Wednesday, September 28, 2016


There will be a rootin’, tootin’ Beacon Journal get-together at 7 p.m. Sunday, October 9 at Papa Joe’s Restaurant, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road (where it meets Cuyahoga Falls’ Portage Trail Extension).
So far, 25 are committed to show up and there are 5 maybes. The number is growing daily, with Karen Chuparkoff Lefton being the latest "yes." 
 
 
I booked the room where we held our monthly BJ retirees lunches for years till too many died off. It can hold 40 to 45 people. The VIP room right off our usual room can hold 10 to 12 more, if we need that much space.
But I have to give Papa Joe’s a better head count before the day of the party. Late-minute showups are fine, too, but risk being seated outside the room.
So contact, as soon as possible, John Olesky:
Facebook: Beacon Journal Newsroom Alumni
                  or John Olesky
Phone: (330) 388-4466
We can talk Pulitzers, departed Ol’ Blue Walls legends or how many quarterbacks the Browns’ offensive line is going to send to Injured Reserve, or our travels or BJ afterlife.

This is for ALL BJ departments, and for retirees AND current Beacon employees. And for former BJ generals and privates. There's no rank on this night. Well, the party might rank up there with the best of the 21st century.
Want to party? This is the one you don’t want to miss!
John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)
World traveler for 20 years,
back home to party!
Los Angeles Times building’s sale closes
Los Angeles
Jerome Adamstein / Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Times building in downtown L.A. has been sold to Onni Group of VanThe Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles has been sold to Onni Group of Vancouver, Canada.

The Times has published in those buildings since 1935. Times Mirror Square will be redeveloped into a offices and retail and residential units.
The agreement for the 202 W. 1st Street historic property was signed in June, but the deal with Tribune Media didn’t close till Monday night.
The paper’s headquarters is a mix of five interconnected structures that fill an entire city block, bounded by Broadway and Spring and 1st and 2nd streets. A redevelopment would dramatically remake the City Center neighborhood by turning the aging buildings occupied by The Times and other businesses into a bustling, mixed-use center and maybe razing a few of the structures.
Onni owns at least eight other properties — including offices, apartments and an extended-stay hotel – in downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times — located downtown since its founding as the Los Angeles Daily Times in 1881 — has a lease until 2018, with two consecutive five-year options beyond that.

Onni was founded by Italian immigrant Inno De Cotiis with the company’s name a reverse of his first name.

De Cotiis, along with three of his brothers, had run the Vancouver developer Viam, but the brothers split the company up and went their separate ways.

Onni has offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago and Ensenada, Mexico, and is run by Inno’s son Rossano.

The Times building sale was triggered by the 2014 spinoff of The Times, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers from Tribune Co. into a separate company, Tribune Publishing, now known as Tronc.

Tribune Co., which was renamed Tribune Media, retained the Times building and other real estate, including The Times’ downtown printing facility off Olympic Boulevard.

In 2008 the Los Angeles Times eliminated 150 newsroom job in an effort to stay afloat. That’s when former BJ reporter Jim Ricci retired.

In Detroit Jim was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for getting Ahmad Rahman, a Black Panther imprisoned for 20 years for a murder he didn’t commit, released from prison.
Matthew Bodine played Jim in the "Redeemer," a 2002 USA Network cable movie about Jim's series on Rahman.

Jim has two adult daughters, opera singer Annie in New York and artist Laura in Los Angeles.

Their parents, Jim and Kathy, divorced after 30 years of marriage in 1999. Jim married Carrie, a TV and film executive. They have a son and daughter, who was born on Jim’s 55th birthday.

Jim still remembers Pat Englehart's Denobili cigars, Ben Maidenburg's newsroom rants and Ben James' naps at the City Desk.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016



PD and former BJ pop culture critic Mark Dawidziak, who seems to write a book every 12 days, has another one coming out in February.

This time Mark’s topic is “The Twilight Zone,” Rod Serling’s remarkable anthology TV series that scared the beejeebers out of viewers which teaching morality.

“Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone” has been edited by Brendan Deneen. Serling was the New York state born and New York state died genius.

Serling's most striking admonition, I think, is “There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.”

As if that will keep us from crapping our pants watching Serling’s scintillating safari’s into “the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.”
If I’m counting right, this will be Mark’s 13th book. They include:

Mark’s other books, all of them gems, include “Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness,”  "Mark Twain in Ohio," "Mark My Words," "Mark Twain on Writing,"  the 1994 horror novel, “Grave Secrets,” “The Columbo Phile: A Casebook,” “The Night Stalker Companion” and “The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula.”
I'm sure I missed a few, but who can keep up with such a prolific, and talented, writer. I taught him well when I was BJ TV Editor.
Mark’s household includes a cat named Poe (as in Edgar Allan Poe), a daughter named Becky and a wife named Sara, who joins Mark as they tour the area and the country performing plays tied to Poe, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and the Civil War, which wasn’t very civil at all if you know your history of Andersonville, Salisbury, Alton, Point Lookout, Camp Douglas, Belle Isle and Elmira, dubbed “Hellmira” by Confederate POWs.
 Both sides were guilty of abominable conditions in their prisoner of war camps.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Retired BJ reporter and sub radio guy Jim Carney and BJ reporter Katie Byard will celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary on Thursday, September 29.

Son Will Carney wrote:
“Happy anniversary! I hope you and Katie Byard get to do something fun!”

Katie recalls that wedding day in 1987:

“It was a beautiful fall day in Richfield. Jim and I decided it would be fun to dress up like a couple from the 50s (we were ahead of the curve when it came to themed events!), make Patrick, Will and Michael dress up like little maitre d’s, enjoy the evening with a bunch of friends in the upper room of the Richfield Tavern, share too many cocktail weenies with the group, cut a cake from the fab Budd's Bakery in Akron (decorated with Mickey and Minnie Mouse) and say ‘I do.’ Other stuff from Common Book of Prayer, thank u very much.

"Miss those who were there and are no longer with us. Blessed for those still supporting us and new friends we have made along the way. Blessed to share my life with Jimmy.”

Then they zipped off to their New Orleans honeymoon.


Katie also explains how Jim and her got to the “I do” stage of life: 

“We figure we owe it all to Tim Smith and Keith McKnight ... they hired us! In 1983, Keith took me to the old Iacomini's on Exchange Street; did his pleasant grumble and said something like we have to go through this rigamorole -- having you take a test etc ... but I'm pretty sure we're going to hire you.

“I was so grateful; I had no money, recession was on ... William Hershey (I worked for him in the Columbus bureau) put my rental car on his credit card -- I reimbursed him ... you couldn't pay cash for a rental car and those were before the days when it was easy to get a credit card while in college.”

Ah, Bill Hersey, the slave to Rover for all those years, and the State Desk reporter who had to hang up on me while covering roving United Mine Workers trying to shut down non-union mines in southeast Ohio because someone pulled a gun on him. Never a dull moment around Bill, particularly when Pat Englehart was part of the exciting mixture.

Patrick Carney, Will Carney and Michael Carney are Jim’s sons by former Cleveland Scene and BJ reporter Denise Grollmus. 

Patrick has a ton of Grammy Awards as part of the Black Keys band and lives in New York City with second wife Emily Ward;  Michael, Columbus College of Art and Design grad with a Grammy for his Black Keys album art, lives in Brooklyn with Joanna Grant; and Will supervises engineers for Amtrak out of St. Louis. 

Will moved from Peninsula where he was Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway superintendent. Railroading has been his passion and life since he was a teenager. 

The Carney boys are all Firestone High graduates, as is Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach.

The Carney boys' paternal grandparents are Wheeling, West Virginia native William "Bill" James Carney, who died in 2010, and Madge Slate Carney, a former Army nurse who passed away in 1995.

Jim's siblings are Patsy Carney Hughes, who died in 1997, and Ralph Carney (who lives in San Francisco with Deena Zacharin and is the father of Hedda Carney).  

Akron and her former BJ co-workers paid their final tribute to Connie Bloom on Sunday at Summit ArtSpace, in her third-floor studio and the adjoining open space.

Hundreds came for the “party” that Connie wanted, including husband Bob Shields.

So did those who shared Ol’ Blue Walls with Connie, who went from BJ Features editor and pet columnist to one of Ohio’s premier fabric art (quilts) gurus.

Former BJ arts and culture critic Elaine Guregian, who left 44 E. Exchange Street to do  PR work among medical professionals; former BJ artist Chuck Ayers of “Crankshaft” comics fame; former BJ art department chief Art Krummel; his wife, former BJ reporter Charlene Nevada; former BJ businee reporter Mary Ethridge; BJ photographer Lew Stamp, taking photos of everyone in sight at the love-in for Connie, including his former co-workers; former BJ business writer Gloria Irwin; former BJ photographer Lew Henderson; and former BJ assistant State Desk Editor/Newsroom Electronics Coordinator/TV Editor John Olesky, who spent nearly two decades two desks away from Connie in the BJ Features Department, who purchased one of her masterpieces so that he can feel Connie’s spirit in his Tallmadge home for the rest of his life.

Moustache Yourself, the band that Connie selected, played respectfully as Connie’s town gathered in her honor.

As per Connie’s instructions, all of the proceeds from the sale of her fabric art work went to benefit Artists of Rubber City and Summit ArtSpace.

Now Connie rests for the ages, with Action Line’s unique Craig Wilson already preceding her into the Great Beyond. She began in 1973 under Craig’s tutelage, and blossomed into a fine editor and a finer person.

Farewell, Connie. We’ll all join you some day.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


The Mad Hatter and the Mad Genius are celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary today in blissful, scorching Phoenix, Arizona.

Let Stuart Warner, the perpetual storyteller, BJ writing coach and retired haberdashery promoter, relate this tale of his whirlwind courtship with Debbie Van Tassel:

“We had our first and only date on May 22, 1982, moved in together on Monday, May 25 and married exactly four months later, Sept. 25, 1982. Impetuous? Perhaps. But 34 years later, we're still going strong. And every day since has been like opening another present. Happy anniversary, my love.”
They should put that on a billboard. Well, maybe  their daughter Denise could do that. She’s editorial director/digital at Billboard Magazine, which has been serving the music entertainment business since 1894.
Stuart came to the BJ (1979-99) after 10 years with Knight-Ridder's Lexington newspaper. He was at the PD 1999-2008, and is in the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame.
And forever in the hearts and minds of those who worked alongside him at Ol’ Blue Walls. One of my favorite moments was when Stuart walked in after a vacation and showed up at the Features Department, which he ran at that time. Every member of his staff was wearing a hat.
After all, Stuart has more hats than the Pope.
The Kaintucky by cracky escapee has two other daughters. Emilie Warner Clemmens and Amanda Warner Poynter.

That kid from Firestone High who collects Grammys like M&Ms at music awards and the guy who builds things and then writes books about them will be the spotlight duet for the Akron Roundtable’s 40th anniversary celebration dinner.

The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, whose father’s main claim to fame was gashing his head into a sign while hurrying across a downtown Akron street, and author David Giffels, who believes that if I build it there’s a book in it, are the featured conversationalists.

The patron party will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday, October 3 at the John S. Knight Center, 77 East Mill Street, Akron. Cocktail party starts at 6 p.m. (giving patrons a head start on the drinking).
The dinner will begin at 7 p.m. At 7:45 p.m., Patrick and David are on the stage for their scintillating conversation, after “mixing and mingling” (PR release’s words) with the guests from 6 p.m. on.

Want to show up? It’s only $1,500 for a table of 10 for corporate tables. For the peons, it’s $75 just to get in the door.

Carney, with fellow former Firestone High grad Dan Auerbach, produced albums like “The Big Come Up” (2002),Thickfreakness” (2003), “Rubber Factory” (2004), a tribute to their Akron roots, “Magic Potion” (2006), “Attack & Release” (2008), “Brothers” (2010), “El Camino” (2011) and “Turn Blue” (2014).

Carney and Auerbach record with Nonesuch Records. They have played before sellout crowds from Australia to Europe and throughout America.

Proudly watching this skyrocketing to fame has been Carney’s father, retired BJ reporter and all-round nice guy Jim Carney, and stepmom Katie Byard, still a reporter at Ol’ Blue Walls.

In 2009, Patrick also formed the band Drummer, in which he plays bass. Each of the band¹s members has played drums in another band.

An associate professor of English at the University of Akron, which no longer has to endure the leadership of the Scarborough unfair, Giffels wrote a book about repairing an 1813 Tudor house and has one coming out about building a casket with his father. Don’t ask.

After this dynamic pair, the Akron Roundtable will have to settle for such lesser lights as Washington Post syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. (October 20), Pro Football Hall of Fame executive director David Baker (November 17), who is taking a beginner’s course in field turf management, and Huntington Bancshares CEO Stephen D. Steinour (December 8).

These are gigantic steps down from Carney and Giffels, but the Akron Roundtable probably will recover from the humiliation.
October 9 BJ reunion revving up

BJ Reunion update:

Definitely at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9 at a restaurant to be named later. Either at Papa Joe’s or in Chapel Hill, depending on how many RSVPs I get.

So far, 14 say that they will be there. I need to know the number by Wednesday so I’ll know how large a room we’ll need.

COMING:

Charles Montague

Elaine Guregian

Curt Brown

Bob Dyer

Ann Sheldon Mezger

Ott & Ann Gangl

Jane Snow

Betsy Lammerding

Doug Oplinger

George Bing Davis

Bill Hunter

John Olesky

Russ Musarra

 
MAYBE

Roger Mezger (4:30 Bengals game)

Those in departments other than the Newsroom also are passing the word to their former co-workers, too.
 
NO SHOWS

Mark Dawidziak will be celebrating his wedding anniversary in New York or New England.

Sarah Vradenburg will be traveling from New York City to Ohio.

Kathy Fraze

Colleen Murphy Tigelman

Please respond on the Beacon Journal Alumni Facebook page or directly to me via email at jo4wvu@neo.rr.com  and I'll talk to the restaurant manager to make sure he/she can guarantee a room to handle the crowd number that I give them. I won't stop till I have a convenient place where we can all be in the same room.

Thank you.

I'm looking forward to the BJ reunion, open to ALL departments.

John Olesky

 

I received a couple of interesting emails from those who will not be there:

 
 
 
Sorry, please add the following to the not-able-to-attend list:
 
      Kathy Goforth
      Charles Buffum
      Judge Crater
 
In August, two of the three of us on the above list  stopped by Sharon and Paul Lorentzen’s posh Akron  Rose Blvd villa during Goforth’s annual cousin’s annual reunion in Richfield and encountered : Russ Musarra, who for some reason, still remembers my middle name [Walbridge, but that’s off the record]; a gruff cartoonist who looks like he should live under a bridge and eat billy goats, but is offset by his lovely helpmate, Lisa, who looks too young to become a first-time  grandparent the week after we left; an unnamed former city editor with the deep background initials Charleen Nevada Krummel, and her artist-retiree hubby — let’s call him “Art” — who apparently did better in his BJ retirement package than I did.  As for us Gobuffs, we still are alive and thriving in the peace and quiet of midtown Manhattan, where the dawn and every damn garbage truck both come up like thunder outside our bedroom window.  I am in regular contact with a number of BJ vets, including Don Winbush, Bill Hershey, Tim Smith, and Dick McBane, the latter who agrees that it was a privilege and a blast to work for the Beacon when newspapers were considered past of lower-case democracy.  Have
 a good lunch.  No, have a perfect day lunch — domestic wine only, of course.  Buff
And from Dick McBane:
 
 
 
A general greeting to all concerned ---
 
      My wife (Marilynn) and I will not be attending the Sunday evening reunion, but I'll be there in spirit and wish all those attending, and those not attending as well, abundant blessings. It's just a bit too far regardless of how good the company would be. 
As I read the local Gwinnett County paper -- four mornings each week -- I think often of BJ glory days of the past. The Gwinnett paper is a very good publication -- well written, well edited, and well aware of the role it plays in the wider Atlanta community. From a quality standpoint I hold it far superior to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The AJC, I believe, fell prey to its own reputation and is so proud of itself that it has become careless about both content and composition. Besides, as a metropolitan paper it has become needlessly expensive. I cut off my subscription very quickly after we moved here -- a decision which was made easier by the fact that the AJC eliminated its Gwinnett County edition .
 
      Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to cover a criminal case in a Gwinnett County court. I wonder, but I'm not about to go off to find out. Bringing in the paper from the driveway, and reading it during breakfast is enough excitement for me. Besides, we have two grandchildren here in college, plus two more here who will soon also be headed for the halls of higher learnng, and two off in Texas who have a few years yet before college beckons. And, I can be proud of the fact that I worked for the ABJ when it was the best newspaper in Ohio. I'd start a list of co-workers, but too many names would be left out, and Ben Maidenburg would raise hell about why I was so careless. 
 
      So, to all those at the BJ reunion on 10-9-16, enjoy and rejoice that you've been a part of a great newspaper, working with some of the best in the business, and have rich memories to help keep you warm on some of those cold December mornings in Ohio.
 
      Dick McBane
      Lilburn, GA
 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Connie Bloom with John Olesky in her fabric art studio in Summit ArtSpace

Tribute party to Connie Bloom at 3-6 p.m. Sunday

Dorothy Shinn, long-time BJ art critic, wrote an excellent article about the upcoming party (the word Connie wanted) for the late Connie Bloom, who retired as BJ Features editor and pet columnist to blossom into Ohio’s fabric art guru (quilt art in older days),  and publisher of Ohio’s #1 magazine about fabric art, QSDS Voice.
Connie learned her journalism the hard, and effective way, under the tutelage of eccentric BJ Action Line leader the late Craig Wilson. Many eventual Ol’ Blue Walls reporters and editors began in Action Line, including Betsy Lammerding, who also retired from the BJ Features Department. I had the priviledge of working with both women.
I wouldn’t miss Connie’s party for the world. She was a warm-hearted individual without a mean bone in her body. There aren’t enough like her in our world, particularly with all the rancor stirred up in Presidential elections and wars.
Anyway, here’s Dot’s article as it appeared in the BJ:
Artspace to celebrate life of Connie Bloom
Longtime journalist, artist who died Aug. 29 wanted party instead of memorial
By Dorothy Shinn
Beacon Journal art and architecture critic
A celebration of the life of Connie Bloom will be held Sunday at Summit Artspace in her thirdfloor studio.
Ms. Bloom, who was born in 1947, died Aug. 29 of cancer. She wanted to be remembered as she was before her illness, and asked that friends, acquaintances and patrons gather that day to tell stories, admire her studio and buy the things she left behind. Fellow artist Joan Colbert said Ms. Bloom left strict instructions that there be food, wine and a band, Moustache Yourself.
“It’s a party,” said Colbert, whose studio is on the same floor. “Connie insisted we call it a party.”
She wanted the remaining quilts, fabrics, cards, equipment and supplies in her studio sold to benefit Artists of Rubber City and Summit Artspace.
Ms. Bloom was a journalist who found art later in life, after more than 30 years of pounding the keyboards at the Beacon Journal. She was hired in 1973 as a reporter for Action Line, the newspaper’s service that answered readers’ questions of all kinds, and over the years served as food writer, copy editor and pets writer, among other positions.
By the time she had retired from the Beacon Journal in 2008, telling stories with words had taken a firm backseat to telling them with a needle, thread and fabric.
She also founded and edited an art quilt magazine, the QSDS Voice; ran a political campaign; wrote life stories for Remember Me Biographies; and campaigned for Bernie Sanders.
She was an outspoken free spirit, and loved her husband, Bob Shields, animals and her studio at Summit Artspace, more or less in that order.
“I knew her before she moved in here as an acquaintance from Highland Square,” Colbert said. “Then, when she really started doing the art work, I told her I thought there was going to be a studio opening coming up here at Summit Artspace. She had a small space at the Red Light and needed more room.
“You never saw a woman fly into action like she did when she heard that, she wanted it so bad. This was her baby.” Fellow artist Terry Klausman agreed. “Connie and I were awarded studios at Summit Artspace just two weeks apart in 2010. It was one of the happiest days of her life,” Klausman recalled. “She told me several times that if anything bad happened to her financially, she would rather lose the house and keep the studio.” He continued, “Connie’s important works are in the homes of her memorial quilt clients. She brought great comfort to those who had lost a loved one or a beloved pet. “She would listen to the client’s stories about the subject of the quilt. Favorite articles of clothing and anything made from fabric were included in it. She would use her drawing and painting skills along with her writing skills” to tell their story in fabric and thread. Colbert said she, Klausman and fellow Summit Artspace artist Katina Pastis Radwanski were among the handful of people who knew of Ms. Bloom’s illness. “She swore us to secrecy,” Colbert said. “She didn’t want people coming by and asking her how she was. She had all sorts of ways of saying why she wasn’t here.” “Connie wanted a happy celebration, not a funeral,” said Pastis Radwanski. “She told us that except for the discomfort, she was not particularly sad about dying … she saw an advantage in having some time to put things in order to her liking and to form the details of her farewell gathering.”
Photos, articles and artifacts from her life will be on display at the memorial party, Pastis Radwanski said.
Dorothy Shinn writes about art and architecture for the Akron Beacon Journal. Send information to her at the Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 443090640 or dtgshinn@att.net .