Thursday, December 13, 2018

893,560 !

Pageviews on this BJ Alums blog!!! Ol’ Blue Walls expatriots all over America check this web site to see how their former co-workers are doing.


We’re all in this together.


If you have information you would like to share with other BJ folks, past and present, email John Olesky at .



And, please, add jpeg photos in the email of your travels, special family events, wedding anniversaries, deaths of former BJ workers. With full identifications, of course.


Thank you.


John Olesky


BJ 1969-96


Assistant State Desk Editor

Makeup Man

Newsroom Electronics Coordinator
Television Editor


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Deadliest year for journalists
Jamal Khashoggi 
Time Magazine’s Person of the Year are journalists killed or in prison for doing their job.

262 journalists were imprisoned in 2017 because national leaders didn’t like the way they wrote or spoke the news.

That’s a record!

And a sad commentary at a time when America’s President labels the media “the enemy of the people,” which is what all dictators call the media.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

A target in a scary way

We live in a world where journalists have to worry far more about being physically attacked for doing their jobs.

President Trump’s labeling the media “the enemy of the people” has unleashed those who would do physical harm.

People have always gotten angry at what they read if it didn’t match their opinion. But they resorted to writing a letter to the editor or muttering under their breath.

Now they take a gun into a Maryland newsroom.

As a side note:
I've told this story before, but Bill Hershey was covering roving United Mine Workers pickets at non-union mine sites. He was discussing his findings so far when he said, "I have to hang up."
Later, he called back. "A (union miner) guy pulled a gun and me and asked me what I was doing," Bill said.
His response: "People are telling lies about you and I'm hear to learn the truth."
The gun-toting union supporter said, "OK, come along with us."
Bill is an excellent writer. That night, he was a quick thinker.
And he got the story to the BJ on deadline from his southern Ohio stopover.

Friday, November 30, 2018

BJ still knows how to party hearty

I’ll give Mary Steurer Hernandez this.

She knows how to throw a party. Even for a BJ party it was pretty awesome.

I’m not in the photo because I left before the group photo was taken. I copied the photo from Nikki Ward Hawk's Facebook post. Thanks, Nikki.

John Olesky with Paula
Someone will have to identify the people in the photo and the BJ department they worked in. Email me at with details like clothing color, row, etc. and your BJ department history and I’ll add the information to this story.

Among those I know, because they’re old enough:

The guy in the back row with the white shirt is Bob Dyer, Ohio Columnist of the Year a zillion times because he earned it. We ate lunch together in the Blue Room at the BJ for about 20 years. I once edited his column and only changed one word, just to see him come roaring from his desk to demand why!

The second guy to the right of Bob, behind the woman in red, is Mike Williams, who was Johnny Grimm’s Advertising layout handmaiden till Mike got into IT. Now he vacations in Mexico every couple of months, or so it seems, with his wife, Jane. They used to prowl Ecuador till the tremendous heights got too much for Jane. They’ve been married for almost three decades.

Mike’s sister, BJ information technology retiree Linda Williams Torson, is married to Akron-Summit County Metroparks retiree Tim Torson. Linda was with the Beacon Journal for 42 years. Another sister, former clinical dietician Cindy Williams Chima, worked in the BJ classified phone room in the 1970s and writes fiction novels for young adults.

To the right of Mike, her head barely visible and sandwiched between and behind the lady in red and the guy in black, is Susan Miller. She's a former BJ graphics designer who lives in Canton.
Sue was at Ol’ Blue Walls for more than 25 years when she left the Advertising Art Department in 2009. She is a graduate of Canton Lincoln High School and Miami of Ohio in Oxford.  

Far left in the second row is Doug Oplinger, who was a babyfaced kid from Green and Akron U. student when he first wrote for the State Desk under its editor, Pat Englehart, with Harry Liggett and I as Pat’s assistant henchmen. After retiring as BJ managing editor (after 46 years at Ol’ Blue Walls) Doug is prowling around to see what the medical profession is up to as part of Your Voice Ohio, funded in part by the Knight Foundation. Opiods comes up a lot when you chat with Doug. Bad, bad problem that cuts across racial and economic lines and city, suburbs and rural areas. Equal opportunity killer.


Doug, the little guy in the John Deere cap when he arrived bubblingly at the BJ, was inducted into the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Hall of Fame.


The woman in right in the front row is Diane Lynch, who went from BJ Finance Department to Librarian (where I first met her during my 26 years at the BJ). She told me about the time she was hiking in Yellowstone Park and ran across Tim Hayes, once in the BJ editorial department. Small world, huh?


In the Reference Library with Diane were chief librarian Cathy Tierney, assistant librarian Vick Victoria, Francis Crago, Marge Davis, Paul Gna, Tanya Parnell and Dick Vidergar.


Two to Diane’s right in red is Karen Chuparkoff, BJ general counsel for its legal department.
Karen, Doug and I had some interesting conversations about today's world.  

Dave Scott, like me, left before the photo was taken but not till after we took turns spilling drinks on Bob Dyer. Bob's shirt must be a wine magnet.

Dave was BJ regional issues reporter and deputy Business editor before he joined the 2014 BJ buyouts exodus to spend more time with his wife, Jane Gaab Scott. 

I’ve been retired 22 years so some of the people there probably were still in school – hell, maybe kindergarten – when I left 44 E. Exchange Street for good in 1996. It was 26 of my best years in the newspaper profession, which covered 43 years and seven newspapers in West Virginia, Montana (don’t ask), Ohio and Florida.

And Thursday night at the Silver Run Vineyard and Winery at 376 Eastern Road in Doylestown proves that North Carolina native and novelist Thomas Wolfe was wrong in his 1940 classic. You CAN go home again.

Even if it’s only for a couple of hours at the bar with old friends (but none, I think, as old as me, at 86).

A lot of people in that room seemed like kids to me, age being a relative thing. And with the BJ family, everything is relative.
Too bad Paula Tucker, who was my reporter in the 1970s when I was assistant State Desk editor under Pat Englehart and has been at my side for the last 14 years, was vacationing in Florida while I was going to Mountaineer Field to watch my alma mater, WVU, play football in October and November.

It would have made the evening perfect.
Maybe for the next party? If Paula and I are not in Florida or traveling around the world.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

With another BJ party looming at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 29 in the Silver Run Vineyard and Winery at 376 Eastern Road in Doylestown, it seems like a good time to unfurl again the legend of Patrick T. Englehart.

For those who were not at Ol’ Blue Walls in 1969-96, as I was privileged to be, a history lesson:

Pat is the #1 person responsible for the Beacon Journal receiving the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 1970 murder of four Kent State students and wounding of nine others by the Ohio National Guard, themselves about the same age as the students they fired upon that horrible May 4 day.

Bob Giles and Al Fitzpatrick pulled Pat away as State Desk Editor, leaving assistant State Desk editors Harry Liggett and I to handle those day-to-day chores, and turned the Kent State coverage over to Pat, who damn near filled the BJ storage room to the roof with photos and notes about that horrendous event in American history that helped end the Vietnam War amid public outrage.

And drove his cadre of Kent State reporters mad.

That was how Pat worked.

His quest for the truth and information was unquenchable. Those who cussed him for cracking his verbal whip also loved him for his dedication.

Pat smoked that damn DeNobil cigar that made you feel like you were inhaling the polluted air of China or the blinding smog of Los Angeles. And drank Rolling Rock beer like no man I’ve ever seen.

But he was the best damned editor I ever worked under in my 43 years on newspapers that included the St. Petersburg Times with legendary owner/publisher Nelson Poynter; the Charleston Daily Mail, West Virginia’s premier newspaper; the Williamson Daily News; and the Dayton Daily News, in a Cox newspaper chain that hated unions and fired those who pushed the union cause beyond their tolerance level (I am proof of that).

Fantastic writers like John Dunphy, Jim Ricci, Bill Hershey – all also legends at the BJ – swore by him and at him. Pat was a leader who would snarl at you to do better (so you did, because he did even more than he expected you to do) but then have a beer with you after work and laugh alongside you.

Pat’s laugh was as impressive as his quotes, such as, “You sound like a man with a paper asshole!” when he disagreed with someone.

That competed with columnist and everyreader's friend and columnist Francis B. Murphey’s “Go to Hell!” compliment (you had to be there) among my golden memories.

When management came to the State Desk to chide a reporter, Pat stepped between them and defended the reporter. When the management representative left, Pat would chew out the reporter and tell him or her how to do it better.

This created the most incredible loyalty that I have ever seen on any news desk in my 43 years in West Virginia, Florida and Ohio newspapers.

We would run through a brick wall for Pat even though, at times, we felt like throwing a brick at him.

For those at the Silver Run Winery who never met Patrick T. Englehart, you missed one of the most astounding and remarkable legends in BJ history.

And St. Peter welcomed wife Marge Englehart with open arms and a “how did you live with that man?” greeting.

Lovingly, Pete, just like Pat’s co-workers did.

Monday, November 26, 2018

BJ party Thursday !!!!

Silver Run Vineyard and Winery, 376 Eastern Road, Doylestown.

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Host Mary Steurer Hernandez.

Cheryl Scott Sheinin is involved, too. Expect Neil Sheinin, a former BJ staffer, since he’s married to Cheryl, who retired after 45 years in the BJ Finance Department.

Go to to see who’s a sure thing, who’s a maybe or to add your name to the growing list.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Save an hour of waiting

To see if you still can use your pharmacy

I got my new AARP MedicareRx letter and card. I went to the website given in the letter to find out which pharmacies I can use in 2019 (like most companies, Black Press puts vending up for bids every year to get a lower cost for them).

Online, I couldn't find a way to find out which pharmacies I will have to use in 2019.
So I called the United Health Care phone number given to me on the online web site. The computer voice told me that my wait time would be ONE HOUR AND TEN MINUTES !!!!

Sure hope no one with an emergency has to wait that long.

So I went to

Locate a Pharmacy | UnitedHealthcare® - AARP


and found out that my Walgreen’s Pharmacy on Howe Avenue still is on the list.

And I saved 1 hour and 8 minutes of time by not waiting for the United Healthcare “help” phone line.

I'll make it easier for you. Just click on

 and check out your pharmacy.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

This could be the BJ party of the century!

Somewhere between 38 and 134 people will be there!

Host Mary Steurer Hernandez, the daughter of late Navy veteran George “Bill” Steurer, will launch the anchors-away event at the Silver Run Vineyard and Winery, 376 Eastern Road in Doylestown at 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 29. 

38 gave a definite “yes!” 29 more gave a definite “maybe.” And 134 have checked out the possibilities. Batten down the hatches, matey!

Mary is office manager at Hernandez Construction after putting in her time at Ol’ Blue Walls.

If you show up you might run into Advertising Art retiree Mike Williams and he can tell you about his adventures in Mexico. Maybe he met Trump’s “invaders.”

Retired BJ librarian Sandy Bee Lynn will be there. She can play her viola, as she does with the strings section of the Cuyahoga Falls New Horizons Band, to accompany your sad tale.

Bob Dyer, among the few still at 44 E. Exchange Street, will be there. He can regale you with quips. Or show you all his plaques and trophies for being Best Columnist in Ohio year after year.

BJ Advertising retiree Sandi Hall will be there. She’s the daughter of the late James “Bus” Lowery, who once handled the BJ Presses that no longer exist since the PD publishes the BJ.

Michael McCrady will be there. Advertising Art department supervisor was his game.
Mary Beth Nord Breckenridge will be there. She might sell out a home since she switched from BJ home writer to Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

I hope to make it, too. This may give away my age when I tell you: Be there or be square.

For young whippernsnappers (I’ve been retired 22 years) I was the guy who gave birth to Channels and almost needed an epidural because Features Editor Jim Nolan, who never used a vowel when he wrote his memos, had me re-doing mockups for months before we shot that sucker out at the readers in January 1980. Channels, like the BJ presses, also disappeared.
On the silver lining side, all that overtime paid for The Swimming Pool That Channels Built at my Morrison Avenue home, surrounded by 2,500 rhododendron blooms every spring.

Go to to see who’s a sure thing, who’s a maybe or to add your name to those up for a hooting, rooting, tooting sonofagun time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Dave Hertz and Beth Thomas Hertz, who met at the BJ, are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary today.

Or, at Beth puts it:

“25 years ago today I married a cute guy who I’d met while working the evening shift at the Akron Beacon Journal. Good decision! As David famously wrote in a poem for the occasion, “the joys of years together start with the faith of youth” - so true!”

David describes the “cute redhead copy editor” Beth as “my utterly fascinating and captivating wife.”

Beth and David seem to have an acute case of the cutes. That's cute.

They were married at the Civic Theater with an audience filled with BJ co-workers.

David went from 15 years at the BJ as night metro editor, deputy business editor, region editor, business editor, metro editor and enterprise editor to vice president in the media relations department of Dix& Eaton in Cleveland. He came to the BJ after 5 years in Knight-Ridder’s Boca Raton, Florida newspaper.
Beth was at the BJ from 1991 to 1995 in several jobs including page layout and design. She became managing editor in the Communications Department at the Cleveland Clinic. After six years, she left to be a full-time freelance writer.
They live in Copley. Their children are Alyssa and Josh.

BJ Advertising Art retiree Mike Williams and wife Jane are keeping a wary eye out for Hurricane Willa, which slowed down a bit from Category 5 to Category 4, still nothing to mess with.

Mike and Jane are in Morelia, Mexico, “anticipating getting wet from Hurricane Willa,” as Mike put it.

His worries were justified. Intense rainfall in Morelia, Michoacán, left at least 27 neighborhoods flooded and derailed a freight train. Civil Protection officials said the Grande River overflowed its banks while other drivers and drainage systems in the municipality were at 100% capacity.

Mike said:

“The town's getting a one-two punch from tropical storm Vicente and Hurricane Willa."

Airlines canceled flights to Mexico.

Willa is bearing down on Islas Marias, an archipelago of four islands that belong to Mexico, which is 62 miles from the mainland state of Nayarit and about 230 miles southeast of the tip of Baja, California.

In the tourist resort of Mazatlan, the beach had almost disappeared on Tuesday morning as waves slammed against the coastal boulevard.

In 2009 Paula and I signed up for a cruise to Mexico with stops in Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, but a swine flu scare in Mexico caused Princess Cruises to divert us to San Francisco, Santa Barbara and San Diego. Nice places, but hardly what we really wanted.

Mike was at Ol’ Blue Walls from 1968 till his 2012 retirement.
Later, Mike posted:
“Willa passed north of town. Blue skies above us now.”
Great, Mike! Now you and Jane can enjoy Mexican sunshine and tequila!


Before Jane Snow came along, there was Glenna Snow as the BJ’s super food writer.

In between was Polly Paffilas, Charlene Nevada and Connie Bloom.

Glenna Snow’s 1944 cookbook (she was called a “home economics editor” in those days, not a food writer, but did the same thing) was titled “Glenna Snow’s Cook Book” although it really was a compilation of recipes submitted by BJ readers from 1932 to 1944. It was reprinted by the University of Akron Press in 2010.

Hungarian and German recipes out-numbered any other national dishes.

Glenna retired from the BJ in 1944.

According to Jennifer Droblyen, who has the cookbook by Glenna handed down to Jennifer by her parents, there are more than 3,000 recipes in the book. If you cooked one recipe a day it would take you more than eight years to try them all!

Someone from Cuyahoga Falls is trying to sell the cookbook autographed by Glenna for $36 on ebay.  There’s one on for $28.96, including shipping. Others are asking $49.99.

For a 74-year-old cookbook. Only Bibles last longer than that in print.

Former BJ sports editor Ken Krause, who lives in Medford, Massachussetts, emailed me the Glenna Snow photo with this thought:
“Interesting that two of the Beacon Journal’s best food writers were named Snow.”

Great minds think alike, Ken. That was my thought, too, when I began working on this article, thus my lede in this article.
Jane Snow added this information to the BJ Snow-storm:
“Glenna Snow’s son called me once from his home in Biloxi, Mississippi. He wanted to know why the BJ was still using his mother’s name. Her cookbook usually can be found at The Bookseller in Wallhaven.

“In my younger days, reader often called to tell me they remembered my ‘grandmother.’ By the time I retired, they were remembering my ‘mother.’ “

See, I told you Jane was the best modern food writer in BJ history! And Glenna Snow the best pre-modern food writer.

The University of Akron Press also published “Jane Snow Cooks,” which had five printings by 2010. My daughter, a teacher in Aurora, uses it for her cooking Bible. So I’m benefitting from Jane’s recipes till my Final Dirtnap. Thanks, Jane. And LaQuita.

In the most fitting match in history, the best food writer in modern BJ history (Glenna gets the pre-modern title), East Liverpool, Ohio native Jane Snow married Japanese native and sushi chef Tony Kawaguchi.
They’ve been bouncing between Japan and various USA sites since Jane’s 2006 retirement from Ol’ Blue Walls when they’re not living on their two acres in Copley.