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 Children's Hospital is taking a proactive approach to making sure patients who receive certain steroid treatments are getting facts about a possible link to fungal meningitis. Dr. Micah Baird says some cerebral palsy patients are administered a drug that is manufactured at the same company as a steroid treatment that has allowed fungal meningitis to spread. All the medications distributed by New England Compounding Center have been recalled.
"We have called the 26 patients and done our best to get in touch with them and they're also going to receive a certified letter," said Baird.
Baird says there is no reason to think that any patients at his hospital were exposed.
"At this point, we're just waiting and making sure our families know about the possibility so if they do have symptoms, we can bring them in and evaluate."
Baird says everyone was surprised about the meningitis outbreak.
The Ohio Parole Board was no help for a Death Row inmate from Akron. Its clemency report, released today, includes a recommendation to Governor Kasich that Brett Hartman should not be granted clemency. He's scheduled to be executed November 13.
It may not be a surprise to Hartman - the board has made the same recommendation two other times. Attorneys wanted the board to consider a new psychological report on Hartman and the murderer himself wanted to ask the board to recommend that his sentence be reduced to 25-years to life so he can get to know the daughter he recently discovered and so he can continue to find a way to prove his innocence. The board notes, "It is unfortunate that this discovery did not occur earlier in Hartman's incarceration, however, it does not warrant a recommendation for clemency."
Hartman was convicted of murdering Winda Snipes, 46, in her Highland Square apartment in 1997. Snipes was stabbed more than 130 times. Her severed hands have never been found.
A Massillon judge can avoid a suspension - if he behaves.
Massillon Municipal Court Judge Edward Elum was brought before the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline for a couple of wrong doings.
First, he used foul language in open court and berated a man on probation, then altered his sentence without any attorneys.
Elum also got turned in for intervening in a Massillon police internal investigation - an agency with which the judge has a rocky history.
The Supreme Court agreed with the board that Elum should get a 6-month suspension that's stayed as long as nothing comes up during that period. It was noted that Elum doesn't have a history of problems on the bench and didn't do anything for personal gain.
It appears that more Summit County voters will cast ballots before election day than the number of early voters in 2008.
Summit County Board of Elections Director Joe Masich says
"That's 18% of the electorate at this point," said Masich. "In 2008, we voted 26% absentee and I believe we'll be over that number by the end of the election."
Here's the breakdown of early voting in Summit County so far:
55,227 ballots mailed to voters
7,839 walk in voters at board of elections offices
1,077 ballots completed at nursing homes
709 ballots sent to military or other voters overseas
Masich says there have been only minor problems so far, most of them stemming from ballots requested through the mail. People forget to sign the application, include necessary personal information or otherwise follow instructions.
"The nice thing about voting here is that if there is some missing information, obviously, we're right here at the board and we can acquire that for them," said Masich.
The board offices are open from 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. through Friday and 8:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M. next Monday through Thursday. CLICK HERE for complete schedule.
A public reprimand may be in store for Akron Municipal Court Judge Kathryn Michael.
The Ohio Supreme Courts Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline recommends a public reprimand after finding that Michael made a "serious violation" in the Code of Judicial Conduct when she suggested to a defendant pleased with his sentence that she was seeking a "promotion" and that he could tell his family about her.
Michael is on the ballot, running for Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge against Judge Tammy O'Brien, who currently holds the position.
The defendant had previously thanked Michael for "helping him out," which Michael clarified to the board only consisted of her accepting a plea deal. This is the exchange that took place immediately after:
JUDGE MICHAEL: I'm suspending 175 days on the basis that you obey all laws for the next year and I'm going
to credit you the five days that you've served to satisfy all your fines and costs, okay. You don't owe us any money.
Just stay out of trouble for the next year and you don't have to worry about me reimposing 175 days.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
JUDGE MICHAEL: Tell all your family how you feel about me because I'm running this year for Common Pleas Court.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
JUDGE MICHAEL: Okay. Thank you.
THE WITNESS: Oh, you trying to go for Common Pleas
JUDGE MICHAEL: lam. I'm trying to go for my promotion, so--
THE WITNESS: I got you.
JUDGE MICHAEL: --tell all your family.
THE WITNESS: Okay. Thank you. Thank you.
During the official hearing with the panel, Michael emphasized that the remarks were light hearted and sarcastic, but a poor choice that she regrets. She insists that there was no intent to imply that she would trade light sentences for votes.
The board stated that Michael deserved a public reprimand because monetary sanctions may not make a difference, since Michael already paid more than $3,600 in fines and costs for a different complaint earlier this year.
The board is not making a recommendation for punishment against Michael on another complaint after finding that it was not proven. Michael does not deny written statements that O'Brien holds a position that was "not earned," but does deny she broke any rules. She's referring to O'Brien being appointed to the bench, rather than being elected to the now-contested post.
The Ohio Supreme Court has appointed a separate panel to consider the disciplinary panel's recommendations.
Editor's note: The original vesion of this story mentioned only one of the petitions launched by Kimberly Clark. The second one, with an explanation of the difference, was added at 2:26pm.
The methamphetamine death of a 17-month old boy has prompted relatives of his now-jailed mother to lobby for change.
Patrick Lerch died after living in a Goodyear Heights meth house, at one point having a coffee filter containing meth shoved into his throat, according to court testimony. Relatives of Heather Lerch have renewed their effort to bring awareness to the problem and ask lawmakers to come down harder on people who could have made a difference in cases like that involving the toddler.
"We think that they should take it more seriously and bring charges against anyone who is found in a home where a child or even disabled people or elderly people are put into that situation," said Kimberly Clark of Barberton.
It was not just Patrick's mother who faced murder and other charges - there were three others who are now in prison as well, but Clark is not happy that two other people who lived in the house were not charged.
So far, the online petition drive that is specific to Patrick's case has received dozens of signatures. There is a separate petition that asks for general support from local and state lawmakers. That one has received more than 670 signatures, but is still not getting the type of attention that Clark wants to see.
"I haven't heard from any of them and I'm not satisfied about that," said Clark. " I wish I would hear from somebody, knowing that somebody would take it seriously."
Clark says she would like "Patrick's Law" to serve as a deterrent to prospective math manufacturers and to punish those who don't.
ANN UPDATE: Dash cam video, courtesy of the Streetsboro Police Department, is linked below.
A Columbiana woman is in trouble after police in Streetsboro say she was driving the wrong way on I-480 in parts of Streetsboro and Hudson.
Police say Ashley Steward, 24, refused to pull over to the lights and sirens early Saturday morning. The subsequent chase reached speeds of 80 mph before Stewart continued on State Route 14, eventually stopping her 2007 Lincoln at Shady Lake Drive.
The cops suspected alcohol was a factor, but Stewart refused to submit to a breathalyzer to determine her blood alcohol content. She got slapped with an OVI charge in addition to failure to comply with the order of a police officer.
Summit County sheriff's deputies assisted. One of their cruisers was damaged when the Lincoln rolled into it as deputies were getting Steward out of the car.
New evidence was introduced during an Ohio Parole Board hearing this morning for death row inmate Brett Hartman of Akron. It came in the form of a new psychological report, which defense attorneys used to urge the parole board to recommend that Hartman's life be spared.
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Brad Gessner says the hearing was conducted to allow both sides to introduce new evidence not heard in Hartman's other hearings to discuss clemency.
"The only new thing was a new psychological report they had on him, which confirmed that he had the background of someone who would be capable of this type of rage," said Gessner.
The "rage" Gessner refers to is the 1997 murder of Winda Snipes, 46, who was stabbed 138 times in her Highland Square apartment. Her severed hands were never found. Overwhelming evidence immediately led to Hartman, who claims he is innocent.
"We're hopeful that next Thursday, October 18, the parole board will make their findings for the governor and that will be the governor's call," said Gessner.
Hartman is scheduled to be executed November 13. Hartman was supposed to die by lethal injection in 2009 while the U.S. Supreme Court considered a case that included claims similar to some of Hartman's. His second execution date was scratched when the state decided to hold off on all executions due to some procedural questions.
The Akron chapter of the NAACP is offering free rides to people having trouble getting to the Summit County Board of Elections to register to vote or to cast a ballot before election day.
"As you know, the gas is high nowadays and they'll say, 'I can't afford a cab. I cannot do this,'" said Chapter President Ophelia Averitt. "We're offering them a ride to the polls, not telling them how to vote. That is their personal business."
For people who need to register to vote in the November election, time is running out. Today is the last day. The board of elections is open until tonight at 9:00.
The NAACP is thought of as an organization that caters exclusively to African-Americans. But Averitt says they help anyone and that includes white people who need help, too.
"Oh, certainly," said Averitt. "Do you know that a third of my members, including the mayor (Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic) and all of them are members of this association?"
Averitt says the free rides are good through the early voting cycle and includes anybody in Akron. Call 330.869.8955 or 330.865.6801 for more information.
Sheriff's deputies in Portage County are looking for the guy who robbed a convenience store early this morning in Randolph Township. Lt. Greg Johnson says the man entered the Circle K on Waterloo Road around 3:30 this morning and demanded money.
In the process, the robber threw the store clerk onto the floor and otherwise threatened her, but did not actually show a weapon. Johnson says the woman had only been an employee there for a short time. She did not require medical treatment.
He got away with some cash and several cartons of Marlboros.
The image above was a still shot taken from the store's surveillance video.
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