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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cuyahoga Falls officials are seeing early success in a plan to turn their portion of the Cuyahoga River into a recreation area. Mayor Don Walters says people are enjoying the water.
"If you go down on any nice Saturday, you'll see kayaks in the water," said Walters. "It's going to take a couple of years for everything to naturalize and the vegetation to come in on the banks, so it's not toally healed yet as far as the river goes but it is being utilized."
Walters says people in rafts or kayaks are warned with signs when they get to the Portage Trail bridge that this can hardly be categorized as a lazy river.
"Some people go past that point but most people go back," said Walters. "To go beyond the Portage Trial bridge by the Sheraton you have to be a true professional. Those are level 5 rapids."
Walters says the city plans to do more to market the river activities next year. The city used grant money to remove two dams from the river last year. The dam removal prompted the river to begin to reshape itself, improve cleanliness and make the river usable for activities like rafting.
Walters says firefighters received some additional training in case they are needed for river rescues.
State troopers and Jackson Township police are not waiting for the weekend to stage an OVI checkpoint. They're setting up a checkpoint to screen people for drunk driving from 9:00 P.M. until 12:00 A.M.
The checkpoint will be located on Dressler Road near Fire Station #4.
Troopers say they'll also have plenty of cruisers around that part of the township tonight.
The city of Akron is selling some land.
Cheap. The price ranges from a nickel per square foot to .50 per square foot.
Planning and Urban Development Director Marco Sommerville calls it "A Lot for a Little" and it gives people a chance to buy vacant lots in their neighborhood so someone is taking care of them. He says the city has been tearing down dilapidated homes but the process leaves empty lots behind. The city owns the property but does not have the manpower to propery care for them, so the land becomes overgrown with weeds.
You can do so many things with it if you have grandchildren or you have kids that want to play, you can put a swingset out," said Sommerville. "You can do so many things with that property."
All laws or other regulations regarding land use still apply but Sommerville says the city is being flexible about dividing property.
"If both neighbors wanted a piece of the property, we would split it in half," said Sommerville. "Let's say only one person wants that property. Then we would sell it to that one person."
Sommerville says lots with 30-foot frontage are only $275, plus a $36 filing fee. You now need 50 feet to build a house and those lots are less than $3,000.
State troopers at the Canton patrol post think that alcohol may have been a factor in a fatal motorcycle crash in Clinton.
Troopers say Martin Gougler, 50, of Marshallville didn't make it around a curve on South 2nd Street. His Harley slammed into a guardrail and Gougler was killed.
Troopers say Gougler was not wearing a helmet.
The crash is under investigation.
The Gay Games officially got underway over the weekend.
While the majority of the Olympics-style competitions take place in Cleveland, it's more than just spillover in Akron. Golf takes place at Firestone Country Club. Track and Field events are at The University of Akron. Softball is scheduled for Firestone Stadium. A marathon will he held in Akron and the rodeo, a non-official event, was slated for the Summit County Fairgrounds.
There are about 8,000 athletes participating and thousands more to cheer them on.
"The economic impact for hotels, restaurants and entertainment complexes is going to be substantial," said John Garofalo with Gay Games 9.
There are also cultural and entertainment events scheduled through the 9-day Gay Games.
"Thursday night here in Akron is going to be our major day," said Garofalo. "We're going to be hosting the Flair Fest downtown. We'll be closing off part of Main Street in front of Lock 3 and the Indigo Girls are performing that evening."
Garofalo says most of the events are free to the public.