Saturday, July 23, 2016


Paula Stone Tucker and I went to Branson, Missouri, which bills itself as “The Country Music Capital” (Nashville might disagree), and it was stupendous!

10 shows in 4 days and not ONE word of profanity in any of them. Just music, comedy and friendly fun.

One or two stars would come aboard our bus as it pulled into the parking lot, ask where we were from, chat with us a while, then welcome us to their show.

After the show, the star performers would be in the lobby for free autographs and photos of us with them.

When we went to the bus to prepare to leave, more stars came aboard and thanked us for coming.

This is the friendliest show casts I have encountered in all my years. Most stars perform, then walk off the stage and out of your life.

The 1,723 miles on the bus, air-conditioned as it was, is a mite tough. Once we passed through St. Louis and The Arch and got to Branson, Gad-About took us to and from our hotel, to breakfast and a show, to lunch and another show and to dinner and still another show.

And then back to our hotel where it was easy to fall asleep after all that activity.

We liked the Gad-About experience so much that we already have booked the Ocean City, Maryland-Assateague Island wild ponies tour in September, between WVU’s game with Youngstown and BYU. That Mountaineers open date always opens us up for a trip somewhere.

Next trips:

July 25-28 flight to Alpena, Michigan for golfing on the Rogers City golf course and chatting with Bob Kasper, Monongah High (West Virginia) Class of 1950 like me, an annual summer event for two guys who have exchanged the same two Christmas cards every year since 1955 and who have been best friends since we first met in first grade at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Monongah. Bob comes to our home in autumn and we go to a WVU game together – Oct. 22 TCU game in Mountaineer Field this year.

Aug. 18-22 in North Carolina with my daughter Monnie Ann of Brunswick and her family on their 2nd home about an hour from Charlotte near Grandfather Mountain. I’ve always been partial to mountains and Mountaineers.

Sept. 11-14 at Ocean City, Maryland and roaming with the wild ponies of Assateague Island and Paula, who like West Virginia is wild and wonderful.

Dec. 5 flight to Orlando, Florida to re-join Paula, who will drive to her 2nd home in The Villages, Florida in October. We’ll return to Ohio for the holidays, then drive down together to The Villages where we’ll stay till late April.

I was Paula’s boss, as assistant State Desk editor under Pat Englehart, the wonderful whirlwind, in the 1970s before she went to California after her husband’s early passing to raise her son, a jazz musician in New York City nowadays. We got together after my wife Monnie passed away in 2004, and will be celebrating our 12th anniversary Sept. 17 … on the road again, just like Willie Nelson.

When I think about all this, I still can’t believe that a coal miner’s son from Monongah has been to 54 countries and 44 states and will play 100 rounds of gold this year.

Life is good. The undertaker can wait.

If you want to see my online photo album of my trip to Branson, Missouri with Paula, click on


 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Former BJ sharp guy Brad Guigar created Evil Inc., a daily webcomic that is a sequel to his Greystone Inn. Both a chockful of comic supervillains.

Brad also is author of “The Webcomics Handbook,” the Bible for webcomics wannabees.

Ken Krause, who once excelled in the Ol’ Blue Walls newsroom before landing in Medford, Massachusetts, called my attention to an interview of Brad as the Wizard World Philadelphia extravaganza this month.
Ken’s exhuberant post: “Great interview with webcomics pioneer and fellow BJ alum Brad Guigar . . . knew him when he was doing locator maps (among other outstanding work)!
You can check out Brad’s Evil Inc. webcomics site by clicking on http://evil-inc.com/
The article:
ComicsVerse’s Kristine Don visits comic creator Brad Guigar at his booth at Wizard World Philadelphia. Guigar is an Eisner Award-nominated web cartoonist who was recognized for his efforts in the field of webcomics. As coordinator of the webcomics for ComicsVerse, Kristine had a special interest in speaking with Mr. Guigar and picking his brain on all things webcomics.

Brad Guigar discusses his daily webcomic, EVIL INC., which is a sequel to his earlier work, titled GREYSTONE INN. He explains the evolution from GREYSTONE INN to EVIL INC. and how he wanted to focus on villains from GREYSTONE INN and feature them in EVIL INC. Guigar also shares his inspirations on the villains in EVIL INC., which include movies and other comics from companies like DC and Marvel. Kristine and Brad go on to explore the themes in EVIL INC. of villainy and the ability to do illegal and evil things with the same ease as legal acts: a theme that is very relevant in today’s day and age.

There are few comic creators with the insight that Brad Guigar has on the webcomics medium. In the interview, he divulges the benefits that webcomics have for a comic creator and even references his own guidebook, THE WEBCOMICS HANDBOOK. Webcomics allow for many unique differences from larger publishers and comics that are in circulation. Guigar describes webcomics as a medium that produces and enables voices from comic creators who may not be heard otherwise.

Brad Guigar’s insight into the world of webcomics is incredible.
BJ’s Gary Schott passes away

Gary Schott, who spent 20 years working as a BJ mailroom mechanic, passed away Monday, July 18.

Before Ol' Blue Walls, he owned Gary’s Drain Service
 

Gary Schott
Long-time BJ employee Kelli Miller-Schott has been married to Gary’s son, Gregory, for 20 years. They live in Tallmadge.

Kelli wrote: "Gary was a great man."

Ken Krause, my reliable source about BJ folks, reports that “Kelli Schott supervised the message center in the newsroom and also worked in HR and for Ohio.com. Condolences to his family, friends and coworkers.” 

Cheryl Scott Sheinin, who was in BJ Finance for 45 years, wrote that Kelli also worked in her department. Cheryl is the wife of former BJ staffer Neil Sheinin.
Gary’s obituary:

Obituary for Gary E. Schott

AKRON - Gary E. Schott, 63, passed away unexpectedly July 18, 2016. He was a life-long Akron resident. Gary graduated from Firestone High School in 1971, going on to serve his country in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S.A.F. He proudly worked for the Akron Beacon Journal for 20 years. He was a hard worker, and proud business owner of Gary's Drain Service. He was a loving husband, a devoted father and grandfather, someone that would always put others before himself. He enjoyed fishing, train watching, motorsports and most of all spending time with his family.

He is survived by his loving wife, Bonnie of 43 years; children, Gregory (Kelli), Dawn (Joshua) Ocker and Kevin (Jess Mikovich); grandchildren, Geoffery, Brittany, Amyia and Ciarra; brother, Robert (Martha); aunt, Donna Ulrich.

Friends may call 2 hours prior to a 6 PM funeral service on July 22, 2016 at the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home 1930 Front St. Cuyahoga Falls, OH, 44221. Inurnment will be at Chestnut Hill Memorial Park. In lieu of other remembrances memorials may be made to the American Red Cross 501 W. Market St. Akron, OH, 44303 or the American Heart Association 3505 Embassy Pkwy Ste. 100 Akron, OH, 44333. Services entrusted to Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home and Crematory, 330-928-2147.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Galloway work of art

Andrew Galloway
Former BJ reporter Barbara Galloway Mudrak extols “A wonderful article by Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Jim Galloway about our grandfather's career in Cleveland. It's a great story of grit and determination that is probably typical of many immigrants. But I'm especially proud of this one. And of Jim.”

Cousin Jim’s magnificent article is about a Scottish woodcarver named Andrew Galloway who chiseled his way into Cleveland church history.
 
Jim also mentions Barbara in the article.

To read about the Glasgow native with the Republican National Convention in full bloom, click on http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/07/16/a-woodcarvers-tale-of-cleveland-before-the-fall/

Monday, July 11, 2016

BJ scooped on its own reporter’s story

BJ  popular culture writer and jack-of-all-trades in today’s newspaper environment Rich Heldenfsls wrote an article about 1940 presidential candidate Wendell Willkie being a former Akron resident with no previous political experience who ran for the office long before Donald Trump … about seven decades ago.

That was a month ago.

After the Seattle Times ran it, apparently because someone at the BJ put in on the wire even though Ol’ Blue Walls held the articles for weeks, the BJ rescued it from its musty computer files and ran it.

John Higgins, a former BJ staffer, posted it on Facebook.

So the BJ got scooped by its own reporter in a state far, far away in the newspaper galaxy.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Mark Dawidziak with his father
Dawidziak’s father passes away

PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak’s father, Joseph Walter Dawidziak, 96, passed away. He was laid to rest today at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island, New York.

He was born on December 31, 1919.

He was captain and navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II, father of Mark, Joe, Jane, Aileen and Michael. He was married to Claire Dawidziak, who passed away in 1988, and to Bernie Dawidziak, for another 27 years.

Mark was born in Huntington, New York, on September 7, 1956.

He came to the BJ from Tennessee in 1983. Later, he joined the BJ exodus to the PD.

Previously, Mark's career took him to the Kingsport Times-News in Tennessee, the Bristol Herald Courier in Virginia, the Associated Press’ Washington bureau and Knight-Ridder Newspapers’ Washington bureau.

Sunday, July 03, 2016


July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the British Empire’s 13 American colonies were a new, free nation, the United States of America. Its primary author was Thomas Jefferson, who later became President.

Jefferson and John Adams, the only signers who became President, both died on July 4th -- in 1826. When James Monroe died on July 4, 1831, he became the third President in a row who died on that holiday.

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, born on July 4, 1872, is the only U.S. President born on Independence Day, which wasn’t called that until 1791.

Ohio was admitted into the Union on March 1, 1803. A legal misstep by Congress, which neglected to ratify the state constitution, was corrected retroactively in 1953.
Ohioans elected President are William Henry Harrison, born in Virginia; Ulysses S. Grant, born in Point Pleasant; Rutherford B. Hayes, born in Delaware; James A. Garfield, born in Moreland Hills; Benjamin Harrison, born in North Bend; William McKinley, born in Niles; William Howard Taft, born in Cincinnati; and Warren G. Harding, born in Blooming Grove.

Ironically, the Philippines celebrates July 4 when it ceased to be a U.S. territory. July 4 was intentionally chosen by the United States to match America’s Independence Day. It was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until the name was changed to Republic Day in 1964.
Black media taking bigger hit

When I was a child growing up in West Virginia, every month a newspaper was delivered to our home with the initials ZNP, which is Polish for Polish National Alliance. The Polish tavern in Monongah was named the PNA Tavern.

It was a way for Polish immigrants and their descendants to stay in touch with their roots, reading about Poland and events of interest of those with a Polish heritage.

Also in America, for African-Americans, there was Ebony and Jet, a product of Johnson Publishing Company. Just like ZNP, these magazines provided African-Americans with a voice and a source.
Muhammad Ali and Aretha Franklin got prominent coverage. When Barack Obama became the first black president, his first print interview was to Ebony.

Now Johnson has been sold to a private entity.

And Time owns Essence magazine and Viacom owns Black Entertainment Television.

Print publications everywhere are hemorraging. Black publications are hit even worse.

The story is as disturbing in radio. In 2013, there were 166 black-owned radio stations and 68 black-owned radio companies, down from 250 stations and 146 companies in 1995.

Only 12 commercial television stations are black-owned, in very small markets.

The decline was accelerated when, in 1995, the 1970s tax incentives for minorities media ownership began to be phazed out.

To read the New York Times story on the decline, click on


 

Friday, July 01, 2016


Olivia de Havilland, the Melanie Wilkes whose unselfishness contrasted to the petulant Scarlett’s behavior in the 1939 classic “Gone With the Wind,” is still alive at the age of 100.

She’s celebrating with dinner and drinks with “dear, dear” friends in Paris, where she’s lived for six decades after marrying a Frenchman.

Miss de Havilland was born in Japan to English parents, who reared her in Los Angeles where she became an American citizen. She was in films for eight decades, but “Gone With the Wind” brought her an Oscar and a permanent place in the memories of moviegoers.

Not even eight on-screen romances with swashbuckling Errol Flynn could top that.

She may have been sweet and loving in “Gone With the Wind” but she took on and beat Warner Brothers in a 1944 lawsuit that forced movie studios to limit their strangehold on actors to seven years, instead of ad infinitum.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


BJ Reference Library retiree Sandy Bee Lynn and her husband, Glenn Lynn, make beautiful music together.

In the Cuyahoga Falls New Horizons Band -- Sandy plays viola and Glenn plays the saxophone -- and in their married life in Doylestown.

Friday, July 1 they will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary . . . by going to the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

Sandy retired from Ol’ Blue Walls after 18 years, then worked at the Orrville Public Library before winding up her librarian career at the Wadsworth Public Library in 2008.

They met at a summer meeting of a winter skiing club on the shores of Put-in-Bay.

Sandy’s father, Henry Fuller, parachuted into France on D-Day. He was among 126 survivors of the 792 who jumped with the 502nd on The Longest Day.

There’s an exhibit about Henry in the MAPS (Military Aircraft Preservation Museum) just off Akron/Canton Airport.  Arline Mitchell Fuller was Sandy’s mother.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016



Bob Downing, a bigger friend of the forest than Smoky the Bear, retired from the BJ after 44 years at Ol’ Blue Walls on 44 East Exchange Street.
Bob with Englehart's
Rolodex, which he's
donating to Akron
Library archives.

His forte, of course, is as an outdoors writer. He’s given my native state of West Virginia a lot of favorable publicity for its whitewater rafting and trees-adorned mountains. Bob was a raft guide on the Gauley and New rivers. The New is a challenging whitewater experience after spring rains.

Bob’s daughter, Caitlin, in a 1981 drawing contest, summed up Bob well: “My Dad’s a good reporter.”

Bob also is involved with youth soccer, at St. Sebastian’s.

When I asked Bob to provide me details on his BJ career he did such an amazing job that I couldn’t improve on it. So I’ll just let you read what Bob wrote so well. It’s one of his best articles.

Bob’s email to me:

John,

On June 30, I am retiring from the Beacon Journal with 44 years of service.

I was hired in March 1972 by Pat Englehart as a State Desk part-timer while attending Kent State University. Wrote obits in the mornings, covered meetings at night and got to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights in downtown Kent until the post-May 4 disturbances broke out. Then I called Pat.

Was hired full-time in June 1972 and was assigned to cover Portage County. Had Kent State, Kent and western half of the county. Portage had its own 6-star edition so we had a full page to fill weekdays. Reported to Bob Page and Englehart. Worked with Ray Redmond and later Terry Oblander. Was backup Kent State May 4 reporter to John Dunphy.

Then became an education reporter, worked afternoon-evening rewrite shift, covered federal court in Cleveland. Moved to Features Department where I wrote features and also edited/put together Weekend section.

Moved back to Metro Desk.  Worked evening rewrite, covered Medina-Wayne and then Stark counties.

Was named environment reporter in January 1990 and covered that beat for 26 years. Have won awards.

Added parks, some sciences, some transportation and, more recently, shale drilling. That included writing the paper’s Utica Shale Blog since late 2011.  It is one of the paper’s best-read blogs with nearly 248,000 pageviews per year.

ABJ hired best people and challenged you to do best work. Quality journalism resulted and that continues to be a signature of ABJ. We were one of the best papers in Ohio for a long, long time. And we were proud of that.

Worked with very talented co-workers. Consider the number of books that have been written by ABJ staffers and former staffers. Many were colorful and eccentric. Some were bigger than life, too. Considered myself to be talented, versatile and hard-working.

Attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., for two years before transferring to Kent State in the fall after the 1970 shootings. Was a managing editor and editor of the Daily Kent Stater. It was an interesting time to be a journalist at Kent State.

Spent one summer (vacation and leave) rafting in the West early in my ABJ career. Also worked weekends as a raft guide in West Virginia on the New and Gauley rivers. Coached youth sports, mostly soccer. Ran St. Sebastian Soccer Club and CYO soccer for a number of years. Was a soccer referee for high school and amateur games.

My wife Pat is a semi-retired teacher/speech therapist. Son Andy is editor of Columbus Alive (owned by Columbus Dispatch) and also writes about Columbus music scene; daughter Maureen is an OB-GYN at a hospital outside Chicago and is completing residency; daughter Katie is an energy lawyer in Houston. Have one grandchild with a second on the way.

ABJ has asked me to continue my outdoorsy Sunday travel column. That started in 1998 and I have written nearly 700 columns. So my name won’t totally disappear from ABJ.

Also intend to do some freelance energy writing.

Well, Bob, I hope you have as much fun in retirement as I have in my 20 years since leaving Ol’ Blue Walls. The BJ is a great place to work and it leaves memories that last for the rest of your life. JSK was the most amazing owner I ever worked for, and I was at Nelson Poynter’s St. Petersburg Times and West Virginia’s best newspaper, the Charleston Daily Mail.
Kudos, Bob. Happy hiking and biking trails to you!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Klosterman’s latest debuts 5th on New York Times list

Former BJ reporter Charles John “Chuck” Klosterman’s latest book, “But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past,” opened at No. 5 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Chuck Klosterman
Chuck cobbles his thoughts onto those of creative thinkers George Saunders, David Byrne, Jonathan Lethem, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, Ryan Adams, Nick Bostrom, Dan Carlin and Richard Linklater.

We all know, if we’re old enough, that what was “fact” in our younger years have been disproved since. Astronomy, science and medicine are littered with such untruths from decades ago.

Klosterman has been a senior writer at Spin magazine, found his way from North Dakota to the BJ in 1998-2002 and has published about as many books as I have fingers.

Retired BJ food writer Jane Snow, perhaps the best food columnist in BJ history, was inducted as an East Liverpool High School Distinguished Alumni on Saturday at the northeast Ohio school.

She was the only woman honored this year. There are 50 with that honor in school history.

The induction came at East Liverpool’s all-classes reunion.

Jane’s recipe books always sell well. “Jane Snow Cooks” is in its fifth printing. My daughter in Aurora uses Jane’s recipes religiously and with great success.

She publishes a weekly Internet newsletter on her janesnowtoday.com web site.

Her food columns have won multiple national awards.

Her husband, Tony Kawaguchi, is the sushi master/owner of Sushi Katsu restaurant in the Merriman Valley. I’ve enjoyed every visit there. Good stuff.

Tony was born in Sapporo, Japan, where he apprenticed for a sushi master before moving to the U.S. in 1982. He worked at five-star restaurants in places like Hawaii and New York City before coming to Akron at the request of Hibachi Japan, whose customers (Japanese executives from Bridgestone/Firestone) were looking for high-quality sushi here.

Jane was born in Liverpool, Ohio and came to Akron to work for the Beacon Journal. Her research for a sushi story brought her to Tony’s restaurant.

Coincidentally, Tony’s dad owned an American restaurant in Japan right outside the gate of the Air Force Base where Jane’s dad was stationed in World War II.

Former BJ managing editor Scott Bosley, who retired to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and former BJ sports columnist Tom Melody, who still lives in Akron, are in the Keyser (West Virginia) High School Hall of Fame.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

George Will: Trump’s in, I’m out

Conservative commentator and columnist George Will has un-Republicaned himself because Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

The Pulitzer Prize winner calls himself "an unaffiliated voter in the state of Maryland."


His advice to the Republican Party: "Make sure he loses. Grit your teeth for four years and win the White House."

Will worked on Republican President Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign.

Will didn’t say whether he would move to Canada if Trump is elected President.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Another eye event for Mizell Stewart


Mizell Stewart
Former Beacon Journal managing editor Mizell Stewart III, managing director and chief content officer for Journal Media Group who joined the adjunct faculty at the Poynter Institute in St.  Petersburg, Florida, is dealing with a second detached retina.

Reports Mizell:

Doc said everything went well so long as I (literally) keep my head down for the next few days.”

Mizell is a four-time Pulitzer Prize juror and vice president of the American Society of News Editors, where he will become president at ASNE’s September 2016 convention.

Former BJ photographer Tom Marvin’s Taylor guitar is making sweet music in California’s Yosemite National Park with the sounds echoing from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Coshocton’s Kay Ann Shaffer Marvin is with her husband, of course. So is their camper, which has thousands of miles on it in every state in America when Tom isn’t barn-building on their Guernsey County farm just north of Salt Fork State Park, near I-77 and north of Cambridge.
Their neighbor is Mark Kovach, known for being a BJ computer whiz.
Tom retired from Ol’ Blue Walls in 2001. Later, he retired again, as transportation supervisor for Ridgeville Local School District where Kay was a school secretary. That's where they met. They’ve been married about three decades.
Yosemite National Park, protected since 1864, is 1,200 square miles of giant, ancient sequoias, and Tunnel View, the vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.
Tom’s children are Steve Marvin, a bank assistant vice president who lives in Cambridge; Brian Marvin, who lives in Worthington and is a Reynoldsburg police detective; Misty Bellon, a registered nurse living in Eunice, Louisiana; and Beth Marvin Stevens, a Los Angeles attorney, from Tom’s marriage to former BJ reporter and retired Hoover High School English and journalism teacher Pam McCarthy.
Perry High and University of Akron graduate Tom’s sister is Marty Marvin Stiner of Canton.
If he’s home, you can contact Tom at tmarvin@sota-oh.com or (740) 498-7471. Their mailing address is 74321 Birch Road, Kimbolton, OH 43749.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


BJ business writer Betty Lin-Fisher had a reunion with former BJ deputy Metro editor Arnie Rosenberg in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Arnie and wife Fran Sherman have two children, Amanda and Zach.
The Beachwood High School graduate, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, married a Beachwood gal in Fran.
He’s editor at Treasure Coast Newspapers, founder-president of The Center for Essay Excellence.
Arnie’s journalism trail has been varied.
The Ohio University grad was deputy Managing Editor at Newsmax, Metro editor-Palm Beach County at Sun Sentinel, assistant City Editor at the Denver Post, Editor in Chief at GIE Publishers, editor at The Sun Press, Sun Messenger, Sun Observer at The Sun News and a reporter at The Painesville Telegraph.
The Rosenbergs are no strangers to reunions. Fran had her high school reunion a year or so ago on Staten Island, New York.