Saturday, February 25, 2017

Jan Leach on Trump banning of some media

If you want to watch the video of Jan Leach talking about the Trump White House banning media that doesn’t worship the ground he walks on, click on

As most of you know, Jan is on the Kent State faculty after being Editor of the BJ.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Also Gerry Smith of Composing
Woody Williams of Mailroom
Trump policy: Genuflect or reject

WTF time at the Trump/Bannon White House

The White House blocked a number of news outlets from covering spokesman Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session on Friday afternoon. 

Spicer held an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.  

Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were news organizations President Trump has singled out for criticism, including CNN. 

The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were among the other news organizations not permitted to attend.

Journalists from several right-leaning outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network. 

A number of major news organizations were also let in to cover the gaggle. That group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Reuters, Bloomberg and McClatchy. 

Reporters from The Associated Press and Time magazine were allowed into the gaggle but refused to attend. 

The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) sharply criticized the decision. 

Journalists gathered in the briefing room to await the gaggle. When aides came to gather the pool, those who were not selected were turned back by Grisham in the West Wing hallway leading to Spicer's office. 

After some reporters voiced their frustration with the arrangement, Grisham asked a uniformed Secret Service officer to tell them to leave the hallway. 

The incident escalated Trump’s long-running feud with the media.

The president repeatedly slammed the “dishonest media” earlier Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, while also saying he respects the First Amendment. 

“I love the First Amendment; nobody loves it better than me. Nobody,” he said. 

“But as you saw throughout the entire campaign, and even now, the fake news doesn't tell the truth,” he continued. “I say it doesn't represent the people, it doesn't tell and never will represent the people, and we're going to do something about it.”

I wonder what John Knight, who refused to vote for Richard Nixon because he was so corrupt, would do today.

Thomas Jefferson disagrees with Trump and Bannon.  Jefferson said a free press, even when its writes things that politicians don't like, is essential to a sound democracy.

This sure sounds like "The Emperor Has No Clothes" conundrum. Genuflect or eject is the order of the day. Breitbart, to the right of Attilla the Hun, gets in, but CNN doesn't.

Adolph Hitler is dancing on his grave.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

View from Moscow: Trump is Putin’s puppet


Mikhail Fishman is the editor-in-chief of the Moscow Times, an English-language weekly newspaper published in Moscow. The paper is critical of Vladimir Putin; indeed, it was targeted twice in 2015 by Russian hackers and has been attacked repeatedly by pro-Kremlin pundits.

He describes President Trump as Putin’s puppet.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dick Gresock’s wife passes away

Lorraine Gresock, wife of BJ Composing retiree Dick Gresock, passed away Friday, February 17.

They were married 58 years.

Dick, the late Kenny Wright and I were a Composing/Newsroom partnership that ushered in the computer age in the newsroom and back shop.

Lorraine Gresock
Dick and I did a lot of formatting work together before the computers were improved enough so that every editor and reporter could do it without formatting.

Pat Englehart was the BJ’s first newsroom electronics coordinator. I succeeded Pat and trained the first person in the newsroom on the first terminal in the newsroom. Then my techie skills made me the TV Editor because Channels was the most complex formatting required.

Dick and I often shared monthly BJ retirees gatherings at Papa Joe’s in the Valley. Ken also showed up a few times.

Lorraine’s obituary:

Dick Gresock
Lorraine Gresock

Lorraine Gresock, age 82 of Granger Township, passed away on Friday, February 17, 2017 after a brief battle with cancer; her loving family was by her side. She was born on July 10, 1934 in Indiana, Pennsylvania to Earl J. and Marie (nee Krug) Lieb. Richard (Dick) Gresock and Mary were married on June 20, 1959.

Lorraine was a homemaker and a devoted wife, mother and a friend to many. She enjoyed playing cards, Bunko, bowling and traveling.

She will be dearly missed by her husband, Dick; children, Marie (Robert) Elium, Richard (Jackie) Gresock, John (Teresa Holland) Gresock, Kathy (Jeff) Yarian; grandchildren, Jacob (Jen) and Elizabeth Elium, Logan, Lauren Gresock, Joshua, Adam, Tricia Holland-Gresock, Tyler, Nathan and Evan Yarian; brother, Earl John Lieb; sister, Connie Davis; and a wide circle of friends.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Carlson Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, 3477 Medina Road (corner of River Styx & Rt. 18), Medina, Ohio 44256. Mass of Christian Burial on Monday, February 20, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. (please meet at church). Holy Martyrs Church, 3100 Old Weymouth Road, Medina, Ohio 44256. Fr. Stephen Dohner officiating. Cremation will then take place.

Published in Akron Beacon Journal from Feb. 18 to Feb. 19, 2017
Woody Williams passes away

William “Woody” Williams, who spent 42 years at the BJ, in the mailroom packaging department, passed away February 13.

Woody’s obituary:

Woody Williams
William "Woody" Williams

William (Woody) Williams passed away peacefully on February 13, 2017 surrounded by his family. He was 93 years old.

Woody was preceded in death by his wife, Gerry; son, Jack; parents, Richard and Kittie; and brother, Jack Williams. Woody was a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. For those of us who knew Woody we are all the better for it.

Woody was a graduate of East High School, and an employee of the Akron Beacon Journal for 42 years. He loved to bowl, golf, and play euchre at the Jednota Club. His main love was horse racing.

Woody is survived by his children, David (Irene) Williams, Patty (Tom) Tubbs, and Steven (Robin) Williams; grandchildren, David, Mark, Trisha, Eric, and Kelly; great-grandchildren, Matthew, Michael, Allie, Kendall, Hailey, Mya, Kylee, and Brody; and many dear friends. The family would like to thank the entire staff at Green Village for their kind and loving care.

In keeping with Woody's wishes, there will be a private memorial service for the family. Dads hold our hands for a little while and hold our hearts forever. In lieu of flowers, if you wish, please make a memorial donation in Woody's name to Green Village Activity Fund, 708 Moore Road, Akron, Ohio 44319. (ADAMS MASON FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY, 330-535-9186)
Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Feb. 19, 2017
Rosa Parks’ rent angel dies

The guy who quietly paid Rosa Parks’ rent in Detroit for more than a decade passed away Friday.

That would be Mike Ilitch, the Little Caesars founder and Detroit Tigers owner.

For more than a decade, Ilitch paid for Rosa Parks' Riverfront Apartments rent in downtown Detroit, according to CNN affiliate WXYZ.

That story came to light thanks to Damon Keith, a Detroit native and federal judge.

"They don't go around saying it, but I want to, at this point, let them know, how much the Ilitches not only meant to the city, but they meant so much for Rosa Parks, who was the mother of the civil rights movement," Keith told WXYZ.

Read More
Rosa Parks, the civil rights icon, died in 2005.
Her refusal to move to the back of the bus so whites could have a better seat sparked the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. Parks later moved to Detroit.
Guess who's coming for dinner at the Kovatch house?

Ol’ Blue Walls retirees are gator magnets

Former BJ vice president/finance and administration John Kovatch had interesting “company” show up on his propety.

Let John explain:

“The neighborhood gator was sunning himself today and sharing the shoreline with a couple of birds. I decided to swim in the pool, rather than the lake.

Carolyn and John Kovatch without the gator visitor
At least John’s alligator isn’t as bold as the one who spent the night in the garage of retired BJ printer Dick Latshaw. It seems Dick didn’t close his garage door sufficiently so the gator took that as an invitation to look around the Latshaws’ Pawleys Island, South Carolina home.

Wife Pat’s understandable admonition to Dick: “Always close the %$$# garage door.”

The Kovatches own homes in The Villages, Florida and in Green. John and Carolyn bought a home in The Village of Charlotte. Paula's house is in The Village of Silver Lake.

John’s career included University of Akron associated vice president/controller, Knight-Ridder vice president finance and administration, Ernest & Young CPA, and currently JEK Accounting Service before his Kent State and Euclid High days.

He’s from Massillon, Ohio.
The alligators live wherever they want.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ernie Pyle, America’s #1 war correspondent

Ernie Pyle, war casualty
Sorry I missed it but the most famous war correspondent in World War II, Ernie Pyle, died 72 years ago yesterday.

It was February 18, 1945.

Pyle, who interviewed the grunt soldier rather than the generals, was killed by Japanese machinegun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific.

Pyle was born in Dana, Indiana, and earned his Pulitzer Prize while dodging enemy fire. He was imbedded before it became a national term.

Sharon Downing, her son Jonathan, his daughter Piper, John Olesky
meet on street in The Villages, Florida   
-- photo by Paula Tucker
Bumping into BJ memories

Even though there are 120K living in The Villages, Florida, it feels like a tiny town of 500 when you go to events.

We regularly run into people we know. I run into fellow Mountaineers from my native West Virginia.

First, former BJ State Desk reporter Paula Tucker and I encountered a couple from Keyser, West Virginia. I asked them if they knew the BJ’s most famous Keyser imports, former managing editor Scott Bosley (today a Kalamazoo, Michigan retiree) and former contrarian sports columnist Tom Melody (still lurking in Akron, I think).

Keep in mind that both are in the Keyser High School Hall of Fame in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, where some of its scenery is described by John Denver in “Country Roads,” which has been proclaimed as the official state song (Denver sang it at the 1980 opening of the new Mountaineer Field and WVU fans sing it after every WVU sports victory, which happens a lot these days).

The response of the kouple from Keyser: “Well, there’s a Melody Music Store.”

I guess newspaper fame doesn’t make you a legend in Keyser.

On our way to the parking lot after the Spanish Springs Arts & Crafts Festival (there’s one every 37 minutes somewhere in The  Villages), Paula and I met Sharon Downing, widow of long-time BJ printer Hugh Downing; their son, Jonathan Downing of Toledo, Ohio;  and Jon’s daughter, Piper Downing (which reminded me of my VERY exciting ride with 200-foot drops and rises in a Piper Cub in Florida during my sportswriting days; it couldn’t get enough rpm’s to take off safely from Gainesville after the Gators’ football game, so we switched to a Comanche, a much larger plane by comparison, for our return to St. Petersburg and the safety of Nelson Poynter's Times).

Hugh – who had lived in The Villages for a couple of decades -- arranged the tee times every Thursday during the winters (a different course every time since there are about 70 to choose from) for former BJ State Desk reporter Bob Page, who works for God now as a minister, and me, the free-spirit Polish-Italian-American Mountaineer.

I rarely go anywhere without my WV shirt and WV cap and WV socks and WV underwear without running into another Mountaineer – including my travels to 55 countries and 44 states and 13 cruises.

West Virginia has only 1.8 million people, who are its #1 export.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

John Stolfo passes away

John Stolfo, who worked at the BJ till his retirement at the age of 70, passed away Tuesday, February 14.

John’s obituary:

CUYAHOGA FALLS -- John F. Stolfo, 97, passed away peacefully on February 14, 2017, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

He was born on December 7, 1919, to Nicholas and Florence Stolfo. John grew up in Akron, Ohio, where he sold the Akron Beacon Journal on the corner of Market and High Street when he was 10 years old. Little did he know then that he would go on to work for the Beacon all his adult working years, retiring at the age of 70. John served in the Army during World War II as the First Sergeant of the 501st Maintenance Ordinance. His company followed General Patton across Europe repairing tanks and other equipment. They were regarded as an elite ordinance and in high demand. John was very proud of his days in the service and the fact that he took very good care of his men.

After the war, he came back to Akron and married his wife of 69 years, Marguerite Sipe. Aside from raising seven children and his work at the Beacon Journal, John liked working with wood and building things, including the three houses that his family lived in over the course of time. He was well liked in the community and was always ready to help family and sometimes perfect strangers when they needed a helping hand.

John was preceded in death by his son, Patrick; and his brothers, Lorenzo and Vito. He is survived by his wife, Marguerite of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; his children, David of Akron, Ohio; Rita (Rodney) Ditto of East Sparta, Ohio; Paul of Akron, Ohio;

Raymond of Lake Worth, Florida; Carol (Thomas) Stegall of Desoto, Missouri; and Michael of Akron, Ohio. He leaves behind many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Kristen (Bailey, Auden) of New York, Shannon (Journey, Marley) of Arizona, Erin (Lincoln) of Florida; Sam (Adrianna , Jax) of Akron, Ohio; Robin (Barry, Ryan, Beau, Holly); Brandianne (Max, Zoie, Joni); Meranda (Calliope, Quincy); Jessica

(Andrew, Chelsea) of Canton, Ohio; Johnny of East Sparta, Ohio; Charles (Mytchel, Maci) of Cedar Hill, Missouri; Sarah (Jackson to-be) of Camdenton, Missouri.

A heartfelt thank you to all his nurses and aides at National Church

Residences, especially

Jackie, Sonni, Laci,

Stephanie and nurses Kelly and Kim who did an outstanding job caring for John.

A brief memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 18 at the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home, 1930 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221. A military memorial service will be held at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery at an unspecified future date. To view tribute video, send condolences or sign the guest book visit

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Feb. 16, 2017 - See more at:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dave Hess report

Former BJ Washington correspondent and later Knight-Ridder national correspondent Dave Hess got a visitor to his assisted-living facility in Worthington, Ohio.

Bill Hershey, who also served Ol’ Blue Walls as Columbus and Washington correspondent, reports:

John - I went to see Dave today and he was in pretty good spirits. He was resting when I got to his apt. about noon but got more animated as we talked.

“I know he'd like to hear from old ABJ friends. He was Washington correspondent for ABJ before me and then was a national correspondent for Knight-Ridder.

“Like you, he is a West Virginian. I'll try to keep you posted if there are new developments.”

Dave had strokes in 2006 and 2013.

Dave's address:

    Sunrise of Worthington

    6525 N. High St.   Apt. 3302

   Worthington, Ohio, 43085


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Warning from an historian

Ron Rosenbaum, a New York City Jew, writes a frightening and fascinating comparison of the rise to power of Donald Trump and Adoph Hitler.

Rosenbaum’s peg is the Munich Post defying Hitler and the Nazis till the newspaper was forcibly shut down by a Hitler finally in charge of Germany.

He is the author of “Explaining Hitler.”

To read Rosenbaum’s article, click on

Monday, February 06, 2017

Remember Bob Page?

For those who were at the BJ in 1968-73, this evening Paula and I went to dinner with former State Desk reporter Bob Page and Vicky, his wife of 9 months.
Bob Page and John Olesky

Both were widowed.

Bob has been an associate pastor since 2013 at the Live Oaks Community Church in The Villages, Florida, where Paula and I spend our winters to escape our Tallmadge winters.

He’s doing fine. And anxious for the new building for the congregation, which will include a drive-in theater-like outdoor space for church-goers praying in their golf carts.

Since there are about 60,000 golf carts for the 119,000 residents, the golf cart “pews” should be full.

To read an earlier blog article about Bob and his recent marriage, click on

Saturday, February 04, 2017

PD farewell for Regina Brett

Regina Brett, who has written more than 1,800 columns for the PD since 2000, typed her final column for That Newspaper North of Akron.

Before that, of course, Regina was a BJ columnist for 7 years.

Regina Brett
Her book, “God Never Blinks,” has been published in 20 languages.

Regina was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2008 and 2009. She also hosted a couple of area radio shows.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988, she wrote about her experiences and won national awards for the columns.

Her farewell column includes a thank-you tribute to Stuart Warner, writing coach among other job titles at the BJ and PD before slinking to Arizona with wife Debbie Van Tassel, another BJ expatriate who drove north to the PD.

Carolyn Pope Kovatch & John Kovatch

28 years for John & Carolyn Pope

John Kovatch, once BJ vice president/finance and administration, and wife Carolyn Pope Kovatch are celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary.
They own homes in The Villages, Florida and in Green. Paula and I spend the winters in her Villages home when we’re not in our Tallmadge residence.
The lovebirds wrote:
“Happy Anniversary to my wonderful wife Carolyn. It's been a great 28 years together and I look forward to many more. Love you with all my heart!”
She responded:

“You're the sweetest and the absolute best! Love you, too!!!”

Last winter we caught them dancing the night away in The Villages’ Spanish Springs, one of three squares in The Villages which have live music and dancing every night of the year.

John and Carolyn bought a home in The Village of Charlotte. Paula's house is in The Village of Silver Lake.

Spanish Springs is my favorite of the three Villages squares. It feels more like down-home West Virginia.
John’s career included University of Akron associated vice president/controller, Knight-Ridder vice president finance and administration, Ernest & Young CPA, and currently JEK Accounting Service before his Kent State and Euclid High days.
He’s from Massillon, Ohio, where Paul Brown began his fabulous coaching career.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Prostate surgery for John Dunphy

Former BJ reporter John Dunphy, who has done an excellent job of combatting esophageal cancer, will undergo surgery for his prostate cancer.

Writes John:

“I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Not unusual for a man of my age. The doctor used the word aggressive and recommended surgery to remove the gland.

“That will happen as soon as they can arrange a surgery slot. Hospital stay will be 2 days, with 6 weeks of recovery after that (oh joy).”

John and wife Rebecca Allen Dunphy lives in Lakewood, California. They have been married for 9 years.

John is contributing editor at Southland Golf and a former reporter for the Orange County  Register in California. John is a Cincinnati Xavier University graduate from New York City.

At Ol’ Blue Walls, with the late Pat Englehart cracking the whip, John was a key reporter in the BJ’s coverage of the 1970 Kent State killings by the National Guard that brought the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize.

John’s other siblings are Harry Dunphy, Sister Patricia Dunphy, Maureen Dunphy Welling, Paul Dunphy, Peter Dunphy, Dennis Dunphy and Christine Dunphy Barnett.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

After 127 years, no Dix newspapers

Dix Communications,  whose newspapers included the Record-Courier in Ravenna, in my opinion the best smaller paper in the BJ’s 5-county area, has been sold to Pittsford, New York-based GateHouse Media for $21.2 million.

The Dix family has been in the business for a long time, and had staff members on many news-source boards and groups, which gave them an inside track of what was about to happen.

Also sold was Dix’s printing facility in Wooster and more than 30 daily and weekly newspapers, online-only publications and specialty publications. Its larger newspapers are the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier, The Daily Record in Wooster, the Ashland Times-Gazette, The Review in Alliance and The Daily Jeffersonian in Cambridge.

GateHouse Media owns The Columbus Dispatch, The Canton Repository and about 50 other Ohio publications and websites. It operates in more than 520 markets in 35 states and owns more than 125 daily newspapers and more than 300 weekly newspapers, along with other publications and websites.

Dix also owns four radio stations in Wooster and the Gainesville/Ocala area in Florida.

I am sorry to see the Dix family get out of the newspaper business. But, in these difficult times for newspapers all over America, I understand why.

Since 1890, five generations of the Dix family have handled their media holdings.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Webb Shaw’s daughter, 39, passes away

Erica Shaw Sheets, daughter of former BJ newsroom editor Webb Shaw, passed away at the age of 39.

Webb and wife Katie Gaab Shaw live in Fremont, Wisconsin. Webb retired in 2014 after 22 years with J.J. Keller, where he was vice president of editorial resources.

Webb’s father, the late Ohio native and Fremont (Ohio) Ross High football star Bob Shaw, was an all-American end on Ohio State’s 1942 national championship team coached by the legendary Paul Brown, who eventually guided the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL.

Later Bob Shaw was a tight end with the 1949 Los Angeles Rams and was receivers coach with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 when they beat the New York Giants to win the NFL championship in what has been called "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

Bob Shaw – a 10th round NFL pick -- still holds the record for most TD receptions in an NFL game, set in 1950, although Kelllen Winslow and Jerry Rice matched that total in later years.

Bob left the NFL with 12 TD receptions in 1950.

Webb’s mom was Mary, who caught Bob’s eye when she was selling candy as an usherette at the Ohio Theater while the Buckeye players were downtown to watch a movie.

Bob Shaw coached briefly at Cuyahoga Falls High School. He was born in Richwood, Ohio but played football for Fremont Ross High School. If I got it right, Bob played for Fremont in Ohio but his son, Webb, lives in Fremont, Wisconsin. How’s that for a coincidence?

Bob died at the age of 89 in Westerville, Ohio.

Erica’s obituary:

w years as VP of editorial resources at Keller, no one knows better than your family how hard you worked these past 40 years. Pride doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel, and I look forward to our next cha
Erica C. Sheets
TOLUCA - Erica C. Sheets DVM, age 39, of Kiel, WI, died peacefully Thursday, January 26, 2017, at her residence with her family by her side.
Erica was born on September 16, 1977, daughter of Webb and Katie (Gaab) Shaw in Ohio. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin River Falls in 1999. She continued her education at Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine graduating in 2004 with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
On April 1, 2000, she married Steven Sheets in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Erica was employed with the St. Anna Veterinary Clinic, prior to that she was employed with the Kiel Veterinary Clinic as a large animal veterinarian. Erica was a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and American Veterinary Medicine Association.
Erica enjoyed gardening, working with her animals on her hobby farm, running, boating and being active. She had a true love for cows; most of all she loved spending time with her boys and attending all of their activities.

She is survived by her husband: Steve; two children, Ty and Dominick, all of Kiel, WI; her parents, Webb and Katie Shaw, WI; one sister, Lindsey (Dave) Davis, MN; mother-in-law, Elaine Sheets, IL; and one sister-in-law, Karen (Randy) Nenne, IL; three nieces, Clara Davis, MN, Allison Nenne, N.C. and Olivia (Ryan) Stewart, GA. Erica is further survived by other relatives and many friends.
Erica was preceded in death by her grandparents, Robert and Marian Gaab, Robert and Mary Shaw, father-in-law, Jim Sheets and uncle, Jim Gaab.
Funeral Services for Erica will be held at 11:00AM on Monday, January 30, 2017, at Bethlehem U.C.C. (11608 Lax Chapel Road, Kiel). Officiating at the service will be Rev. Rebecca A. Johnston and Randy Koppenhaver with burial to follow in the church cemetery.
The family will greet relatives and friends on Sunday, January 29, 2017, at Bethlehem U.C.C. from 3:00PM until 6:00PM. The visitation will continue on Monday at church from 9:00AM until 10:45AM.
A special thank you to Froedert Medical College, especially Dr. Nirav Shah and his team for the wonderful care given to Erica and her family; and St. Nicholas Hospice for all of the care and compassion shown to the Sheets family.
Online condolences may be left for the family by visiting .
Published in Peoria Journal Star from Jan. 26 to Jan. 28, 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

MD on MTM: Perfect pairing

Mary Tyler Moore turned the world on with her smile.

PD and former TV critic Mark Dawidziak (I taught him everything he knows about writing as his TV Editor; yeah, right) turns the world on with his writing.

It is fitting the Mark wrote his tribute to MTM. Click on to read Mark’s golden words.