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
16th District Congressman Jim Renacci is defending his "no" vote on the fiscal cliff bill.
Renacci was one of seven Republicans from Ohio who voted against the bill. Six Republicans supported the bill through their votes and all members of the House who are Democrats voted in favor of it. So, what did Renacci not like?
"The bill spends too much, taxes too much and cuts far too little," said Renacci, who says it's a quick fix that only ensures the problem will surface again and a gain. In fact, he predicts similar dilemmas next month when Congress is expected to vote on the government's debt ceiling.
It was an opportunity wasted by both parties to really fix the real problem here in Washington, which is that we are spending too much money and we are pushing the problem just down the road," said Renacci.
"All in all, I think it's a pretty good deal for the people in our area," said 13th District Congressman Tim Ryan, who supported the measure.
Renacci says he was particularly disappointed with the process that ended when a couple of U.S. Senators negotiated a proposal, voted on it within 20 minutes, then called on the House to vote as well. Renacci says he and a couple of his staffers spent several hours trying to figure out exactly what was included in the new law.
Ryan agrees that there is a better way to do business and that constituents expect Congress to act more diligently.
Akron police say the number of people who applied for jobs in the department could be a good sign that the city will be able to add some diversity in the department. 1,509 people submitted applications for 40 open positions.
"So, if we get more people we can draw from individuals, that pool of individuals, and if they're more diverse, we can actually draw from them and get more diversity if pass those six components of the test," said Akron Police Lt. Charles Brown.
Brown agrees with Mayor Don Plusquellic and others that the make up of the police and fire departments should better reflect the diversity within the city of Akron. He warns, however, that the city cannot hire people based on racial background.
Our goal is to leverage the best possible candidates that can serve the citizens and hopefully, those individuals will look like the citizens that we serve," said Brown.
Brown had not had a chance yet to look at the specific breakdowns within that pool of applicants. It shows that 27% of them identified themselves as non-white. 17% were female.
Akron city officials had hoped to add deeper pockets of diversity in the ranks of city safety forces with a recent round of applications for positions in both the police and fire departments. Mayor Don Plusquellic stated more than once in 2012 that the safety forces, particularly the police department, should reflect diversity within the city.
About 1,500 people applied for the 40 open police officer positions. Most are male. Most are white. It's a similar story for the fire department, where 1,807 people applied for 36 firefighter/medic jobs. All applicant data were provided by the city, including calculation of percentages.
*not Hispanic or Latino
The applicants' racial data, compiled and released by the city represents slightly fewer applicants than the overall number. We assume that's because some applicants did not complete that portion of the application. It's also important to consider the relevancy of some of the numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentages do not necessarily correlate with the number of eligible applicants because some are likely to be too young or too old to apply. The numbers do, however, remind us of the racial make up of the city of Akron and allow us to attach a number to the people - young and old - who are served by the police and fire departments.
At this point, the data really offer no indication of what the racial make up of the safety forces may be when the select few are actually handed a gun or a hose and sworn-in. There is no way to accurately predict which of the candidates will score higher than others on civil service tests and which of the highest scoring candidates will pass a background check.
Applications were due Friday.
Fans have suspected it for weeks. Strong rumors were surfacing last night. Some media reported it earlier this morning and now the Browns have made it official: Cleveland Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur has been fired. General Manager Tom Heckert also got a pink slip today from team owner Jimmy Haslam.
(Cleveland Browns release) Tom Heckert and Pat Shurmur were relieved of their duties as general manager and head coach, respectively, of the Cleveland Browns today, the team announced.
“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future,” said Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam. “I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide. They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers.”
“This decision was not an easy one because of my relationship with Tom and Pat and the fact that they are both quality people,” said Browns CEO Joe Banner. “Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do. On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships. I have a great deal of respect for Tom and Pat, and I want to wish them and their families nothing but the best.”
“I leave the Browns feeling very good about many of the things we accomplished here and the direction in which I believe this team is headed,” Heckert said. “Having been around this franchise growing up, I was really excited for the opportunity to come here three years ago, and I want to thank Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren for making that possible. I also want to acknowledge many of the hard-working people in the Browns organization, especially our player personnel staff, who are outstanding at what they do and supported me immensely in my role. I wish the team nothing but the best as they move forward.”
“I am extremely proud of the players on this team, who I felt made tremendous strides and helped to make the Cleveland Browns relevant again,” Shurmur said. “I want to thank them, as well as my entire coaching staff for making the past two years enjoyable. My coaches are outstanding teachers and even better men. They helped me lead these players through a unique time of transition. This group of players will achieve success soon, and there will be a part of me that will feel very good when that happens.
“I want to thank Randy Lerner, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert for bringing me in and having the faith in me to lead this football team. I am disappointed that we did not win more games, but I do know the Browns are on their way to becoming a consistent winner. I appreciated the time spent with Jimmy (Haslam) and Joe (Banner), and wish them all the best as they provide a new vision for the Cleveland Browns.”
People who work in bars often refer to New Year's Eve as "amateur night" ... a lot of people ordering drinks when they usually don't drink at all.
"Everybody comes out and gets really, really, really drunk and right at 12:00 they all disappear," said Sarah, a bartender at Arnie's in West Akron. "Right after the new year hits, they're all gone."
Sarah says Arnie's mainly attracts regular customers, even on New Year's Eve, but she she's worked at other places whose customers try to use the last night of the year to give new meaning to "party." She says New Year's Eve drinkers make a couple of mistakes that result in a not-so-pleasant New Year's Day.
"I think everybody mixes too much, doing shots and beers and drinking wine and then drinking champagne at midnight and just mixing all that together is just a bad idea," said Sarah.
She says people should drink a glass of water between every drink. It will help avoid dehydration, which is a main cause of hangovers.
Sarah also recommends that people who may be planning to have more than just a couple of drinks avoid dark liquors or other drinks that contain larger amounts of sugar.
Sarah's main advice is to worry less about the hangover and more on getting a safe ride home.
Warm temperatures are credited for record breaking attendance at First Night Akron last year, but organizers say admission button sales last week had outpaced sales in 2011 when an estimated 18,000 people showed up.
"There's rock bands, acoustic bands, dancing, theater,so it really runs the gamut of whatever someone's interest is, we've got it down here," said Communications Director Sharon Gillberg.
Gillberg is particularly anxious for people to see "Air Aquarium," a new attraction this year.
"It's going to have a full-sized inflatable Blue Whale that people can walk through and kind of just get a grasp the enormity of this creature and then there'll be other activities, themed aquatically, around that display," said Gillberg.
Another change is that each floor of Greystone Hall features a different type of performance, including ballroom dancing and a harp workshop. Standard First Night events aren't going anywhere, according to Gillberg, who says people always look forward to at least one of the two fireworks shows.
If you're operating a ski resort, you couldn't ask for better weather the last few days: Cold and snowy.
It's that type of weather that is allowing Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort to open Friday afternoon. Marketing Director Steve Mackel says resort operators are glad for the natural snow, but it's more important to have temperatures low enough to make and sustain snow. It was a difficult challenge last year when snow barely fell and temperatures often turned artificially-produced snow into water.
"We'd like to get open mid-December or sooner," said Mackel. "We try to get open before the holidays, but being in Ohio, you never know what the weather is going to be like."
Mackel says visitors on the Brandywine side will notice a new $5 million lodge. The lodge on the Boston Mills side has also undergone renovations.
Boston Mills opens Friday afternoon. Brandywine opens Saturday afternoon. Mackel says as much of both sides as possible will be usable to skiers, but some trails may not be ready.
The Summit County Board of Elections is putting together a budget for the new year.
Summit County Council already approved a spending plan for 2013, using an educated guess regarding the amount needed for the board of elections. 2012 was a particularly expensive year for the board due to the presidential election. 2013 should not be as expensive.
Still, Board Director Joe Masich says they have needs that go beyond the enormity of any given election cycle. A major investment in technology has been discussed.
"We were told that they don't have much capital money left at all, so I'm not overly optimistic, but we're going to try," said Masich.
One idea is to purchase enough electronic poll books for all polling places. The devices are similar to a small laptop computer. Even if they don't do that, Masich says existing voting machines will need to be replaced soon.
"Our regular voting equipment is over ten years old and it's starting to show signs of exhaustion, believe it or not," said Masich.
A long day and a long night for road crews, even though the winter storm wasn't as stubborn as predicted. In Akron,
"The primaries or main roads have all been plowed and salted," said Akron Snow and Ice Control Supervisor Keith Harpster. "There's a little bit of re-coverage in them and through the night, we've been plowing out the secondaries and trying to get some salt down."
Harpster says they've been able to treat about 80% of the secondary streets.
That's why parking bans are still in effect in Akron and many other communities, including Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Green and Kent.
It could have turned out differently if snowfall predictions of 8 - 12 inches had been realized. Instead, according to "spotters" reporting to the National Weather Service, snowfall totals came in less than the minimum amount that we expected with about 5 - 6 inches throughout Summit County, 5.4" at Akron-Canton Airport, 4" in Alliance, 6.5" in Kent, 7" in Wadsworth, 5" in Doylestown and 6.2" in Wooster.
Harpster says his drivers are still on duty as a slight amount of additional snow is expected today.
What do you do when the weather forecaster calls for about a foot of snow? High-tail it to ACME or Giant Eagle or Target or any store that sells the essentials.
The ACME on West Market Street was bustling this morning, just as the snow was beginning to fall.
"Everybody is picking up bread, milk, alcoholic beverages and salt," said Store Director Russ Fern, who described the atmosphere as "panic mode."
Ross says he appreciates the business, but it's hard to imagine the store being closed and as long as it's open, people will find a way to get there if they need something. He says the only time he remembers being completely shut down was the day after the blizzard of 1978.
Matt Clark stopped by for milk, toilet paper and a couple of donuts.
"So we don't have to go tomorrow," said Clark. "It's going to be all snowed in, might as well get it over with."
His wife Angela is working second shift today, but didn't seem worried since she works very close to home.
Fern was happy to see people buying snow shovels - a lot of them are left over from last year, when we barely needed one. Toy McDonald of Akron was there to exchange her new snow shovel for a bigger one. She's a first-time buyer because she just bought her first house, but she does not plan to use it herself.
"No, definitely not, no, no, no. I'm eight and a half months pregnant," said McDonald. She says the "men in the house" can take care of the shoveling.
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