Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Debbie laid off in Arizona


Debbie wears the hat this time
Debbie Van Tassel Warner was laid off by the Arizona Republic today.

Her series on Home Owner Associations, which was completed the day before her exit, drew more than 100,000 page views.

Debbie had a hand in three Pulitzers, including at the BJ: Goodyear greenmail and Question of Color and the Boeing 737 crash in Seattle.

Best feature section in the country three times while at the PD.

And, most remarkable first of all, she bought husband Stuart Warner the first of his parade of hats that earned him the title of The Mad Hatter on this blog.

The New Jersey native and Seton Hall graduate was a PD assistant managing editor and a BJ whip-cracking department chief.

Maybe she can get hired by the Phoenix New Times even if it means sleeping with the editor.
That, of course, is Stuart.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Sharon Downing, widow of the late BJ printer Hugh Downing, had a harrowing experience in her home in The Villages, Florida.

Sharon and friend Kathie Silva, also a widow, hunkered down as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Sharon’s house on 87th Bourne Avenue in the Village of Piedmont (The Villages is an amalgamation of about two dozen villages, and is not an incorporated city even though it has 120,000 residents, with every owner 55 or older).

32 people died in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Sharon and Kathie did not.

1970s BJ State Desk reporter turned clinical psychologist Paula Stone Tucker and I played golf with Sharon and Kathie last winter during our annual stay (4 months for me, 6 months for homeowner Paula Tucker, who shares a Tallmadge condo with BJ retiree John Olesky).

The two were close before their husbands died. They are even tighter as widows.

Sharon and Hugh moved to The Villages in 2000 from Medina. Both are from Galion, Ohio. They were married for 56 years.

Hugh and Sharon were a big help to Paula and John since they first showed up in 2013 in The Villages, Florida, where every day is playday for the residents with free golf, live outdoor music and dancing, card games, every sport imaginable geared down for senior citizens. They showed us the ropes, where to find this, where to do that.

Hugh arranged our weekly Thursday golf tee times with former BJ State Desk reporter Bob Page, who is an associate pastor at the Live Oaks Community Church in The Villages.
Bob’s first wife, Linda, was with him on Sackett Avenue in Cuyahoga Falls and their Barberton home before he left the BJ (1968-73) to study for the ministry.
Bob met his current wife, Vicky, through his congregation.

Hugh and Sharon’s children are Mark Downing, who lives in Erie, Pennsylvania; Chris, who lives in Hudson; Ben and Jonathan, who live in Toledo and Vienna, Virginia.

My late wife, Monnie Turkette Olesky of Cinderella, West Virginia, and I got together with Hugh and Sharon at the turn of the century on Siesta Key, adjacent to Sarasota, Florida, when Hugh and Sharon were staying in the late printer Bill Gorrell’s former Poor Bill’s rentals just across the street from the beach and the Gulf of Mexico.
Before that, of course, Hugh and I exchanged pleasantries at Ol’ Blue Walls, including when he was working in the APS-4 computer room in Composing.

Hugh was among the 45 retired printers who won the 2012 health care lawsuit against the Beacon Journal that restored their prescription co-pay benefits.
Five Guild retirees, including John Olesky who filed the lawsuit on their behalf, also piggybacked on the lawsuit that the late Composing foreman Dave White started in 2009.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How SF Chronicle returned to being profitable

The San Francisco Chronicle lost money for 12 years -- $50 million or more per year in 2008 and 2009 alone.

Today the Chronicle has four consecutive profitable years – about 4% per year increases.

How did its leaders do that in this era of troubled, staggering newspapers all over the country?

An improving Bay Area economy, cutbacks made during the lean years, a willingness to try new things on both the editorial and business sides and a renewed commitment to journalistic excellence. And having the paper printed elsewhere, which many newspapers are doing.

And put a woman in charge: Audrey Cooper, then 37, 39, editor in chief for more than 2½ years. She put together an investigative team that came up with startling stories and turned up the heat on government excesses and crime.

The print newspaper has around 220,000 paid Sunday subscribers and 163,000 weekday subscribers, both down from more than 500,000 in the early 2000s.

On the menu: Shoulder surgery for Jane

Jane Snow, in my opinion the best food writer in BJ history, will have shoulder replacement surgery Monday, September 18.

Jane Snow
Quips Jane:

I figured as soon as I gave away my shower chair I would need one again. Anyone have one I can borrow for a couple weeks?”

In 2005, Jane also had knee replacement surgery, like the one I had (for my right knee).

Her cookbook, “Jane Snow Cooks,” is in its umpteenth printing.

Jane was the food writer for 25 of her 28 years at Ol’ Blue Walls and earned national awards, usually with James Beard’s name on it (that’s the Oscar of food writing). Jane and 362 years of BJ experience left on the same day in 2006, including Debby Stock Kiefer, Diane Paparone Evans, Mike Needs, Sarah Vradenburg, Gloria Irwin, Mary Ethridge, Dave Hertz and Tim Good. You could start an excellent newspaper with that staff, even today.

Jane is married to Japanese native and sushi chef Tony Kawaguchi, who swept her off her feet when he hugged her into the air at his Sushi Katsu restaurant in the Merriman Valley and said, “You’re going to be my girlfriend.” Two weeks later, they were engaged. The next year, they were married. That was 10 years ago in April.

When a sushi chef marries a food writer you know that’s a match made in cuisine heaven.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Limbaugh running from the Mother Nature he mocked

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who was mocking Hurricane Irma as a liberal conspiracy theory, has decided to vamoose from his studio’s Palm Beach location that is in Irma’s path.

Rush told his right-wing listeners: “We’ll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown . . .  uh, where I’m headed.”

Typical climate denier. Chickens out and runs when Mother Nature yells out: “You fool.”

And yet he endangers those who believe his attacks on science. Till it’s his turn to risk his life or leave.
I went a bit cuckoo . . . and loved it!
Some people say I’m a bit cuckoo. So why not visit the 24-foot-tall “World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock” in Sugarcreek, Ohio?
Paula Tucker, John Olesky, cuckoo clock
So that’s what Paula and I did during our all-day Thursday trip that included visiting Lehman’s Amish Hardware Store in Dalton, Ohio, hiking in Mohican State Forest in Loudenville, visiting a “castle” that didn’t look much like one to me compared to the one we visited in Wales and topping it off with dinner at Dutch Valley Restaurant in Sugarcreek.
The cuckoo clock, built in 1972, was moved from its Wilmot, Ohio home to Sugarcreek, The Little Switzerland of Ohio, in 2010.
On the hour and half-hour, a three-foot-tall plaster couple on tracks dance the polka to Bavarian music played by a five-piece robot oompa band. The lady circles the gentleman throughout the tune. I recorded it on my SmartPhone.
Lehman’s is incredible. There was a stove that reminded me of the one that my Grandma Olesky had on Walnut Street in Monongah in the 1940s, 3-D artistic farm scenes etched out of wood, farm tools, Amish-made wood furniture, oil lamps. Hell, we must have wandered through this massive store for a couple of hours.
Landoll’s Mohican Castle is in Loudenville. It’s an amazine architecture, but it doesn’t look much like the Cardiff Castle that Paula and I visited in Wales with its tall wood ceilings painted with gold leaf.
The Mohican Lodge was a perfect vista for viewing Pleasant Hill Lake, created by a dam, after stopping to enjoy the Clearfork Gorge, a never-ending expanse of trees tightly hugging each other.
Paula, as usual, researched and planned the day. I just traipsed along behind her and enjoyed it. That’s what I’ve been doing for 13 years now, to 55 countries and 44 states and, on Thursday, going even more cuckoo than usual.
It was even more fun than playing golf. And I don’t usually say that about many things.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Irma & BJ folks

Former BJ folks living in Florida and keeping a wary eye out for Hurricane Irma include Tom Giffen, Gary Green, Dennis Haas, Melanie Payne, Gina White and Mark Faris.

Gina is former BJ Composing honcho Dave White’s widow, living in Venice, Florida.

Dennis is a former BJ artist living in St. Petersburg.

Giffen is in Fort Myers and former BJ sports editor.

More details about them:

GIFFEN, Tom. 1983-1995, various writing and editing positions. Now in Fort Myers, Fla., own/operate Roy Hobbs Baseball, partner in Kiama Custom Apparel, and chair of Roy Hobbs Foundation. TG48@roadrunner.com

GREEN, Gary W. 1999-2002, photographer. Now in Florida, digital director of University of Florida's Innovation News Center and Deputy News Editor of WUFT News. garywgreen@icloud.com, 321-441-6916 (c), 352-294-1502 (o).

HAAS, Dennis. 1967-1990, news artist. Now in St. Petersburg, Fla., retired. dennishaas@mac.com

PAYNE, Melanie. 1996-2000, reporter. Now a columnist for The News-Press in Fort Myers, FL. mapayne@gannett.com
BJ publisher leaving

BJ publisher Mark Cohen will leave Ol’ Blue Walls Sept. 22 for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to become president of the Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association and its advertising agency, MANSI Media. He came to 44 East Exchange Street in 2013.

Black Press president and CEO Rick O’Connor will travel from Canada to Akron soon to figure out who the next publisher will be.

Cohen succeeded Akron native Andrea Mathewson, the Beacon Journal’s first female publisher for six of her 36 years at the BJ.

Cincinnati native Cohen started his career as a sales executive at the Cincinnati Enquirer. He also has worked for Thomson Newspapers, GateHouse Newspapers and the Pioneer Newspaper Group.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

News photographer shot by police

Now the hazards of being a newspaper photographer include encountering a policeman who thinks a camera on a tripod is a weapon.

New Carlisle News photographer Andy Grimm, near Springfield, Ohio, was taking photos of lightning during a storm at 10 p.m. Sunday.

Clark County Deputy Jake Shaw was on a traffic stop, saw the camera on a tripod and though it was a weapon, firing at and wounding Grimm, who underwent surgery at Miami Valley Hospital and is expected to recover.

Grimm and Shaw know each other. Grimm said he hopes Shaw doesn’t lose his job over it.

Sunday, September 03, 2017


One way that you know you’re not a teenager any more, other than looking in the mirror, is when you go to your high school reunion.

Former BJ graphic designer Susan Miller enjoyed her 45th anniversary reunion at Canton Lincoln anyway.
As Susan wrote: “Fun night at my 45th reunion. Enjoyed friends, conversation, good food and dancing. Gets no better!”

She still lives in Canton. For two decades, Susan and Harold helped each other find a better life after their divorces.

They’ve been through a lot together.

Harold had a leg amputation because of  lymphoma.  

In 2014 Sue suffered a hairline fracture of her right tibia from her car's non-Olympic luge-style slide into an abutment on an icy Akron freeway. The car was totaled. Sue, fortunately, was not.

Sue was at Ol’ Blue Walls for more than 25 years when she left the Advertising Art Department in 2009.
She’s an attendant at Laundry Express in Canton, not for the money but to talk to people. She describes herself as the Diane Chambers of “Cheers,” chatting away so much that people wonder about her.

She quipped: “They listen to my stories, my boss accepts my crazy humor and I get the chance to touch many lives peripherally.”

Susan was a regular winner in the Ad Art department cover design competitions, was active in Toastmasters at the BJ and loved to get in costume for the annual BJ Halloween candy tour.  

Sue is a graduate of Canton Lincoln High School and Miami of Ohio in Oxford.

Her father was the late Sam Raider.

Monday, August 28, 2017


Retired BJ librarian Sandy Bee Lynn and retired BJ regional issues reporter and deputy Business editor Dave Scott are enjoying the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada.

Sandy reports that they’ve seen the British musical “Me and My Girl,” Irish playwright Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa” and Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan” (as in Joan of Arc).

The photo shows that they’re eating well, too.

Sandy was with husband Glenn Lynn. Dave was with wife Jane Gaab Scott. They live in Copley. Jane’s sister, Katie Gaab-Shaw, is married to former BJ newsroom editor Webb Shaw, no relation to Bernard Shaw. Webb retired in 2014 as Vice President of Editorial Resources at J. J. Keller & Associates in Neenah, Wisconsin.

The Shaw Festival began in 1962 when Ontario playwright Brian Doherty staged a “Salute to Shaw.”

In 2011 Paula Tucker and I went to Niagara-on-the-Lake for Shaw’s “My Fair Lady.” It’s a quaint town, made for strolling and gawking. We stayed at the Canterbury Inn (alluding, maybe, to Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”).

Friday, August 25, 2017

Stuart paper’s article on pardon

It’s no surprise to those who worked at the BJ with Stuart Warner, but his New Phoenix Times, a weekly with daily online articles, unleashed an outstanding story about President Trump pardoning former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Mexican-American groups are outraged. Arpaio was convicted of profiling those of Mexican ancestry and stopping them, even if they weren’t violating any laws or were in America legall.

Immigration rights activist Salvador Reza said Trump is “throwing the finger” at the courts and the Justice Department. Arpaio pled guilty in both cases.


Former Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Nord Breckenridge, who left the BJ to sell homes, started it all.

On August 9 she posted on Facebook:
“Ran into Tim Hayes today. He is in the process of selling his house and moving to Florida, where his sister lives. He looks great and said he's still riding his bike ‘somewhat.’ "
Well, that kick-started the search for Tim, who was part of the 2001 exodus when 500 years of BJ experience left the building. With all that investigative skill, we shouldn’t be surprised.
During the search for Tim (maybe they can make a movie along the lines of “The Search for Red October”?), BJ consumers writer Betty Lin-Fisher found out that Tim’s first name is Arthur.
“Tim, Tim, where Arthur thou?” became the rallying cry for former 44 E. Exchange Street occupants.
Betty added: “If you want to call him, John Olesky, it’s (330) 867-3198.”
I called but his Merriman Road phone was disconnected with no forwarding number available.
Former Reference Librarian Diane Lynch once crossed paths with Tim in the Tetons or Yellowstone (she wasn’t sure which). But we didn’t send anyone to search for Tim in either postcard-scenery wonders of nature.
Former BJ copy editor Charles Montague put out an APB . . . to Tim:
“Tim, if you read this (Facebook thread), once you get settled, give Mary Beth or Olesky your home address, phone and email so that some of your old friends and Copy Desk mates can pay you a friendly visit and buy lunch or dinner. Most of us do get to Florida from time to time.”
Well, as I found out later, Tim isn’t on Facebook, so that was a flare that he never saw.
Finally, Betty Lin-Fisher posted:

ABJ Friends: I just spoke to Tim Hayes. After all of the discussion a few weeks ago, I decided to stop by his house on my way to work last week to see if he was there. I left him a note and asked him to call, if he wanted. He was in Florida meeting the movers when I stopped by, he said.

“He's doing great and, as Mary Beth reported already, he is moving to Jacksonville, Florida to be near his sister and a niece. His sister is in poor health and he has been wanting to move to Florida since he retired 16 years ago, but said it's time now. Plus, he used to have three nieces and his sister in four different cities and now at least his sister and niece are in Jacksonville, so they'll be nearby.

“He will rent a house and said he doesn't want to be a homeowner any more and worry about home maintenance. He may be leaving as early as this weekend since his belongings are already in Florida (he said he only moved one chair -- his recliner).

“His house sold within days and a lot quicker than he anticipated. He did not have a recent photo to share, but said it was OK to share his cell phone number 330-310-6571 and his email timhayes3009@gmail.com  for anyone who wants to catch up.”

Betty provided more background:

“Tim was on the copy desk when I first arrived at the Beacon in 1995. I have fond memories of his take-out orders to Jack Horner's, DaVinci's and Dontino's!

Well, Betty must have given Tim my phone number because he called me. At last, the Search for Tim in August is over!

Tim laughed when I told him there was a Facebook posse trying to locate him. His response: “Where’s Waldo, huh?”

Tim said Sally, his only sibling, lives on Ponte Vedra Beach, which is 18 miles from downtown Jacksonville. His niece lives on Jacksonville Beach, just north of Ponte Vedra.

Tim’s apartment is in Jacksonville.
His address is:

10135 Gate Parkway N (as in North)

Apartment 510

Jacksonville, FL   32246

 “Between my home in Akron and my apartment in Jacksonville,” Tim said, “the only furniture I have is one recliner. It’s a comfortable recliner, though.”

Tim was in his Akron house when he called me, sitting, I'm guessing, in a recliner.

New furniture will be delivered to Tim’s apartment in Jacksonville on Thursday. The Akron house sale will close Monday or Tuesday, but Tim doesn’t have to be there for it. He’ll leave Ohio in a few days.

Tim said he made the move because “I don’t have family here” (in Ohio). Tim and Sally grew up in Cincinnati. He is single.

So, The Hunt for Tim in August is over. And you know how to track him down in his Florida apartment, or on the phone or via email.

Just don’t try to Facebook message him.

Tim was part of the 2001 BJ exodus when 510 years of BJ experience left the building in one day. He was a regular at the monthly BJ retirees lunches at Papa Joe’s in the Merriman Valley till that also died for lack of attendance because too many participants passed away.

He left Ol’ Blue Walls on the same day as sports columnist Tom Melody, chief artist Art Krummel, the copy desk’s Sandy Levenson, columnist Mickey Porter, Features Department editor Joan Rice, superb writer Bill Bierman, Reference Librarian Diane Lynch, copy editor George Davis (still hanging around as a part-time contributor), Metro reporters Bill Canterbury, Bob Hoiles and Dennis McEaneney, Mark Braykovich, reporter Barb Mudrak Galloway, columnist Steve Love, Jim Quinn, religion writer Laura Haferd and Terence Oliver.
And that, my readers, is the rest of the story.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Froelich burial service September 2

Former BJ reporter Larry Froelich will be buried on Saturday, September 2 in Dover Burial Park in Parral, Ohio, a Dover suburb.

Here is the email I received from his widow, Suzanne Dolezal Froelich:

“John, 

“Here is the notice of my husband Larry's burial in Dover for posting to the BJ blog:

“Burial service for former Akron Beacon-Journal staffer Larry N. Froelich, 77, will be on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 12:30 p.m. at Dover Burial Park, 5651 N. Wooster Ave. with Pastor Dotty Hartzell from St. John’s United Church of Christ officiating. There will be signs to the gravesite.

“Froelich passed away on June 5 after a sudden accident. A memorial service was held in June in Lexington, KY, where he resided with his wife, Suzanne. 

“Thanks very much!

“Suzanne Froelich”

Larry’s first wife was former BJ reporter Janis Froelich, who lives in Tierra Verde, Florida (near St. Petersburg) with her current husband, St. Petersburg photographer Ray Bassett.

Larry Norman Froelich was 77 years old.

He retired from the Lexington News-Leader in 2005 as news editor.

He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; three children, Mark (Christa) Froelich, Britta (Marc) Spanke and Eric (Stephanie) Froelich; and five grandchildren, Jack, Halle, Lindsay, Clare and Robert. 

Dover Burial Park is off Columbia Road NW in Parral, Ohio.

 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Village Voice ends print history

New York City’s famous alternative weekly, The Village Voice, is joining the ranks of newspapers NOT publishing print versions.

The Village Voice was founded in 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and author Norman Mailer. It has three Pulitzer Prizes -- Teresa Carpenter in 1981, cartoonist Jules Feiffer in 1986 and Mark Schoofs in 2000.

In 1982 the Voice began domestic partner benefits for gay couples on its staff.

The slide began in 2005, when New Times Media bought the Voice. At least a dozen key leaders were fired or quit by 2012, when Village Voice Media executives Scott Tobias, Christine Brennan and Jeff Mars bought Village Voice Media's papers and associated web properties from its founders and formed Voice Media Group.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Contact info for John Kovatch

I got this email from John Kovatch, retired BJ vice president/finance and administration, married to Carolyn Pope Kovatch:

John Kovatch
Hi John,

I hope you are doing well and enjoying the Ohio weather before you head back to The Villages.

Could you add my email and USPS to the BJ Alums when you get a chance?


Address: 6760B Wales Crossing St NW North Canton, OH 44720

Thanks,

John Kovatch

The Kovatches also have a home in The Villages, Florida, where Paula and I spend our winters away from Ohio’s blustery months.

One winter Paula and I ran into John and Carolyn dancing the night away in The Villages’ Spanish Springs, one of three squares in The Villages which have free 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 associate vice president/controller, Knight-Ridder vice president finance and administration, Ernest & Young CPA and JEK Accounting Service before his Kent State and Euclid High days.

He’s from Massillon, where Paul Brown began his fabulous coaching career.