Saturday, May 28, 2016



BJ business writer Betty Lin-Fisher and husband Paul Fisher are celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary.

Betty has more more awards than I can keep track of – the Cleveland Press Club Ohio Excellence in Journalism competition (2008, 2009, 2010, 2015 firsts) and Akron Beacon Journal Excellence Awards (2005).

That’s more than a decade of collecting awards for her excellent work.

And more than two decades of Betty and Paul enjoying each other’s company, which is an even more remarkable achievement these days.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Newspapers keep vanishing

The newspaper massacre just won’t stop.

The Times Press-Recorder, based in Santa Maria, California, is the latest to go belly-up – after 129 years.

 The company also announced the Santa Maria Times would stop publishing a Monday newspaper next week.

The number of newspapers per million population has plummeted from 1,800 to 400.

And shrinking almost weekly.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tribune, Gannett heading to sharing a bed?

Are Tribune Publishing and Gannett tap-dancing their way to Tribune swallowing Gannett?


Tribune Publishing began in 1847 as the Chicago Tribune. Its wire service at one time was called the Knight-Ridder Tribune before KR went belly up.

Depending how you count them, Tribune Publishing has 31 newspapers.

Gannet was born in 1923 in Elmira, New York from a newspaper business that started in 1906. It has been acquiring newspapers and TV stations for more than a century.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

More than another newspaper death

There’s more to the death of a newspaper than just the financial details.

To read the human toll and agony involved with the Tampa Bay Times (aka St. Petersburg Times) swallowing and killing the Tampa Tribune, click on http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/21/business/media/an-abrupt-end-to-the-tampa-tribune-after-a-blow-from-its-rival.html?_r=0

Since 2007, the Tucson Citizen, Rocky Mountain News, Baltimore Examiner, Kentucky Post, Cincinnati Post, King County Journal, Union City Register-Tribune, Halifax Daily News, Albuquerque Tribune, South Idaho Press, San Juan Star, Honolulu Advertiser  and Tampa Tribune have gone belly-up.
That’s a dozen once-vibrant newspapers in less than a decade. Including big and small, nearly 1,000 newspapers vanished during that time.

Friday, May 20, 2016

‘Mr. Ed’ star Alan Young dies

Alan Young, Mr. Ed
Alan Young, whose co-star for five years was a “talking” horse, died Thursday in California. He was 96.
“Mr. Ed” ran from 1961-66 on CBS. Young played architect Wilbur Post, who was married to Carol (played by Connie Hines, who died in 2009) and kept a horse, Mr. Ed, in their suburban stable.
Mr. Ed, voiced by Allan “Rocky” Lane, would speak only to Wilbur, whose name he “said” by twitching his horse lips. Thread made that happen in early episodes, but the horse eventually learned to twitch his lips when Young stopped talking.

Bamboo Harvester, who played Mr. Ed, died in 1970.
Young voiced Scrooge McDuck. So did Dallas McKennon in the 1960s, Stephen Stanton, Bill Thompson, Patrick Fraley and Will Ryan.
Russ Musarra, Tom Moore on Cuyahoga Valley Railway train

Russ makes tracks to reunion with Tom

BJ newsroom retirees Tom Moore and Russ Musarra had a reunion on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway.

Tom has been a conductor for most of his retirement, when he’s not helping former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen run the Roy Hobbs World Series for older baseball players in Fort Myers, Florida.

Russ – Rosario Musarra is you look at his birth certificate – lives in Streetsboro with his wife for almost six decades, Bev. They moved there in 2003 after living 15 years in Northfield Center and 22 in Macedonia.

Wrote Tom: “Sometimes you get a pleasant surprise while volunteering on the Scenic Railway. “This guy looked me up and I hadn't seen him for a while. We worked together for 30 years at the Akron Beacon Journal. He's a first-class reporter and person. They just don't make guys like that anymore.”

Two years ago Paula and I met Russ and Bev for dinner in northern Summit County. We didn’t go on or off the rails that time.

Russ is 75 pounds trimmer than during his days at Ol’ Blue Walls. He walks around Sunny Lake in Aurora during good weather and inside a Lowe's store near their Streetsboro residence when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate.

Russ was a BJ City Desk reporter and succeeded the late Polly Paffilas as the BJ's About Town columnist. He retired in 2000.

Russ and retired BJ artist Chuck Ayers in 2007 got their "Walks Around Akron," a long-running BJ series, into a book published by the University of Akron.

After the Beacon Journal dropped the "Walks" essays, they were published by Akron City magazine and later Akron Life and Leisure magazine.

They also collaborated on two other books -- "Greetings From Akron" (subtitled "Celebrating Akron’s History in Picture Postcards"), published in 2000 by the Summit County Historical Society, and "Joe’s Place: Conversations on the Cuyahoga Valley," published in 1999 by the Cuyahoga Valley Association.

Russ also wrote "Sleep With the Angels," with former Cleveland detective Robert L. Bolton, that was published in 1985. 

Bev and Russ have four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, all living in the area.
If you want to touch base with Russ:
Russ Musarra
8916 Falcon Drive
Streetsboro 44241
Home phone: 330-626-4188
Cellular phone: 330-322-8890
E-mail: 
rmusarra@neo.rr.com

Tom was born in Richmond, Virginia. His 41-year newspaper career included the Bluefield (West Virginia) Daily Telegraph, Zanesville News, Lorain Journal, Columbus Citizen-Columbus Citizen Journal and the BJ.

Tom and wife Dot have four children.
John S. Knight was born in Bluefield.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Cheryl Scott Sheinin, retired after 45 years in the BJ Finance Department, attended the ceremony for the final resting place of former BJ security guard Anna Nitz.


Anna passed away in 2012 at the age of 80. Tuesday, her ashes were distributed into the Atlantic Ocean off the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that she loved so much.


Anna’s husband of 62 years is Bill Nitz.

Albert Nitz, Bill's cousin who drove Bill  to Myrtle Beach, read from the Bible and a tribute to her that he had written. Then everyone present sang “Amazing Grace.

Who could ask for a better sendoff?  
Cheryl’s husband is former BJ staffrt Neil Sheinin.
Anna was with Pinkertons since 1968. She was security guard at the parking desk entrance and the BJ lobby for decades.

She made lots of friends at Ol’ Blue Walls over time, was active in the Ladies Golf League and competed in the Corporate Challenge several times. 

BJ Advertising retiree Mike Williams, who returned from months in warm and sunny Mexico to a driving April snowstorm when he landed in Ohio with his wife of 27 years, Jane Spiess Williams, provided me with Anna’s 2012 obituary.

Here it is:

Anna M. Nitz, 80, passed away on August 26, 2012.

She was born in Akron on October 28, 1931, to the late Gerald and Anna Rezack.

Anna was a member of St. Vincent Catholic Church and retired from Pinkerton Security Company after 42 years of service.

Preceded in death by brothers, Gerald and Frank, survivors include husband, William; brother, Tom (Pat) Rezack; best friends, Cheryl Sheinin and Johnny Lynn King; and her dog, Nicki.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, 11 a.m., at Copley Place, 528 Rothrock Rd., Copley. NEWCOMER FUNERAL HOME, 330-784-3334

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Aug. 28, 2012

Anna with her favorite guy at her favorite place
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Goddard will retire in November

Dick Goddard, after 55 years on Cleveland TV as a weatherman, will retire in November. The ballyhooed announcement was made on Wednesday's WJW-Channel 8 newcast.

Dick Goddard
Goddard, 85, began in Cleveland in 1961 and at WJW in 1966.

He will focus exclusively on animal welfare.
 
Actually, Goddard has been easing his way out the door for years. 

 Meteorologists Melissa Mack, Andre Bernier, Scott Sabol and A.J. Colby have been assuming more and more of his duties.

There’s one area where Goddard will never retire, as long as he’s alive: Promoting animal welfare.

"Helping the four-foots is my goal in life," Goddard told PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak.

The Akron native is a Green High School graduate who received his earliest weather training in the Air Force, where he handled forecasts for America's atomic testing in the Pacific.

Then he worked toward his Kent State graduation while broadcasting National Weather Service reports from Akron-Canton Regional Airport.

He began on KYW-Channel 3 (now WKYC) in 1961, moved to Philadelphia for a few months in 1965, then returned to Cleveland when he didn’t feel the Brotherly Love in Pennsylvania.

He signed with WJW in 1966.

And the legend began.

Medina County resident Goddard also was a Cleveland Browns statistician for home games and created the Woolybear Festival in Vermilion in 1973.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Guild firebrand Stephen Hatch passes away

Stephen Hatch, Cleveland Newspaper Guild executive secretary who was fired during a 1974 Cleveland newspaper strike but reinstated after an arbitrator’s ruling, has passed away.

BJ picture editor Bob DeMay, at the BJ since 1999 and Guild leader at Ol’ Blue Walls, emails:

John

“Got a note today about the death of former Local 1 Guild Executive Secretary Steve Hatch. Hatch, a former Plain Dealer reporter and Guild member, was Local executive secretary from 1978-92.


“This pre-dates my time at the BJ but thought the retirees might have an interest. 


“That's all the info I have for now.”


Hatch, who lived in Seven Hills, succeeded Jack Weir in 1978 as CNG executive secretary.  He was a formidable Guild activist who rankled Cleveland newspaper management.

That prompted the Newhouse legal eagles to shove Hatch out the door. Temporarily, as it turned out.

But Hatch was willing to take one for the team, his fellow union members.
Oplinger a Hall of Famer

Doug Oplinger
BJ managing editor Doug Oplinger was inducted into the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Hall of Fame on Sunday in Columbus.

The BJ’s Susan Gapinski Price was chosen best headline writer. Third places went to Paula Schleis for best news writer in Ohio, page designer Brian Shellito for full-page design for “LeBron” and for best sports section.

I remember Doug, the guy with the John Deere cap and the baby face, leading the charge, with then-ME Larry Williams cracking the whip, to the 1987 Pulitzer Price for general news reporting for its coverage of Sir James Goldsmith’s greenmail attack on Goodyear Tire & Rubber that cost millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

In 1993 Doug organized 16 focus groups that examined race relations and brought Ol’ Blue Walls another Pulitzer in 1994, for public service.

The green kid from Green, a part-timer and Akron U. student during my State Desk days, has been at the BJ for 45 years.

General Excellence awards for 2016 went to the Columbus Dispatch, the Canton Repository, the Mansfield News Journal, the (Newark) Advocate and the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette. The Cincinnati Enquirer won the First Amendment Award for pursuing freedom of information to make a police video public.

 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Connie Schultz is WVU commencement speaker

Former PD columnist Connie Schultz, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005, was the commencement speaker for the West Virginia University Reed College of Media graduates in Morgantown on Friday.

Connie wrote two books “Life Happens – And Other Unavoidable Truths,” a collection of essays, and ”? and His Lovely Wife,” a memoir about her husband Sherrod Brown’s successful 2006 race for the U.S. Senate.

She is Professional in Residence at Kent State University, where she graduated with a journalism degree in 1979.

She grew up in Ashtabula. She joined the PD in 1979, resigned in 2011 to avoid a conflict of interest with her husband’s re-election campaign.
Final curtain for last ‘Casablanca’ survivor

Madeleine Lebeau
Madeleine Lebeau, who played Humprey Bogart’s jilted lover Yvonne in “Casabalanca” with the eyes filled with tears during her singing of France’s “La Marseillaise” national anthem, died May 1 at the age of 92.

Lebeau is the last surviving cast member. Not too long before making the film, she had escaped Nazi-occupied France with her husband, actor Marcel Dalio, who played croupier Emil in the movie.

Lebeau yells “Viva la France!” in her final, emotional closeup.





2016 online album of our winter in Florida
It took me almost a month to complete this project.
If you want to see the 38 photo montages of our 2016 winter in The Villages, Florida (4 months for John; 6 months for Paula), click on https://picasaweb.google.com/115483244393507838338/6284975727744133969
 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Internet radio hosting for Kim Hone McMahan

Retired BJ reporter Jim Carney, who sub-hosts on WAKR, isn’t the only one dipping into radio.

Kim Hone McMahan, columnist who retired from the BJ last month, will be on Internet radio starting Monday, May 16.

Writes Kim:
“Filling in for co-host Maggie Fuller on Internet radio KRMA from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday next week. Call me at 330-673-2428 to chat while I'm on the air.”
Check it out at http://krmaradio.com/
Before her days at Ol’ Blue Walls, Kim was on Canton’s WHBC and a cable TV show.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Morley Safer dies week after retiring

CBS newsman Morley Safer, the longest-serving “60 Minutes” correspondent, who retired last week, died this week.

Morley Safer
His career was reviewed last Sunday after “60 Minutes”  with “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life.”  

Safer’s first season as a “60 Minutes”  correspondent began in 1970. He had done 918 more since in his 50 years with CBS, including more than 40 years in prime time. 

The special traced Safer’s life from his birth in Toronto to his rise in the ‘50s and ‘60s as a war reporter and “60 Minutes” correspondent.

Brig. Gen. Joe Stringham, who commanded a Green Beret unit that Safer accompanied into battle in Vietnam, said Safer “was all business and he reported what he saw … We looked at eternity right in the face a couple times … and he was as cool as a hog on ice.”

Safer could play a mean hand of poker, had artistic talent and loved driving a sports car at top speeds.

Safer was the last link to the original core of "60 Minutes" that included Harry Reasoner, Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley and producer Don Hewitt.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Meteorologist musical chairs

Unless your name is Dick Goddard, being a TV station chief meteorogist isn’t a lifetime career at the same station.

The latest:

Weekday noon and weekend evening newscasts WEWS meteorologist Jason Nicholas, at Channel 5 since 2006, will switch to WOIO-Channel 19. But not till his 6-month no-compete clause expires in December.

Mark Johnson has been the chief meteorologist at Channel 5 since 2003.

Nicholas also is host of Channel 5's "Academic Challenge."

It might get crowded at Channel 19, where Jeff Tanchak is chief meteorologist and apparently will remain at the station.

Hinckley native Nicholas got his schooling at Medina High, Ohio University and Mississippi State. He worked at TV stations in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Charleston and Huntington in West Virginia.

Buffalo native Tanchak previously worked in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rochester, New York, and Wausau, Wisconsin.

These guys change more often than Northeast Ohio weather.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Scott Bosley saves Don Plusquellic

Don Plusquellic, the aggressive, blustering former mayor of Akron, had one soft spot in his heart – for the Beacon Journal.

Honestly.

Scott Bosley
Former BJ columnist Steve Love tells the story in today’s BJ Chapter One of its series, “Football: A Plan for a Lifetime,” about the bombastic Plusquellic. It’s based on Steve’s book, “The Indomitable Don Plusquellic: How a Controversial Mayor Quarter­backed Akron’s Comeback.”

When City Series football coaches voted Plusquellic only honorable mention on the 1966 All-City Series team, former BJ managing editor Scott Bosley, then only a prep sports reporter, over-rode the vote and made Plusquellic co-first team quarterback with Tim Flossie, the coaches’ choice.

Don Plusquellic
Plusquellic was All-Ohio first team after putting on a season of aerial shows. It was unthinkable that he would be honorable mention All-City.

But the coaches were sticking it to a coach they disliked, and picking on a kid to do it.

Plusquellic’s reaction, even years later: “The Beacon saved me.”

The same Beacon that he blamed for his mayoral retirement decades later.

West Virginia University School of Journalism graduate, Keyser (West Virginia) High School Hall of Famer and former American Society of Newspaper Editors executive director Scott later became managing editor of the Detroit Free Press and today lives in retirement in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

2 large Florida cities, 1 newspaper

The Tampa Tribune is the latest American newspaper to die. It was 121 years old.

The Tampa Bay Times, previously the St. Petersburg Times, borrowed $13.3 million for the Tuesday purchase of the Tribune from Revolution Capital Group.

Previously the Times took over printing the Tribune, just as the BJ printing presses left the building so that first the Canton Repository and now the Cleveland Plain Dealer prints the BJ.

The Times has news and advertising operations in downtown Tampa and Riverview and has produced a Tampa edition since 1987.

At least 100 of the 265 Tribune employees will get pink slips and 60 days of pay.

The Tampa Tribune started in 1893 when Wallace Stovall moved his paper from Bartow. It became a daily in 1895.

The Tribune was sold by Media General to California-based Revolution Capital in 2012 for $9.5 million. Revolution Capital last July sold the Tribune's headquarters in downtown Tampa for $17.75 million to South Florida developers who plan an apartment complex.

The Times will continue the Tribune’s Centro, the Spanish language weekly newspaper; Highlands Today, a daily newspaper serving Highlands County; and the Suncoast News, weekly newspapers serving west Pasco and North Pinellas counties.

The Times, one of the nation's few independent newspapers, is owned by the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalists. When I worked at the St. Pete Times in the 1960s, I was ushered into owner Nelson Poynter’s luxurious and spacious office, a far cry from John Knight's corner office at the BJ, for his monthly welcome of new employees.
It felt like an audience with the Pope.

The Times began 131 years ago as the West Hillsborough Times out of Dunedin. It changed its name to the Tampa Bay Times in 2012. The Times has won 12 Pulitzer Prizes.

The Times sold its downtown  St. Petersburg headquarters building at 490 First Ave. S to Convergent Capital Partners and Denholtz Associates for $19 million to help pay for the Tribune purchase.

This makes the Tampa Bay Times among the nation's 10 largest daily newspapers and five largest Sunday papers (484,663 combined circulation).

As usual, the culprit is the owners’ lack of foresight when the Internet was a baby. Instead of becoming a major player, newspaper baron shrugged it off as a harmless new toy.
Before they knew it, the Internet had sucked away advertising, particularly Classifieds which were up to 40% of the newspapers’ income.
That lead to the cavalcade of downsizing and other draconian measures.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Thrity’s book among 20 for Choose to Read Ohio

Former BJ reporter Thrity Umrigar’s “The Story Hour” is among 20 books selected by the State Library of Ohio, Ohioana Library Association and Ohio Center for the Book amalgamation for the 2017 & 2018 Choose to Read Ohio booklist.

Thrity’s work is among Books for Adults. It is 6th novel and 7th book.

Thrity has been teaching creative writing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland since 2002.
Her previous novels are “Bombay Time” (2002), “The Space Between Us” (2007), “If Today be Sweet” (2008), “The Weight of Heaven” (2010) and “The World We Found” (2012). Her memoir is “First Darling of the Morning”  (2008).

Thrity left India at the age of 21 to attend Ohio State University.


Thrity began her reporting career with the Lorain Journal. Two years later, in 1987, she came to the BJ.
Other selections:
Books for Young Children

Curious Critters: Marine by David FitzSimmons.
The Farmer’s Away! Baa! Neigh! by Anne Vittur Kennedy.
Henry Finds His Word by Lindsay Ward.
I Wanna Go Home by David Catrow  (illustrator), written by Karen Kaufman Orloff.
Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson (author) & Loren Long (illustrator).

Books for Tweens/Middle Grades

Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Big Fat Quitter by Carmella Van Vleet.
Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb, illustrated by Gilbert Ford.
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall.
Winterfrost by Michelle Houts.
The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Abigail Halpin.

Books for Teens

East by Edith Pattou.
Fat Angie by e. E. Charlton Trujillo.
There Will Be Bears by Ryan Gebhart.
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer.
Voices from the March on Washington by J. Patrick Lewis & George Ella Lyon.

Books for Adults

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar.
Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, The Creators of Superman   by Brad Ricca.