Sunday, August 29, 2004

Browser, the BJ mascot

Readers sent in suggestions for mascot Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Marilyn Geewax earns master's

Marilyn Geewax earned master's at
Georgetown University in May, 2004 Posted by Hello

She's not Dr. Geewax yet

I'm not Dr. Geewax yet, but I recently nailed down a master's degree!

In winter 2000, I began taking evening classes at Georgetown University through the Liberal Studies Department, specializing international economic affairs. On May 22, 2004 they handed me the sheepskin.

My studies took me to Europe twice to learn more about trade and globalization. I chose classes that would help me here in the Cox Washington bureau, where I am the national economics reporter.

Here's a quick recap of my professional adventures since leaving Akron in 1985:

I moved to Atlanta to work as a business reporter for the Journal-Constitution, the flagship paper for Cox Newspapers. In 1989, I joined the editorial board, where I wrote daily editorials and a weekly
column (which the ABJ's op-ed page often ran).

In 1994-95, I took a break to enjoy -- and I do mean ENJOY -- a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard.

In 1999, I was offered a job in the Cox Washington Bureau. It's a hoot up here -- I cover public-policy issues related to business. So I race around from Capitol Hill to the White House to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc. , writing about taxes, trade, wages, deficits and
regulation. (I often interact with former ABJer Mark Braykovich, who is biz editor for the Journal-Constitution).

Most of my stories get posted at:

Each fall semester, I also work as an adjunct professor at George Washington University, teaching business journalism. I'll have 17 students this year (which is at least seven too many for a writing class). I also serve on Kent State University's journalism school advisory board. Last
year, I hosted a KSU j-board meeting here in our bureau office. (I went to OSU, but the journalism program there isn't as interesting as KSU's).

My parents are alive and well in Campbell, Ohio, (on the east side of Youngstown) and my younger brother and his wife live in northern Summit County (in Reminderville), so I get back to NE Ohio several times a year. Whenever I'm at my brother's house, I get a copy of the BJ and keep up with
the Akron news via Harry's emails and blog.

As we business writers and former Ohioans always say: Go Bucks!

-- Marilyn Geewax (ABJ 1978-85) E-mail:
Click on the headline to read Marilyn Geewax's stories.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Snippits lifted from Hot Topics

Here are snippits lifted from Hot Topics, the BJ employe newsletter:

Three scholars to receive $2,500 from newspaper
Three children of staff have received John and Peggy Dotson Scholarships for higher education this fall: They are Katherine Berta, daughter of Steve Berta, newsroom; Jillian Fullerton, daughter of John Fullerton, community relations and marketing; and Brandon White, son of Phil White, community relations and marketing.
Katherine Berta graduated from Woodridge High School, where she was the editorials editor for the school newspaper and a chorus member and dancer in school plays. She plans to study journalism, communications and English at Denison University. Her goal is to be a newspaper film critic.
Jillian Fullerton graduated from Cuyahoga Falls High School, where she was a Rotary Scholar and on the high honor roll, student council and leadership board. Jillian plans to study secondary education at Walsh University.
Brandon White graduated from Buchtel High School, where he received the Manhood Award and was on the football, basketball and track teams. He plans to major in business administration at Tiffin University.
Katie, Jillian and Brandon each will receive $2,500 from the Akron Beacon Journal.
Named for its founders, the John and Peggy Dotson Scholarship was established in 1997. With this yearÆs grants, the program has awarded $60,000 to dependent children of staff. John Dotson is publisher emeritus of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Open House draws 386 visitors over three days
By the time the last session ended on Friday, Aug. 20, 2004 386 people -- from youngsters to senior citizens -- had toured the the Beacon Journal and shared refreshments with a rotating group of newsroom staff. Visitors had the option of coming at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. on three different days this week.
Rita Stapleton, community relations and marketing, coordinated the nine-session, three-day event. She recruited staff as tour guides, speakers, greeters and servers. She organized a cadre of back-up volunteers in case the group of guests grew too large for core volunteers to handle.
Visitors’ questions to newsroom staff ran the gamut. Where do you get your ideas? Do you read other newspapers? How do you pick stories from readers’ tips? Do you get your own private showing for movie reviews?
Although movie critic George Thomas seemed to like the idea of attending a private showing of movies, he told visitors that his reviews started with him slogging through the ticket lines with everyone else.
Columnist David Giffels said tips from readers were his :”secret weapon.” Of the three columns he writes each week, usually one is planned, another comes from readers’ ideas, and a third is driven completely by panic, he said. He admitted spending a lot of time looking out the window, a pastime he tried to pass off as a writer hard at work.
Jane Snow, food writer, balanced the glamorous appeal of her job by informing readers about the time she had to eat fried ants.
Speakers from the newsroom included Chip Bok, M ary Beth Breckenridge, Jewell Cardwell, Bob Dyer, Mary Ethridge, David Giffels, Kymberli Hagelberg, Betty Lin-Fisher, Mike Needs, Terry Pluto, Jane Snow, George Thomas and Stephanie Warsmith,

Browser will be mascot
Following suggestions from readers, a vote by staff and input from senior managers, Rita Madick, director of community relations and marketing, selected “Browser” as the name of the Akron Beacon Journal mascot. The moniker works well in reference to the newspaper’s print, online and digital formats -- any of which may be browsed. A life-size costume for the mascot is in the works now. The next question is: Who gets to wear it?

Monday, August 23, 2004

John von Rhein on the Star Spangled Banner at the Olympics

Excerpt from an article on the Olympics and Star Spangled Banner by John von Rhein, former Beacon Journal music critic now at the Chicago Tribune

“Why do those national anthems, ours included, have so little to do with the true culture of the countries they are supposed to represent? I listened to the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" last weekend as Michael Phelps, the U.S. swimming star, appeared to struggle with the words to the national anthem as he was awarded his first gold medal. As I did, I had to remind myself that the tune began as a British drinking song that had nothing to do with the Stars and Stripes or the infant Republic. It was only after Francis Scott Key outfitted it with patriotic words, in 1814, that it became as indelible a symbol of American patriotic pride as the flag, the Fourth of July and Donald Trump.”

“Do we really need, on top of that, some stodgy march from the Old World whose words nobody can get right (is it "through the perilous fight" or "perilous night"?), and whose vocal line is almost impossible for ordinary folks to sing? How much better it would be if we adopted the late Ray Charles version of "America the Beautiful" or James Brown's "Living in America," as the nation's celebratory hymn. Wouldn't that or some other pop classic be a better, politically and culturally hipper reflection of today's American society to send around the world? Sadly, other countries haven't done much better. With few exceptions, none of their national anthems contains indigenous musical elements, and most of those are mired in the bloated pomp of the 19th Century. Listening to most of them is as much of a snooze as watching synchronized swimming."

[The article appeared in the August 20, 2004 issue of the Chicago Tribune and was reprinted Monday, August 23 in the Beacon Journal. The link above will take you to the Tribune article.]

Where Did Dick McBane go?

Dick McBane writes from Georgia to answer that question:

Here is a brief up-date as you requested.

My wife (Marilynn) and I moved from Akron to Lilburn, GA, in May. Lilburn is a suburb of Atlanta, northeast of the city and outside the beltway. Geographically, our house is about four or five miles from the Stone Mountain State Park, a landmark which a few people may recognize.

We made an offer on this house on the Monday after Thanksgiving and actually took physical possession of it on Dec. 31. We did not move here, however, until May 5. After 37 years in the same house in Akron, it took us five months to reduce our accumulation of stuff to a size that could be moved. The advantage of this location is that it is within a quarter-mile of our oldest son, Lachlan, his wife, Cheryl, and four grandchildren, Sean, 10, Huell, 7, Liam, 4, and Dorothy, 2. Our younger son, Roderick, resides in Galveston, TX. Lachlan is a violist (viola not violin) with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Roderick is an actuary with American National Insurance Co. in Galveston.

Our moving preparations were made a bit more hectic for me because I'd also signed a book contract with McFarland & Co. with a completion date of May 15 for the manuscript. I actually got it off to them before we moved and it is supposed to be on their spring publication list for release around the opening of baseball season, although I haven't seen any proofs yet. "A Fine-Looking Lot of Ball Tossers" focuses on the Akron professional team of 1881. Most of the players on the 1881 team subsequently played in the major leagues, many of them as early as 1882. I enjoy the research greatly and was particularly delighted with the discovery of a drawing of the 1881 ballpark.


Note from Susan Zimmerman

I will be teaching a section of "Media Writing" (formerly called
Newswriting) at Kent State, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, in the fall
semester as
an "adjunct" (which sounds to me as if it might be one of the parts of
I am really looking forward to it. Apparently, schools don't teach much
grammar nowadays, so teaching basic grammar will be a big part of my
assigned task.
I have been reviewing gerunds and their ilk in one of the textbooks, "When
Words Collide." I like it.

Susan Zimmerman
fax 216-651-3513

Sunday, August 22, 2004

How do I post? Tim Smith asks

How do I post to the blog? Or do I do it through you? I don't think I qualify as a retireee, more likely a refugee. But, after reading about Reiff's grandfather status, I thought I should add mine: first grandchild, Zebediah Timothy Smith, born to Bryan (youngest of our three) and Wendy Smith, Oct. 7, 2003. He's 10 months old, almost walking and into everything. Truly God's reward for not strangling your teenagers. I'm still teaching at Kent State University, helping negotiate the union contract (I'm first vice president of the AAUP -- take that, Mary Grace), and working part-time as a criminal defense lawyer. I took a sabbatical last fall and worked for the public defender's office. It was so much fun, I opened my own practice. Jane (another BJ refugee) is still teaching Work & Family at Litchfield Middle School (where she has had many children of BJ staffers). Both of us are thinking about retirement, but not too hard. Eldest son Randy, married to a lawyer, is a research scientist for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and middle child Rachel, seriously entwined but not married, is teaching gifted 4th & 5th graders in Hilliard schools in suburban Columbus. We're living on Sandy Lake, where we've been for nearly 10 years after leaving Stow.
p.s. How did Tom Moore and Tim Hayes get to be so old? Cathy Strong still looks great!

Answer to Tim:
There are two ways:
1. Just e-mail what you want to post to and I will post it for you.
2. Ask me for an invitation so you can become a contributore and post your own stuff.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Reports from BJ retirees on Hurricane Charley

Reports received by John Olesky from former BJ newsroom folks on Hurricane Charley.

Dave & Gina White moved from Sarasota to Venice last year.
Terry & Cecily Dray live in Avon Park, in the path of the hurricane and at least 7 tornadoes that swept up the middle of Florida on its way to Orlando and Daytona Beach.
My late wife Monia and I had reunions with all four on the deck of our Sea Castle rental on Siesta Key every February, and talked about the old days at the BJ and our lives today.

Terry & Cecily's email:

John, We made it thru the damage OK. Yes, we took a direct hit, but thank God all we lost was one orange tree and part of another...not even one shingle. But we had no power which meant no gasoline, no AC, no ice, no food. All we could do was sit on the porch in 90 degree plus weather and listen to the battery operated radio. When they said we would be without power for 6-8 days, we packed up the dog and drove (Terry had the foresight to fill our tank about 3 hours before the storm hit) to my sister in Charlotte, NC. We got back last night and the power came on about 5 minutes after we walked in. The damage down here is incredible. Driving North we saw huge convoys of big power trucks from several states, some as far as NY and they were joined by equal numbers of tree cutting equipment trucks. Thanks for worrying about us and take care. Terry & Cecily

Dave & Gina's email:
John -- we got by pretty easy. Average wind was 45 mph but we did have some wind gusts over 60 mph. And about 4 1/2" of rain. No damage to speak of so we were real lucky.
Port Charlotte is just about 20 minutes south of us and it was decimated. We do a lot of our shopping there, so that will probably not happen for a while. You're right. I think Cecily and Terry probably got a lot more of the hurricane than we did. But we haven't heard anything from them. I don't know if they have our email address or not.
Did the Guild settle their contract problems with the BJ?
Hope you're doing OK.
Gina and Dave

Friday, August 20, 2004

Bob Pell Pavilion dedicated

Bob Pell Pavilion at Wadsworth. Bob stands next to dedication stonePosted by Hello

Bob Pell Pavilion dedicated

The Bob Pell Pavilion was dedicated July 18 by the Wadsworth Aerie #2117 Fraternal Order of Eagles. More than 200 members attended the dedication. The pavilion was named for Pell, a Beacon Journal composing room retiree, for his more than 30 years of service as treasurer of the Aerie before he resigned because of a health problem. He also is publisher of a four-page nesletter for the lodge which he has been putting together six times a year for eleven years.
Bob and his wife, Peg, who just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary, and their son, Bob, and his wife stood proudly in front of the dedication stone (shown in photo) while Worthy President Lou Workmandelivered his address of recognition. Bob then took the microphone to thank officers and members for the honor.
There was a crowd of more than 500 for the picnie after the dedication.
The pavilion at 9953 Rittman Road, Wadsowrtdh, is open for rental to members and the public.
Bob and Peggy Sizemore were married August 20, 1949 in Clay, WV, and have lived in Wadsworth for 52 years. Bob retired from the Beacon Journal in 1991 after nearly 35 years of service. In addition to his service to the lodge, he has done volunteer work for Handcapped Citizens of Medina County. Peggy in her earlier years was a school teacher and until recently was a volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program.
They have four children, Cathy, Robert Jr., Steve and John; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
(Our thanks to newsletter editor John Kernan for information on the ceremony.)

Update on Larnie Green, composing retiree

Larnie Green, at age 57 is one of the younger BJ retirees from the composing room. He is now secretary-treasurer of the Akron Typographical Union #182 which means he also keeps the books for the Printers Club and is at the club a couple of days a week. "It is unbelievable what a small club pays out in taxes," he says.
Larnie retired from the Beacon Journal with nearly 30 years of service on September 20, 2001. He and his wife, Stephanie Balabowich, have been married 36 years and have two sons, Andrew. 26. who just received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice this year from Kent State University and Tim, 22, who has been working at Little Tykes for the past five years.
Larnie lived in Wadsworth during the early years of his life, but later moved to Hartville. The brief update on Larnie includes some information lifted from the newsletter of Wadsworth Aerie 2117 of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Larnie joined the lodge at age 22 and is a 35-year member. Publisher of the newsletter is BJ retiree Bob Pell. The newsletter, of course, carries a union logo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

E-Mail from Rick Reiff

great idea, harry. Here's something about me:

Last week I became a grandfather, as daughter Jennie Reiff, with help from hubbie Orange County Fire Capt. Stephen Miller, gave birth to Elias Stephen Miller. The Little E checked in at the same birth weight as his grandfather, seven pounds and 11 ounces. It remains to be seen whether Lil' Eli will be an Angels or an Indians fan, but he already looks like a baseball prospect.

I'm still the executive editor and columnist ("The OC Insider") for the Orange County Business Journal. I'm also a part-time professor of media at Chapman University. Last month I launched a weekly half-hour show on Southern California public television station KOCE. The show is called "Inside OC" and airs Wednesdays
at 7 p.m.

Life is good. I'm busy, I'm engaged and I am two strokes off of a single-digit handicap.
My best to the ABJ family.
Rick Reiff
Executive Editor
Orange County Business Journal
phone (949) 833-8373 fax (949) 833-8751
Host and Producer, "Inside OC" KOCE-TV
phone (949) 683-2414

Kathy Lally in buyout at Baltimore Sun

When e-mail to Kathy Lally with my August E-mail address list bounced, I asked if anyone knew is she had a new address. I got one reply that indicated she was on assignment with the Washington Post. A search on Google for :"“Kathy Lally"” brought up stories from an online media site called CityPaperOnline.

On August 11, the site reported on buyouts at the Baltimore Sun:

"So far, 18 employees have taken advantage of this summer's contract-buyout offer, including 32-year veteran cartoonist Mike Lane, whose work will be available on the Cagle Cartoon Web log site; education reporter Kathy Lally, who will reportedly be taking a temporary assignment with The Washington Post; and Perspective editor Jefferson Price, who will continue to pen his weekly Sunday column, according to Sun newsroom sources."

The web site had reported earlier:

"“on June 12, the Baltimore-Washington Guild and Sun management announced that they had reached an agreement to put into effect a "voluntary severance" program -- that is, they would offer up to a year's salary to some staffers who agreed to opt for early retirement. The paper's management said it hopes that 18 union members, in addition to some nonunion employees, accept the severance agreements. According to Michael Hill, a longtime Sun reporter and unit chair for the Guild, the union-management agreement was signed on Monday, June 14. Individual buyout agreements must be signed by affected staff members by June 25, he says, and there will be some provisions in place to make sure that older members of the paper's staff will not be forced out against their wills.

To read more, start at

Friday, August 13, 2004

Rebecca Strong is a lieutenant in the New Zealand Navy Posted by Hello

Cathy Strong in Solomon Islands Posted by Hello

Photos and note from Cathy Strong

From Cathy Strong, former Beacon Journal staffer, who now lives in New Zealand:

Attached is a picture of my first born, Rebecca, taken last week. She is Lt. in the NZ Navy and is posing for some sort of new tracking system. I think the picture was taken for some Navy publication. Also attached is picture of me in Solomon Islands, where I worked in the newsroom of the Solomon Island Broadcasting Corp for a bit. Since then I have returned to the newsroom at RAdio New Zealand. Just love it. I'm one of the chief reporters so I get to boss all the reporters and decide what stories to chase. I've been away from that newsroom for 18 years, but it feels like
going home. Love it.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

John Olesky on Fripp Island beach Posted by Hello

John Olesky on Fripp Island

From John Olesky:
Since my wife Monnie's death in February my three children have been "babysitting" their Dad.
I spent a week June 27-July 3 on Fripp Island, SC, off Beaufort, walking the beach, playing beach bocce (not as easy as you think on a slanted beach with 20-foot breaks on a rolling bocce ball), crabbing (no, not the kind I did at the BJ) and enjoying my older daughter's family from Aurora. We had to get past the armed guard (honest!) at the gated island. I guess so that teenagers couldn't prowl the beaches without being in an owner's or renter's family.
I spent Aug. 1-3 in Niagara Falls with my younger daughter's family from Brunswick. We rode the Maid of the Mist and got blown away, literally, by the wind and water near the base of the falls.
Then came Aug. 8-10 on Michigan's Grand Lake, a 5,600-acre lake which is smaller than the pond 2 miles away, Lake Huron. I went with my older daughter from Aurora to visit a friend from Monongah, WV, since first grade through first year of college. There was golf and climbing two lighthouses only a few dozen feet from Lake Huron. And we got to see my friend's three granddaughters, all adopted by his son and son's wife, the oldest 3 1/2 years old and all birth sisters.
And my son used my time away from the house to upgrade my computer to XP and to install a combination VCR/DVD that will let me convert hours and hours of family videotape (nearly two decades' worth) onto DVDs of each of our seven grandchildren for permanent recollections of the young 'uns. I'll also put together a DVD of my wife, Monnie, who died in February.
Next comes West Virginia University football, with the Mountaineers' season beginning Sept. 4. Monnie made me promise to take each of our grandchildren to a game, and sit in her seat. I'll be doing that for six Mountaineer Field games and a Thanksgiving night away game at Pitt.
That's my traveling. I'm sure there's been a lot of traveling by others. I'd like to hear about them. Just contact Harry at
John Olesky

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Is that all there is?

Tim Hayes (left) and Tom Moore at BJ retirees luncheon on August 11 would like to know where everyone has gone. There were only seven at Papa Joe's restaurant.
Posted by Hello

E-mail from Simon Sheppard's daughter

Here is e-mail received from the daughter of Simon Sheppard:
Subject: My Dad Simon Sheppard
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004

Mr. & Mrs. Liggett,
I am Roxanne, Simon's only daughter. Thank you so much for your kind
thoughts and prayers. Did you know my Dad? If so, do you have a story or
memory you would like to share with us? We have found great comfort in all
of the stories others have told us about how he touched their lives.
Please reply to:
Thank you again.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

How to keep in touch

As you know, I started sending out e-mail addresses to retired, former and current BJ types several years ago so we could keep in touch. Tom Moore put up a web site for the same reason but he is now in a delayed process of redrawing it. I send out obituaries and a few other items to those on the list, but there are other items of interest which I do not send because I am not sure of your interest. I have tried other things such as a BJ chat mailing list and message boards on Yahoo and Geocities which were too complicated to use and brought little response. Nothing has seemed to work. Now I am trying this web log or blog and hope it might succeed. We have needed a place like this were you can make your own posts and comment on those made by others. It also will allow use of photos which would be cumbersome in regular e-mail
If you would like to post to this weblog, please send e-mail to me at
Ask me to send you an invitation to become a contributor of this web log.

Then please post a note telling us where you are located now, what you are doing and other information about your family or your interests.

Harry Liggett in Akron, OH
March, 1995 retiree of the Beacon Journal News Desk

Simon T. Sheppard Posted by Hello

Retiree Simon Shepherd dies (Aug 6)

Simon T. Sheppard

Simon T. Sheppard, 87, went to be with the Lord on Aug. 6, 2004.
He lived in Akron all his life, was an avid joke teller, and participated in AAU fencing for several years. He served in the Army in World War II, and retired from the
Ak ron Beacon Journal after 31 years service.
Preceded in death by sister, Katie, and brother, John, he is survived by daughter, Roxanne (Kerry) Ker shaw; sons, Paul, Robert (Sue), Winn (Donna), Simon Jr., and Scott; grandchildren, Kristen Stansberry, Alan Sheppard, Ryan Sheppard, Kerry Shep pard, and William Sheppard.
Funeral service will be held Monday, Aug. 9, 2004, at 11 a.m., at Eckard-Baldwin Sanctuary Chepl, 760 E. Market St., with Pastor Steve Bucy officiat ing. Interment at Northlawn Memorial Gardens, where military honors will be conducted by Firestone V.F.W. Post 3383. The family will receive friends Sunday, Aug. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the funeral home.
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, Saturday, August 7, 2004, page B5, col.4]

Friday, August 06, 2004

Ty James Sheets Posted by Hello