the daughter tried to extinguish the initial flames in the garage on her own, but gave up and called for help. 

"That could have been connected with the end result of the extended damage," said Wincik.  "My point there is, as soon as you can, contact the fire department."

Wincik says several other fire departments assisted Springfield Township at the scene.

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

Former Dahmer Home For Sale

The childhood home of Jeffrey Dahmer is on the market. 

 "It's still a good home for someone, if you can see past the colorful history," said Rich Lubinski with Stouffer Realty.

That "colorful history" includes the serial killer's first murder.  The house on West Bath Road is listed by Lubinski for $295,000. 

 "It may be more significantly more to a certain buyer because of the history or it may be worth significantly less to someone else because of the history," said Lubinski.

Lubinski is counting on "more."  The asking price is about $50,000 more than the current owner paid in 2005.  The asking price is also about $35,000 less than the asking price when it was for sale through a different firm a couple of years ago. 

As for people who are fascinated with the Dahmer story, don't call Lubinski unless you're a serious buyer - and be ready to prove it.

"We're not showing it to just anyone," said Lubinski.  "You either have to have proof of funds that you can pay for the house in cash or a rock-solid pre-approval letter from a local bank."

Lubinski says the price reflects the Bath community, where he says supply is low and demand is high. 

 

Monday, 31 March 2014 00:00

Principal Beard Shaving

An Akron elementary school assistant principal followed through with a promise this morning to have his beard shaved - all to help the PTA at Robinson CLC.  Walter Noland, who calls himself a "red-bearded Irishman," agreed to sacrifice his beard to the teacher whose classroom raised the most money in recent Shamrock sales.

"We've got a couple of programs we're going to buy," said Noland. 

The fundraiser generated $500 and Noland says a large portion of that came 25-cents at a time.  The paper Shamrocks sold for a quarter each. Noland says the money will be put to good use through the purchase of some interactive learning programs that will help with new 3rd grade reading standards.

"Giving kids tools that they can put their hands on really seems to help," said Noland.  

Universities and their student-athletes all over the country are watching closely how Northwestern University football players respond to a National Labor Relations Board opinion that says those who get scholarships are university employees and free to unionize. 

University of Akron Athletic Director Tom Wistrcill is quick to point out that the NLRB decision applies to Northwestern, a private university, and not to public universities like UA or Kent State University.  

"This labor issue also opens another can of worms  as far as employment status goes and that triggers a tax implication," said Wistrcill.  "If they're employees, they're going to be paying taxes on their scholarships."

 

He says players are already rewarded by getting a loan-free college education.  But the issue is not over - an appeal is expected.

"They're gong to continue to argue that playing a sport is voluntary and their point of contention is that you don't have to play a sport to receive a college degree," said Kent State University Deputy Athletic Director Devin Crosby.  

Crosby points out that if the same issue encompassed public universities, there could be a flip side for players who are considered employees, but choose to not unionize in "right to work" states.

"When you're an employee at a state institution, you're basically at-will, meaning that you could fired at any time," said Crosby.  "That would change the entire dynamic of college athletics.  Can you imagine a second-string quarterback being fired on Monday after a game?"

 

Wistrcill says athletes who love the game, choose to play and get a free or near-free ride might seem well compensated already, but not compared to the big money that flows through some college sports programs.

"When our top level coaches in some of these sports are making $5 million to $7 million a year, it's hard to justify that some of that money doesn't need to go around the system," said Wistrcill. 

Wistrcill says there are 150 scholarship athletes at The University of Akron and he thinks they're grateful to graduate without large amounts of student loan debt.

 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00

Akron Burglar Sentenced

An Akron man is being sent to prison for seven years for breaking into a house just before Christmas last year.  

This is not an ordinary burglary, thanks to the homeowner.  The man who lives at the house heard a noise that woke him up and left his bed to investigate.  The homeowner, armed with a gun, quickly realized an intruder was inside.  That intruder was Monte Harris, 24, who entered guilty pleas earlier this month.  The homeowner told Harris to freeze, but instead Harris lunged toward him.  The guy with the gun then decided to use it.  Harris was not hit with a bullet, but he was held at gunpoint until police arrived. 

Monday, 24 March 2014 00:00

Sunday Shooting In Akron

Akron police say they quickly solved an early Sunday morning shooting in the 1600 block of Wingfoot Way.  Lt. Rick Edwards says Melvin Prince, Jr., 22, of Virginia Avenue and Christopher Crenshaw, 19, of Chittenden Street are both charged with felonious assault.

The victim, 21-year old Joseph Campbell, Jr. of Peerless Avenue in Akron was found with a gunshot wound to his abdomen," said Edwards.

Campbell was taken to Akron City Hospital in serious condition.  Prince and Crenshaw were taken to the Summit County Jail.

Edwards says the shooting followed an argument over a woman.

 

 

Oppression3Some University of Akron students are increasing their multicultural awareness through a project designed to make them understand our differences and similarities.  

The topics included but weren't limited to bullying and body image, sexism, to homophobia, ableism to genocide," said UA Assistant Director or Learning-Living Communities Brandon 

Mikulski.It's called the Tunnel of Oppression - set up in one of the residence halls, where the path is covered with posters, pictures and multi-media displays. 

TunnelofOppression2

The displays include language that would othewise be considered offensive - and that's the point.  Organizers say that pointed language along with images or sounds that beg for emotion will get the attention of college students.  Some of them have experienced problems because they were not accepted by peers.  Others students may have recognized themselves as they walked through the "tunnel." Mikulski says awareness was the first goal.  Acceptance was the second.

"What we hope is to affect change among the greatest amount of people that we can get to take charge and want to be a part of that movement," said Mikulski.

At the end of the tunnel was a classroom, where counselors were on hand to initiate discussion and help students deal with the emotions they felt during the experience.  

"We've had a chance to get feedback from students and all around it's very positive and they're all learning and getting a chance to reflect on experiences that they've had even outside of the tunnel," said Ashley Taylor, a project assistant.

UA has staged tunnels of oppression in the past; however, this one was more comprehensive.  It was also open to students longer.

 

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.