Monday, November 30, 2009

Dawidziak is on his 'Christmas Carol' kick again

If it’s December, then it must be time for Plain Dealer and former Beacon Journal TV critic Mark Dawidziak and the Largely Literary Theater Company to stage Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol." The performances:

Sunday, Dec. 6
St. Paul Episco- pal, 317 East Lib- erty St., Me- dina, 2 p.m. $12 adults, $10 students. Information: 330-723-3355. Benefits Medina American Association of University Women scholarship program.

Tuesday, Dec. 8
Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, 3512 Darrow Road, 7 p.m. Registration required at 330-688-3295 or at library information desk.

Saturday, Dec. 19
Cleveland Public Library, Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium, 525 E. Superior Avenue, 2 p.m. Library has a collection of Dickens material on exhibit.

Sunday, Dec. 20
Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Beachwood Branch, 25501 Shaker Boulevard in Beachwood, at Richmond and Shaker Boulevard, 2 p.m. Information: 216-831-6868.

Dickens is played by Dawidziak. Retired Stow High drama teacher Tom Stephan plays Scrooge. Sara Showman, Mark’s wife, plays almost all the other roles.

Over the years The Largely Literary Theater Company has taken its production of “A Christmas Carol” to Cleveland, Columbus, Akron, Kent, Solon, Kirtland, Hudson, Cuyahoga Falls and Nordonia Hills.

Dawidziak has 11 published books -- including a novel, “Grave Secrets,” and non-fiction “The Barter Theatre Story: Love Made Visible,” “The Columbo Phile: A Casebook,” “Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing,” “The Night Stalker Companion: A 25th Anniversary Tribute,” “Horton Foote’s The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain” and “The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula.”

The Largely Literary Theater Company was founded in 2002 by Mark and Sara. It also does plays linked to Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain.

Stephan retired after 31 years as English and drama teacher at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. He has appeared in Weathervane Playhouse, Coach House Theater, the Stow Players, Goodyear Theater, the old Bath Players, and the Players Guild of Canton productions.

Mark and Sara also do sketches at the annual Books for Africa fundraiser at St. Bernard Church in Akron.

Contact has been made with Phil White

Phil White contacted me. I gave him Tim Greathouse's email address. Let's see how this turns out. Stay tuned.

= = = = = = =

The original post follows:

Phil White took wedding photos for Timothy Greathouse six years ago.
Phil kept the negatives since the Greathouses didn't purchase the photos then.
But they want to buy them now.

The problem?

Timothy can't find Phil White, whose employment ended in summer 2008 at the Beacon Journal, where Phil was advertising customer service manager. And neither can we, despite exploring several avenues.

If you know Phil's phone number or email address, ask him to call John Olesky at (330) 388-4466 or to email John at

Maybe we can get the couple married for six years together with the guy who photographed their wedding day.

Thank you.

John Olesky

Double delights

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Paula and I had a double dip of delight for Thanksgiving weekend. Well, make that a trifecta.

First, there was the family Thanksgiving dinner in Aurora.

Then came West Virginia’s 19-16 football upset of No. 8 Pitt at Mountaineer Field, ending with a successful field goal as the final seconds ticked off, on Friday night. A cold night turned into a heart-warming triumph.

After an overnight stay in the Waynesburg, PA Comfort Inn, we drove to Wheeling on Saturday and walked a few miles on a paved walkway along the Ohio River while we watched a tug push nine coal barges, toured historic sites in the city where West Virginia’s independence from Virginia began, donated a few bucks to the Wheeling Island Casino, had dinner at scenic, hilly Oglebay Park and took the three-mile auto tour of the holiday Festival of Lights before heading home to Tallmadge to finish the 556-mile trip.

West Virginia seceded from secessionist Virginia in 1861 during the Civil War. The convention that established West Virginia as a state was held in Wheeling, which became the first state capital, two decades before Charleston got the designation permanently. Today, the building is called Independence Hall.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge, once the longest suspension bridge in the world, connects the city and Wheeling Island.

Click on the headline to see photos of our trip.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is there any interest in a facebook group?

Is there any interest in starting a BJ Alums group on Facebook?

There already are a large number of BJ types on Facebook who would join a group.  The advantage of a group is that everything is in a central place.  There is a wall for posts, discussion topics, an events schedule and place for photos.

Our viewers always are welcome to contribute anything to the blog or our website, but it might be easier for some to just post their own comments, photos, links and video to a facebook group.

Leave a comment here if you are interested.

The value of the Beacon Journal Alums  blog depends on you.  We have a backlog of  items culled from old Tower Topics, but we need more information on what  former and retired BJ types are doing today.  We have not heard from many of you and your old friends are wondering  what happened  to you. John Olesky has been sending email to some of you and has come up with some nice posts.  It would be a  bit easier if you would just volunteer the information. As always, we would like to receive information and photos to let others know about you and your family.  If you cannot  email photos, let us know. We will arrange to scan any photos mailed to us.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Catching up with . . . Pam McCarthy, in "retirement"

Pam McCarthy emailed this correction 1/31/10
Just talked today with a friend in England who nearly gave my husband and I heart attacks when he said he read on the Internet that Kate was married! After q&a back and forth, I figured he must have found your "Catching up with...." story, so went back and read it more slowly (remember I said I was a good proofreader? Apparently only when I'm being paid!! or when I slow down to read carefully!) Either I wrote it wrong or you rewrote my info wrong, b/c Kate IS in nursing at UA, but BETHANY is married to Andy. Twins Kate and Michael just turned 21 this past weekend, so I am happy to report they are both still single!! Can you go in and fix that piece of information? Or I can just post a comment if that's easier. I'm sorry I didn't catch it sooner, but just gave it a quick read when it came out. Thanks for coverage either way.

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

It seemed like a simple question.

I emailed former Beacon Journal State Desk reporter Pam McCarthy concerning my attempts to get information on another former State Desk reporter, Cathy Strong, who remains Pam’s friend, and asked:

“How’s retirement going for you?”

Pam retired May 31, 2008 from North Canton Hoover High School after 33 years of teaching English and journalism. As I said, it seemed like a simple question, maybe even perfunctory.

Pam’s emailed reply:

Retirement? What's that????

I tutored kids who had failed the Ohio Graduation Test last fall, last spring and this past fall. Four weeks of tutoring, then a week of test proctoring.

Then, Business #1: Proofreader. I'm really good at it. Pays well. But spotty work, because I don't really seek it out. If people seek me out, I proofread and charge them.

Business #2: Senior pix photographer. It's fun and creative and I enjoy it. But my "business plan" was to offer my services to those students who couldn't afford the expensive studios. It was my intention to "give back." But it backfired because people who COULD afford studios saw the pix I did and started calling me. So I worked quite a bit, but developed trigger thumb and carpal tunnel (should have bought a mono-pod), so am currently not doing that!

Business #3: Became an independent consultant (and now district manager) for Arbonne International, a skin care and health products company. It's a direct marketing (direct sales, multilevel marketing, NOT pyramid) company and I'm enjoying the flexible hours, working with people, training people to do the same thing I do. Just had an open house today, with some holiday specials. Owning my own business is . . . interesting. But, so far, so good.

So, that's my retirement!

Ken (Pakenham, Pam’s husband) hopefully will retire this summer, so we can plan some REAL retirementy things. We did go to Hawaii the first summer and to Scotland to see his family last March. Plus I went to Houston to see a friend and then to Kingman, Arizona to see a sick friend in July, then back in August for her funeral. So, been busy!!

Meanwhile, the twins still have another year of school and health insurance to pay for, so I plan to stay busy for a little longer! I do miss watching the birds in the morning, though -- that's what I did the first couple of months I wasn't teaching!!

= = = = = = =


On the 2008 BJ Alums post by Harry Liggett about Pam’s “retirement” from Hoover High, she said: “It's been a nice ride. Now I get to re-invent myself.”

Boy, did she ever!

Pakenham Is an assistant professor of English at the University of Akron, teaching linguistics and English as a second language. “My sister was his secretary,” Pam says, “I met him when I was in graduate school. I'd come up from Coshocton, where I was living at the time, teaching at Ridgewood High School, and I would pop in to say ‘Hi!’ to her. And there he was!!”

Ken, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Pam were married in January 1988 and had twins Michael and Kate in January 1989. The twins are juniors at the University of Akron. Michael is majoring in history and Kate in nursing and is married to Andy.

Bethany Marvin Stevens, daughter of Pam McCarthy and former BJ photographer Tom Marvin, is a Los Angeles attorney specializing in commercial litigation. She joined the WilmerHale law firm, which has 1,000 lawyers in 12 cities, in 2008. Previously, Bethany – “Beth” to the family – was fixed income operations analyst for Lehman Brothers. She got her 2000 Ohio State degree in business administration and finance and her law degree from UCLA in 2006.

Tom Marvin is enjoying life in Kimbolton, Ohio on his Guernsey County farm with wife Kay.

Click on the headline to see photos of Pam, her family and her 1974 State Desk co-workers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Social scene

I ran into Paula and Bill Canterbury at the annual St. Sebastian Church Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday night on Mull Avenue in Akron. Bill, a former Beacon Journal reporter who later did PR work for city or county officials (I forget which), is with a private firm that prepares meals for the elderly. Wife Paula has been principal of Central Intermediate School in Wadsworth for a half-dozen or so years.

Bill grew up in Wayne County, West Virginia, which is adjacent to Mingo County, where I had my first job after my graduation from West Virginia University School of Journalism, as sports editor of the Williamson Daily News.

Accident victim was former BJ sports statistician

Kevin E. Vest, 18, a Coventry High school senior who died Nov. 18 in an auto/semi accident on I-77 near the Arlington entrance ramp, was a BJ sports statistician until a few months ago. He worked at CiCi's Pizza.

He was involved with Greenpeace, Stand Up 4 Kids and To Write Love on Her Arms. On his Spacebook page, Kevin said he owned Break A Sweat Entertainment (BASE), was founder of Arts For Aid (AFA), designer of Flye Clothing and manager of local band Steraon. Kevin also signed with a Barberton babysitting service.

There are nearly 100 entries on his Bacher Funeral Home guest book.

Donations may be made to First Merit Bank in memory of Kevin.

Click on the headline to read Kevin's obituary in the Beacon Journal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Russ Musarra learned his lesson the hard way

In "Gimme Rewrite, Sweetheart . . .
Tales From the Last Glory Days of Cleveland Newspapers—Told By The Men and Women Who Reported the News," a book by former Cleveland Press reporter John H. Tidyman (Gray & Company), retired Beacon Journal and Cleveland Press reporter Russ Musarra recalls how he learned a valuable lesson concerning the cutthroat competition between the Press and the Plain Dealer in those days. The Press died, and the PD presses on.

Musarra's recollections:

You learned your lessons the hard way. I learned how to cajole pictures from grieving wives and mothers. On the night shift, if somebody got killed in an automobile accident or a shooting or whatever, you'd want to get a picture.

Michael Kelly was a reporter for the Plain Dealer. Well, Mike was a very nice person. He just couldn't do enough for you.

He and I went out to a grieving parent's home one time to get pictures of somebody who had died. We got there at the same time and he said, “Let me do the talking.” We were talking and getting information. I'm writing as fast as I could.

He said, “Do you have any pictures of little Johnny?” And so she brought out the pictures of him and he took them all. He said, “Thank you so much.”

He's leaving, and I said, “Do you have any more pictures?” She said, “Well, no. I gave them all to him.”

I said, “Well, Mike.” He said, “Screw you.” If you got there first, take them all. Screw the competition.

= = = = = = =

Russ was known at the BJ for being an excellent reporter who could be outspoken. There were times when the entire newsroom stopped while Russ aimed his anger at an editor. In the later years, as we all do, Russ mellowed. I have first-hand evidence that you couldn't ask for a nicer co-worker.

After coming to the BJ from the Press and PD, the pride of Macedonia worked 30 years at the Beacon before his 2000 retirement.

Click on the headline for photos and a Ayers sketch and the cover of "Walks Around Akron," based on a 1987-on series of articles that Russ wrote and Ayers illustrated for the BJ about Akron landmarks.

Click here to read other excerpts

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Ott Gangl's comment was too delicious to leave hidden under "Comments." Here it is:

Ott Gangl said...
The best of my 35 years at the BJ were the ones on the Beacon Magazine with Russ and the late Bill Bierman.

We had so much fun, often loud, that they banned us to a far corner of the stock room, which didn't faze us a bit. Eventually they allowed us out and placed us next to the art department. Then we had a window.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Catching up with . . . Cal Deshong, for his 91st birthday

By John Olesky 
(BJ 1969-96)

When Cal Deshong was born, Woodrow Wilson was in his second term as President of the United States and another Cal (Coolidge) was five years away from taking the same office, succeeding Warren G. Harding.

Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama would follow. That's 17 presidents.

The Spanish flu pan- demic (H1N1, today called the swine flu) was in the midst of killing up to 100 million people world-wide from March 1918 to June 1920. Armistice Day had been declared 13 days earlier, ending World War I fighting.

Calvin E. Dishong was born Nov. 24, 1918 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to Nan Galbreath Dishong and Daniel Calvin Dishong, an Americanized form of the French “of or from the field.” Cal adds that he lived “in a little suburb that everyone called Pole Cat Holler at the bottom of Dishong Mountain. I guess that would be a little bit of Appalachia.” For those non-mountain people who don't know, a pole cat is a skunk.

As for the discrepancy in his last name, Cal explains: “When my mother and father ‘split,’ she changed the spelling when we came to Ohio” by substituting an “e” for the “i” in the family name to make it Deshong.

“My first job,” Cal says, “was selling papers on the street the morning that President Hoover was elected. I sold Extras at 5 a.m. I was only 9 years old, but was 10 years old 20 days later. That was for the Warren Tribune in Warren, Ohio.”

In 1939, Cal joined the Naval Reserve where he served till 1941. “I was a radio operator,” Cal says. “I had a Ham Station (W8QLA).

“I was called to active duty in June 1941 and took a physical at the Naval Reserve Armory in Indianapolis, Indiana. Doctors “found a slight rupture (hernia), discharged me and sent me home and told me to register with the local Draft Board.” Cal didn't get the hernia fixed till the 1960's at Akron City Hospital.

Then came Dec. 7, 1941, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. declared war on the Axis powers, primarily Japan, Germany and Italy.

“A year later,” Cal says, “I hadn't heard anything. I stopped in at the Draft Board and asked for my status. They couldn't find papers (on me) until they pulled out the bottom drawer of the file cabinet. They said, 'We thought you were in the Navy.' ”

”Soon I received a letter to go to Cleveland for another exam. I passed. They asked what I wanted. I said, ‘Give me the Marines.' They said ‘No, your eyes aren't good enough.’ I said, ‘OK, give me the Army.’ The papers came back Navy.

”I was sent to boot camp at Sampson, New York, on the Finger Lakes. That's a cold place in February. From there I was sent to Norfolk, Virginia. I was interviewed for placement and was sent to the Radio Transmitter Station at NOB (Naval Operating Base) where I installed new equipment and repaired transmitters.”

Does Cal have any war stories?

“The only hazardous part of my service,” Cal says, “was climbing the 150-foot radio towers to replace the (red warning) lights so that the planes landing at the nearby air station wouldn't run into them.

“I didn't have any sea duty, but was ready to be shipped out for sea duty when (President) Truman dropped the ‘two Big Ones,’ “ -- the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When Cal, at my request, provided me with photos from his life, one was with Chief Bruce Richardson at NOB Norfolk in 1945. “Bruce,” Cal says, “escaped from Corregidor when the Japanese took over” the Phillipines. The 1942 Bataan Death March followed. Richardson “and 40 men in a small boat island-hopped all the way to Australia and almost starved to death,” Cal recalls. Richardson passed away recently.

Cal was discharged from the Navy in 1946.

He says he “went back to Warren, Ohio, in February 1946 and went to work for the Warren Tribune. We had labor problems. Finally in 1952 I quit and went to the BJ. The Tribune made me a better counter-offer, but I refused.”

Cal says: “Before coming to the BJ, I worked as a printer in the composing room at the Warren Tribune. And I worked nights, 6-12, for Radio Station WRRN. I had a (radio) engineer's license.”

Cal worked at the BJ for 31½ years (May 1952-Sept. 1983). His favorite moment? “When Mr. Church hired me. I worked two weeks at night before I was hired. If you couldn't set enough type on the linotype machine in a shift, it was 'Sayonara.’ “

At the BJ, Cal says, “I was a linotype operator, then a linotype monitor when punched tape was used to run the machines. Later, I helped run the copy desk when the BJ first used IBM computers and (punched) tape to run the linotype machines.

“Then I ran the APS/4 Room, plus marking up copy for the tape punchers. Later, the tape was replaced and each puncher had his own computer keyboard and dumped directly to the APS/4 machines.”

“It's been 26 years (since his retirement from the BJ!) and it's hard to remember everything.” You did an excellent job of recalling, Cal.

Cal was married for decades to Mary Louise, who died in February 2001. They have a daughter, Mary Pat Deshong-Kinkelaar, who lives in Akron and is married to David Kinkelaar. “I was 45 when my daughter, Mary Pat, was born,” Cal says. “Everyone thought she was my grandchild. I was almost 90 before I was a grandfather.”

After her Kent State graduation, Cal and Mary Louise’s daughter worked in Cleveland for a Chicago real estate company; transferred to Washington, D.C. to run the building that housed National Public Radio; was Human Relations VP for a computer outfit that was sold to a Belgian company; and moved to Chicago to continue in real estate, starting her own company as the founding principal of Kinkelaar & Associates.

Mary is a Certified Financial Planner in the state of Illinois and is working on her CPA for Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences.

“She still has clients in Chicago,” Cal says, “and flies back and forth every few months.”

Mary and David adopted Claire Louise Elizabeth Garcia Kinkelaar from Guatemala when she was six months old – Cal’s only grandchild. Claire will be three years old on March 26. When Cal sent me a photo of Claire at a computer, he commented: “Could you use a ‘mouse’ at 2½ years old? Claire can. I couldn't use a pencil” at that age.

As for his longevity, Cal says “My grandfather died on his 90th birthday. My great-grandfather died in Andersonville Prison (in Georgia) after he was captured in the Civil War. My mother died at 93.”

In an understatement, Cal says, “I come from a line of long livers.” Indeed!

Cal provided a great ending thought to this tale: “I'm convinced there are guardian angels. Everything worked out very well for me.” It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

= = = = = = =

If you want to mail Cal a congratulatory card or note, his address is:

Calvin Deshong
3682 Vira Rd.
Stow, OH 44224

If you want to email Cal, his email address is:

To see photos of Cal, from 1918 through the Navy years to today, click on the headline.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

7 Ohio papers plan joint report on pensions

A group of Ohio newspapers that began sharing content nearly two years ago, and have also conducted several joint polls, are about to publish their first joint reporting project.

An investigation into public employee pensions that will utilize staffers from seven Ohio papers is set to run Nov. 29, according to Editor Ben Marrison of the Columbus Dispatch.

"It has been an issue in this state," Marrison, whose newsroom is the lead on the report, says of the pension issue. "Looking at if they are sustainable given the increasing expense and the increased inability of school districts and towns to pay for them."

Marrison said his paper is providing the main report, with contributions from The Repository in Canton, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, The Akron Beacon Journal, The Blade of Toledo, the Dayton Daily News and The Vindicator in Youngtown.

"They are each contributing examples from around the state," Marrison said of the other papers. "We decided we wanted to do the main part here and crunch the numbers in one place. But we are getting examples from around Ohio."

Marrison said each paper has at least one reporter assigned to the story, and each will run the main piece with other local content related to the issue.

The consortium, known as the Ohio News Organization, began to share content in early 2008 after complaints about the Associated Press coverage of some state issues. At least three polls have also been jointly conducted by the group.

"We are always looking for ways to make better use of what we have and what we can do jointly to better the state," Marrison said, adding that other such projects are likely in the future.

[Above report by Joe Strupp in Editor & Publisher]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tom Moore at work in Florida sunshine while we shiver in Northeast Ohio

Retired Beacon Journal deputy news editor Tom Moore keeps busy for six weeks every autumn, working for former Beacon Journal sports editor Tom Giffen at the 21st annual Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series in Fort Myers, Florida.

The players, in ages into the 70s and maybe beyond, compete on 186 teams from around the nation and other countries, such as Russia and the Dominican Republic. They play on the fields the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins use for spring training.

The Hobbs World Series runs through this week.

Tom Moore writes and takes photographs for “Inside Pitch,” a daily newspaper that the Roy Hobbs company publishes daily. Game results and schedules also are printed.

To see the photos of Tom Moore, taken by Tom Giffen, and a photo of Tom Giffen riding his bicycle to the fields, taken by Tom Moore, click on the headline.

See  earlier story on Tom Moore and Tom Giffen in Fort Myers.

= = = = = =

Tom emails me that he plans to leave Fort Myers on Thursday to return to the #$#@% Northeast Ohio weather.

Trammell Hogg's trip to D.C. & his Navy memories

Seven days before former Beacon Journal Composing night foreman Trammell Hogg died, the Mountaineer newspaper in Waynesville, NC published a story about Tram's Oct. 31 Honor Flight to D.C. to honor World War II dead and Tram's recollections of his Navy days. Here is the article:

by Worth Corn, Waynesville, NC Mountaineer
Sunday, 08 November 2009

When Tram Hogg looks back on his service in World War II, he sees good experiences and opportunities, but he also knows that those came with a hefty price.

Hogg, 82, served as a fireman first class and electrician in the Navy from 1944 to 1946. When he joined the Navy, Hogg tried to get into the submarine service, but he was told he was too young.

After training in Green Bay, Wis., and St. Louis, Mo., he was stationed in Apra Harbor in Guam and repaired ships of all sizes on the floating dry docks there.

“It was a large floating dry dock, made up of pontoons about 50-feet wide and 200-and-some feet long,” said Hogg, adding that the pontoons were welded together. “If ships could make it to Guam" they could be repaired permanently or temporarily. If it was a major, major fix, it was temporary so it could get to Pearl Harbor.

”Tugboats would bring the ships to the floating dry docks, which would pump in water to sink, allowing the ships to be positioned on keel blocks on the dry docks. Once the ships were in place, the dry dock would pump water back out and rise, lifting the ship."

When the process was completed, workers were able to work on all parts of the ship, including walking underneath it. Everything else was normal.

“It didn’t matter what size ship we had, we had keel blocks for them,” said Hogg. “We put electric and water to the ship, and everyone was still living on it like it was at sea.”

Hogg said every part of the docked vessel got power except the engine. Depending on their size, several ships could by dry-docked at the same time. The floating dry docks helped revive several ships, which the Japanese later called ghost ships because they believed the ships had sunk. Instead, the ships were repaired and continued to battle.

If there was a big hole in the side of the ship, Hogg said all of the compartments around it were closed off and sheets of metal would be used to replace the area around the hole. Most of the ships that Hogg worked on needed only maintenance or minor repairs.

He said he got to Guam in 1945 around the time the war was ending, so much of the fighting had stopped in the region. Throughout his time in the service, Hogg tried to keep things in a positive perspective. “There were a lot of things that you had to do that you wouldn’t do ordinarily,” he said. “But it was what’s put in front of you and you’ve got to do it or be in trouble. If you could cope with that, you had nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Hogg said he enjoyed everywhere he had to go, and his perspective helped him turn the most violent war in history into a series of positive personal experiences. “I think it helped me to be in the service, even going in young like that,” he said. “It was probably better for me than for my relatives — my mom, dad and sisters.

“I learned a lot. I saw a lot. Luckily, a lot of the bad habits that could have been going on didn’t really affect me.”

Hogg is thankful that he didn’t face combat during his time in the service, but he knows many did and didn’t return home. “I think I was very fortunate that I never was involved in any kind of direct fighting,” he said. “Luckily, the war ended before I was pushed into it. I feel fortunate about that. I don’t know if I would have the same attitude about things if I had.”

Hogg dropped out of high school to join the Navy in 1944. In 1946, he was discharged under the point system. When he returned to the United States, he earned his GED.

Though he was an electrician in the Navy, a car accident left him too shaky to pursue the profession. Instead, Hogg had a neighbor who worked in a print shop, and he got a job as an apprentice printer under the G.I. bill. He later worked for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio, as a night foreman of the composing room.

Hogg said he has never regretted his decision to leave school for the Navy. “I really sort of liked it,” he said. “Anything new is an experience, even back then.”

Hogg was one of three Haywood County men to take a trip to Washington, D.C. on a Honor Air flight on Oct. 31.“That was a fantastic trip,” said Hogg. “It was really surprising to me that people here and at the airport and in Washington were able to get together and do what they (did). It was a great, great trip.”

Hogg said the Rotary club did a fantastic job with the trip and the guardians “couldn’t be better people.”

Several people, including Hogg’s wife, Janice, had been trying to get him to go on the trip for a while. Finally, Janice Hogg filled out the papers, and Tram Hogg felt like he should go.

He was amazed at how the buses were able to navigate the streets with the help of police, who rode along the route and blocked intersections as they came to them. He was moved by the many people who stopped to thank him and other veterans for their service to the country and the many letters he received during “mail call” on the flight back to Asheville.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Hogg, adding that he received letters from seventh-graders at Canton Middle School, boy scouts and others. “It made me feel pretty good.”

Among the monuments the group visited, Arlington National Cemetery and the National World War II Memorial stand out the most for Hogg. “One thing that impressed me was all of the gravestones (at Arlington National Cemetery),” he said. “On TV, there are a bunch of them, but there are acres after acres after acres of stones. I knew there were a lot, but I never dreamed it was like this.”

He said the experience took him back to his time in the service and added more perspective to it, particularly the wall of gold stars at the WWII memorial. “It represents a lot of deaths and a lot of people,” he said. “You look at that and you’ve got to think about the people that died.

“When you hear people talking about it, you listen and form your own opinions, but when you see things connected to it, it puts your mind in a different way of thinking. You’re a little more involved and think about it quite a bit more.”

Hogg recommended the trip for any WWII veterans and said they will benefit from it. Hogg and his wife have been married for 58 years. The couple lives in Bethel.

= = = = = = =

Click on the headline for the BJ Alums obituary on Trammell.

San Diego's Paper Showing Its Slip

Open up Tuesday's paper and you may spot signs of the recent changes at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

A front-page story sends the reader to A10 to continue the story but you won’t find the story title. Instead, you’ll find the word “Slug” the term journalists call stories. Below that, you’ll find the phrase “Three lines of jumphed right in here, yuppers.”

Apparently the paper started a new pagination system Monday. That’s an automatic system for page layout.
You can see another sign the new system needs tweaking when you check out the Obituary page and find one with the headline “Name Nameline” and subtitle “This is a headline for a wire obituary;headline for wire obit."

The error was caught after the early edition and corrected for later editions.

The UT announced two rounds of layoffs in three months over the summer. In the announcement, the paper said its restructuring plans included changes that would "include a reduction and realignment of staffing levels."

Among the paper's plans for the future, according to the news release, were "an editorial effort that will drive more local news coverage to targeted communities in San Diego; a planned redesign of; and a substantial investment in a pagination system that will significantly streamline the newspaper's production process."

In May, the company announced that 192 positions were eliminated.

Former Composing night foreman Trammell Hogg dies

WAYNESVILLE, NC -- Trammell Wilburn Hogg, age 82, of 194 Kelly Springs Road, died on Sunday, November 15, 2009.

A native of Dalton, Georgia, he had previously resided in Akron, Ohio before moving to Haywood County 22 years ago. He was the son of the late Wilburn and Edna Mae Cronic Hogg and also preceded in death by two sisters, Mary E. Hillyard and Freida W. Schweitzer.

He was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II having served in Guam. He was employed at the Akron Beacon Journal for 29 years as a night foreman in the Composing Room, retiring in 1984. Trammell was a member of First Baptist Church of Waynesville where he was an active member of the Keenagers Sunday-School Class. He loved the Lord and enjoyed hunting, camping, cutting firewood, and traveling.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Janice Jones Hogg; one daughter, Kathy "Kate" Durham and her husband, Bill, of Hilton Head, S.C.; two sons, Kim W. Hogg and his wife, Karen, of Akron, Ohio and Keith W. Hogg and his wife, Sandra, of Clyde, N.C.; 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 19, 2009 in the chapel of First Baptist Church of Waynesville with Reverend Dr. Robert Prince officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to services at the church.

Memorials may be made to Youth For Christ of Haywood County, 56 Montgomery Street, Waynesville, NC 28786 or the Good Samaritan Clinic of Waynesville, 34 Sims Circle, Waynesville, NC 28786. Wells Funeral Homes & Cremation Services of Waynesville is in charge of arrangements.

For those who desire, an on-line memorial register is available at 'Obituaries' at
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Tuesday, November 17, 2009,. page B7, col. 3]

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Trammell spent his final years in Waynesville, NC, which is 30 miles east of the south entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC. Those who have been to that area, as I have, know that it's a perfect place for a man who loved camping and, outside the park boundaries, hunting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oren Dorell back at work after spring motorcycle crash

At my request, made after former BJ copy desk chief Jim Kavanagh provided me with their email address, USA Today reporter Oren Dorell's wife, Ginny Knapp Dorell, provided me with this update on Oren's health:

Dear John-

Thank you so much for your interest in Oren.

He is doing a lot better and back to work full-time at USA Today. He was hit on his motorcycle while commuting to work in May. He had four broken vertebrae in his back and shattered his right wrist and elbow. After three surgeries and extensive therapy, he is on the road back to good health.

Oren and I both worked at the Beacon Journal. We have fond memories of it, since that is where we met. Oren covered Barberton/Norton and the swing shift on the night desk. I worked on the copy desk. We were both there from 1998-2000.

Oren's email is and I am sure he would welcome contacts from former co-workers.

Sincerely, Ginny Knapp Dorell

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Oren and Ginny have two sons, Malcolm and Leo.

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Jim Kavanagh got this email from Ginny in October:

I think we are almost back to normal after our summer of disaster. Oren is healing nicely, and is just starting back to work full-time this week. He's still doing physical therapy on his back and is finishing up occupational therapy on his hand (other than what he is up to at home).

I am finally feeling like I can breathe again. It certainly helps getting sleep and not worrying so much.

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The first BJ Alums report on Oren's accident, which happened as he neared his workplace at USA Today, was posted May 10, 2009. He was taken to Fairfax County Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, with four broken vertebrae in his back and compound fractures of his right wrist and elbow.

Click on the headline to read the original BJ Alums report on Oren's accident.

Still dead after 20 years

The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner died Nov. 2, 1989.

The Her-Ex building at 11th and Broadway still is on life support. A grandiose $350 million plan to renovate and resusitate it has been put on hold by the staggering economy.

Parts of the building are used as movie sets -- in "Strange Days," "Cable Guy" and "The Usual Suspects." Heidi Duckler and her Collage Dance Theatre troupe once pranced up and down the grand staircases, performing for its audience, using the newsroom and other areas as props.

The building was designed by architect Julia Morgan. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst liked her work on the Herald-Examiner building so much that he commissioned her to build the Hearst castle in San Simeon, California.

One of the most famous Herald-Examiner editors was Jim Bellows, who made a career out of rescuing dull and sinking newspapers such as the Washington Star, the New York Herald Tribune and the Herald-Examiner.

Bellows was born in Detroit but the family moved to Cleveland by the time he enrolled at Kenyon College. Bellows worked at the Detroit Free Press and Miami News, both Knight Newspapers. Bellows died in March, 2009.

For photos of the Her-Ex building, the Hearst Castle and Bellows, click on the headline.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cathy Strong fractures foot

Former Beacon Journal State Desk reporter Cathy Strong, teaching journalism in Dubai after decades of doing the same thing in New Zealand, fractured her foot.

"I slipped on a stairwell and broke my foot .... in two places," Cathy reports on her Facebook page.

After snowboarding and water-skiing in New Zealand, and doing other high-risk adventures, Cathy gets hurt walking down steps!

If you want to see all the photos in an album of Cathy that I put together over the months, click on the headline.

To read previous BJ Alums blog posts on Cathy, go to the white rectangle to the right of the white "B" on an orange background at the top left of this page and type in

Cathy Strong

and then click on the magnifying glass. You'll get the previous adventures of Cathy Strong.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kavanagh escapes CNN exodus

It was only October 2008 when former Beacon Journal copy desk chief Jim Kavanagh reported in the BJ Alums blog that CNN was on a hiring binge. Copy editors, designers and people with graphics and photo skills (for a position they call associate producer) and one-person bureaus around the country were being sought.

My, how times change in 13 months.

I got this email today from Jim that tells a starkly different story:

“A large number of people were laid off this afternoon from Live, including a few whom I consider friends.”

The staff memo from CNN senior vice president K.C. Estenson said:

“We will no longer produce anchor-driven, continuous live video programming on; and instead, are shifting resources to create a unit focused on streaming major live events, producing video packages especially for and increasing our overall on-demand offering.”

Jim’s email continued:

“For those who may be concerned, I am not a part of Dotcom Live, so my job appears to be secure for now.

“Keep the faith.”

Joining the exodus from CNN is high-profile Lou Dobbs, 64, the last of the 29-year-old CNN's original anchors still with the network. Dobbs attracted controversy over his strong opinions, particularly on America’s immigration policy.

CNN correspondent John King, “State of the Union” anchor for the cable news network, will get Dobbs’ time slot for a show devoted to political coverage. CNN President Jonathan Klein said King's program "will reflect what CNN is all about: straight facts from our anchors and the widest range of opinions from across the political spectrum." No more Dobbs hammering away about illegal aliens and jobs leaving America.

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In a later email from Jim:

The layoff dust settled with 10 people sent packing, including all the anchors. It could have been much worse; CNN laid off 400 people a few years ago, 80 of them at Dotcom.

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Kavanagh left the Beacon Oct. 13, 2006 and began at CNN Nov. 6 as a web writer. He had been with the BJ for 15 years after five years at Knight-Ridder's Fort Wayne (Indiana) News-Sentinel. He became BJ deputy copy desk chief in 1992 and was promoted to copy desk chief in October 1999.

Newspapers are in Jim’s blood. His dad was a copy boy and cub reporter at the Detroit News before moving on to other things. His paternal grandfather was a reporter and city editor at the News in the 1920s and '30s. Jim’s dad's maternal grandfather owned a print shop in Bay City, Mich., and founded the Bay City Democrat newspaper.

None of Jim’s 10 siblings went into newspaper work.

Jim Kavanah has a blog, “The Freakin’ Deacon,” about faith. You can find it at

For CNN’s story on the departure of Lou Dobbs, go to

To find previous BJ Alums postings involving Jim, go to the white “B” on orange background at the top left of this blog, and type

Jim Kavanagh

into the white rectangle to the right of the white “B” and click on the magnifying glass.

For photos of Kavanagh, click on the headline.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Near-record attendance at alums' monthly lunch

The monthly gathering of BJ Alums at Papa Joe's missed the attendance record by one. Cal Deshong, who will be 91 on Nov. 24, Gene McCelland, Carl Nelson and John Olesky were there. The only worse attendance on record was three, on Jan. 14 of this year.

All except Olesky, a Newsroom retiree, are Composing retirees. And Olesky will be absent for the December lunch because he'll be on a Panal Canal cruise with Paula, starting in Los Angeles and winding up in Fort Lauderdale after port stops in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Aruba.

If you want to join the laughter and talk of today and yesterday, the group gathers at Papa Joe's, Akron-Peninsula Road at Portage Trail Extension, at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month.

Click on the headline to see photos of all those who attended.

Attendance records, going back to January 2006:

November 11, 2009 ……………. 4

October 14, 2009 ……………… 7

September 9, 2009 ……………. 8

August 12, 2009 ………………. 7

July 8, 2009 ……………………. 10

June 10, 2009 …………………. 10

May 14, 2009 ………………….. 8

April 8, 2009 …………………… 5

January 14, 2009 …………… 3

December 10, 2008 …………… 8

November 12, 2008 …………… 6

October 8, 2008 ……………… 8

August 13, 2008 ……………… 9

July 9, 2008 …………………… 23
(Sandy Levenson, Bob Pell memorial)

June 12, 2008 ………………… 8

May 14, 2008 ………………… 12

Feb. 13, 2008 ………………… 11

Dec. 12, 2007 ………………… 8

Sept. 12, 2007 ………………… 16

August 8, 2007 ……………… 7

June 13, 2007 ………………… 12

May 9, 2007 …………………… 14

April 11, 2007 ………………… 15

March 15, 2007 ……………… ??
(no story & photos no longer available)

January 10, 2007 …………… 14

December 13, 2006 ………… 18

November 8, 2006 …………… 13

October 12, 2006 …………… 11

September 13, 2006 ………… 12

August 13, 2006 …………… 15

July 12, 2006 ………………… 10

June 15, 2006 ……………… 12

May 11, 2006 ………………… 11

April 12, 2006 ……………… 11

March 8, 2006 ……………… 13

February 8, 2006 …………… 11

January 11, 2006 …………… 13

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brian Windhorst visits Dad

I got this email and accompanying photo from BJ retiree Tom Moore, who is helping former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen run the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series for all age groups:

Brian Windhorst, former BJ sports writer, gets ready to tour Lee County Sport Facility in Fort Myers, Fla. He's visiting his father, Todd, who is one of the honchos of the 21st Roy Hobbs World Series that is run by former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen. The Series has 186 teams taking part in the four-week event.

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To see the original story about Tom Giffen and Tom Moore and the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series, click on the headline. When you get to the original story, you can see more photos from Ft. Myers if you click on the original story's headline.

Bill Kezziah & JSK reunited

Harry Liggett got this email from former Beacon Journal reporter Bill Kezziah, which Harry passed on to me:

Hey, Harry:

To add to the BJ lore, I found in an estate sale recently some old B&Ws taken in the 1960s at Ascot Park.

The pictures were of winners of different races, but one -- framed -- that caught my eye was the "BJ Handicap" from April, 1960. In the middle was John Knight presenting a cup to the horse owner, a guy by the name of McIntyre.

The 8x10 glossy was probably shot by the park's photog and then hand-lettered by him. He burned three images on one sheet: the race, the cup presentation, and then a picture of the horse, owner, trainer, family.

The other pictures were of different races at different times. I was told the pictures were collectible because of the clothes the people were wearing. I wish the pictures had been signed.

If I remember, Ascot was torn down years ago for ... what?

Hope all is well in Akron.


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After I emailed Bill for more information, he replied:

John, this was a private estate sale near Charlotte, NC. These were B&Ws that were thrown on a table for $5 or so. I bought the JSK picture for obvious reasons and now have it hanging in my office at home.

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At my request, Bill provided personal information about himself since his 1967-1979 BJ days.

He was a weekly publisher for 20 years in Colorado. Bill taught journalism at the University of Colorado-Kearney. His research was credited in "Media Management in the 2003 "The Age of Giants" book by the University of New Mexico's Dennis F. Herrick.

Bill moved to Greenwood, SC in 2004 "to aid my elderly mother after my father's death. My mother died a year ago."

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Again at my request, Bill sent a recent photo of himself with son David in Savannah, GA.

Bill got his Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina and his Master of Arts from the University of Akron.

Cathy Strong photos from Dubai

I got photos of Cathy Strong in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate, from the former Beacon Journal State Desk reporter's Facebook site.

To see those photos, plus other Cathy Strong photos from her State Desk days, to her New Zealand days, to family births, to Dubai, click on the headline.

To see previous BJ Alums blog stories about Cathy Strong, just go to the white rectangle in the upper left, to the right of the white "B" on an orange background, and type in

Cathy Strong

and click on the magnifying glass.

There have been several BJ Alums items about Cathy over the years. You'll see them all. That's also where I got some of the photos you'll see when you click on the headline.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Photos of my 77th birthday party

My daughter Monnie Ann hosted a 77th birthday party for me at her Brunswick home. To see photos of the party, click on the headline.

About the WVU Santa with the naughty message on its butt: Pitt is WVU's oldest rival, going back about 105 years.

Abe Zaidan on JSK

The following is reprinted (er..stolen) from Grumpy Abe, a blog by retired BJ columnist Abe Zaidan

John S. Knight: There was a human side, too...

AS I WAS READING a couple of more death notices for American newspapers, I recalled filmmaker Paul Jacoway's excellent one-hour TV documentary on the life of John S. Knight that was aired a week ago on Ch. 45/49. It was a sad reminder not only of the passing of the last of America's great publishers but also of the abject decline of the print media itself. Jacoway, a part-time University of Akron instructor, worked on the film for three years with Dr. Kathleen Endres of UA as his advisor and editor. It represented the careful assembly of a massive store of material for a journalist who towered above the field - and made a fortune from it.

I never met his brother Jim, who shared many of Jack's attributes, but for the 13 years that I worked under JSK's influence, my desk was no more than 20 feet from his office. Others have written about his life largely from a corporate viewpoint tracking the path of how he and his brother built a media empire. But Jack's passion as a newspaperman dedicated to the city of Akron was never an avocation. He lived it intensely every day, whether he was meeting with CEOs or union guys who ran the presses at the other end of the building. Presidents sought his advice as eagerly as I sought another bet with him on a particular football game. If he won, he arrived at my desk after the week end and primly explained to me how such bets required much research and thought. On the few times that I won, he sent his secretary to me with a $5 bill without comment in a sealed envelope. It was a game with our own rules.

With individuals of great power and influence, human qualities can easily be overlooked. Jack Knight was human, forever a professional newsman while burdened by the tragedies of two lost sons and the murder of a grandson who was being primed to take over Knight newspapers. After that, Knight seemed to retreat to lower expectations for the future of his beloved papers.

The little things about his passions for the newspaper business were clearly reflected when, after much prodding, I convinced him to speak at the Akron Press Club's first annual awards dinner. As it happened, the program was on his 80th birthday, and although he groused about giving up the day for a speech, I think he quietly liked the idea in a pouting sort of way. I found myself in the desperate position of having to work with him on several drafts of the speech and deleting some remarks, particularly his dismay over editorials that said nothing. He didn't want to wear his glasses and complained that I had not placed cards on the tables for questions - which I convinced him that I had. At times he appeared to be an unsure rookie prepping to face a big audience. He gave me strict orders that the speech and following questions from the audience (about 300 guests) would end abruptly 10:3o. Standing next to him on the dais, I reminded him of the time and said I would call it a night. He snapped that I was still holding some written questions on cards and insisted he would continue. I didn't argue.

I suppose that the thing that told me more than anything else about the man is that although my political ideas were to the left of his, he was responsible for my becoming a columnist. I'm sure he disagreed with some of the columns, but never tried to stop me.

While Pulitzer committees and presidents saw him as a fearless outspoken observer of critical issues facing the nation, he was also an editor who circled commas and raised questions in the margins of clippings that he forwarded to the reporter. Having lost a son in World War 11 he saw the folly of our later engagement in Vietnam and defended the young war protesters at the 1968 presidential convention in Chicago, He was attracted to their youthful energy against silly policies.

His voice in his Editor's Notebook column today would be welcome - and perhaps even a strong influence on politicians as we stare at Afghanistan and further losses in human lives and other heavy costs. In the bottom-line culture of newspapers and broadcasters today, you have to look hard to find the kind of courage and sensitivity that came naturally to Jack Knight. Yes, it's a different world, but hardly much better in his absence.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

Today I rolled a pair of 7's for my birthday.

Nov. 5, 1932, to Nov. 5, 2009, equals 77.

I don't feel a day over 57.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Here's Lary Bloom's address

We have added Lary Bloom's email address to our list.  He would be happy to hear from old friends.

Fists fly at Washington Post

From The Capital Comment blog:
 Fists Fly After Post Editor Tells Writer, “It’s the Second Worst Story I Have Seen in Style in 43 Years”

It’s come to this: The Washington Post Style section, for years known as “the sandbox” because it was a playground for sometimes immature writers, has turned into a boxing ring because one of the editors was revolted by a story that came across his desk on deadline.

Details are sketchy, but numerous witnesses report that veteran feature editor Henry Allen punched out feature writer Manuel Roig-Franzia on Friday. The fracas took place in sight of Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli’s office. Brauchli rushed to separate the two.

It should be noted that Allen is nearly seventy, but he served in the Marines in Vietnam. He also won a Pulitzer prize in 2000 for criticism. Both apparently came into play when Allen jumped Roig-Franzia.

According to many sources, the incident began when Style editor Ned Martel assigned a semi-political story to Monica Hesse and Roig-Franzia. Playing off of an inadvertent disclosure last week that many congressmen are being investigated for ethics violations, Martel asked the two Style writers to compile a list of similar disclosures in the past. They came up with a “charticle” with a dozen examples, starting with Robert E. Lee’s Civil War battle plans for Antietam showing up wrapped around cigars.

Allen took a look and didn’t like. He started ranting about the number of mistakes he had found.   

Hesse at one point asked him to send the copy back to her. She got a bit teary at the verbal beatdown.

Allen, according to sources, said: “This is total crap. It’s the second worst story I have seen in Style in 43 years.”

Roig-Franzia then wandered into the newsroom. A veteran foreign correspondent, he has been turning out political features for Style. He heard Allen’s rant and stopped by his desk.

“Oh, Henry,” he supposedly said, “don’t be such a cocks-----.”

Allen lunged at Roig-Franzia, threw him to the newsroom floor, and started throwing punches. Roig-Franzia tried to fend him off. Brauchli and others pulled the two apart.

Veteran Style writers said they knew Allen wasn’t happy. He had come up in Style’s heady days, when writers could wax for a hundred inches on the wonder of plastic lawn furniture or the true meaning of the Vietnam War Memorial. No more. Working part time on contract, Allen seethed over the lost art of long-form journalism.

After the brawl, Brauchli called Allen into his office and closed the door. Allen’s contract is up later this month.

Few Style writers expect to see him again.

See the piece on Capital Comment   blog

Thanks to Debbie Van Tassel for calling our attention to the blog

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bloom play premiere is November 12-15

Click on the poster for better view

Here is the poster for “Wild Black Yonder,” the latest play written by Lary Bloom, former Beacon Magazine editor.  The world premiere by Margreta Stage Company will be at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural  Arts Center in Old Saybrook CT.  Performances will be November 12-15 at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. performance November 15.

The play stars former news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh in a drama of love and loss. The wife of an Air Force navigator believes that her husband, who disappeared 40 years ago in the Vietnam war, is still alive. A journalist — a natural character in a Bloom play — is researching a book on the fate of the navigator, his childhood friend.

Bloom also is co-author with Tom Ridge, former secretary of Homeland Security, on a book that came out this fall, "The Test of Our Times."  Ridge, describes the challenges he and his new department faced, including Anthrax scares and
reports (both real and false alarms) of new Al-Qaeda operations sprouting up in the United States

Bloom as a writer and former editor has helped establish and expand the genre of creative nonfiction. His book on writing, The Writer Within (Contemporary Books, and now Bibliopola), is considered a classic text. It is a natural result of the lessons of 35 years as a Sunday magazine editor. His monthly column in Connecticut Magazine has won an unprecedented two consecutive Silver Awards for column writing from the City and Regional Magazine Association. In addition, Bloom established and hosts the Connecticut Bloomer Awards, to honor citizens who have improved the quality of life in the state. He lives in Chester, Connecticut.

Visit The Kate website

My first great-grandchild!

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Brett John Olesky, the first great-grandchild of Akron Beacon Journal retiree John Olesky Jr., was born Oct. 30, 2009 in Akron City Hospital.

The parents are John Richard Olesky, whiz-bang manager of the Verizon store in New Philadelphia and previously an amazing store-rescuer for Alltel in various Summit County stores, and Adri Casper Olesky of Mogadore. Verizon took over Alltel last month.

Brett John is the fifth-generation John Olesky in the family.

My dad was John W. Olesky, Sr. of Monongah, West Virginia.
My son is John Larry Olesky of Tallmadge.

Brett John's great-grandmother is the late Monia Elizabeth "Monnie" Turkette Olesky, originally from Cinderella, West Virginia, who died Feb. 4, 2004, in Aurora, Ohio.

For photos of Brett John and my den wall with the family photo gallery, click on the headline.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Our Tom-Toms beating the drums for another baseball tournament for the ages

By Tom Moore

It’s that time again for the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series in Fort Myers, Florida and two BJ retirees are on the staff once again.

Tom Giffen, former sports editor, is the head honcho. Tom Moore, retired deputy news editor, is the writer for the organization. This is Moore’s 6th year in that position.

This is the 21st year for the Series and that’s the theme with an emphasis on 21 and cards. There is even a deck of cards in the gift shop made up of players and program covers over the years.

And two of the jokers are Tom Giffen and his wife, Ellen.

The Series is great fun to work for all involved; it’s like the old “family affair” that used to be the norm in businesses.

And time after time, players keep coming up to Tom G. and thanking him for the great tournament and most come back the next year.

This year we have 186 teams of amateur fast-pitch hardball. They come from all over the country and some from overseas. Ohio and the Akron area are well-represented, but you’d never know it from our beloved hometown paper. And those teams have won championships over the years.

Last week we had a team from Germany, the “German Red Barons.” This is their second year in the tournament.

This week we have teams from Russia and the Dominican Republic.

It’s a tournament where you can play ball as long as you can stand up with age divisions of 28 and up, 38 and up, 48 and up, 55 and up, 60 and up, 65s and 70s.

Teams play on the fields the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins use for spring training, so these amateurs are playing on major league turf.

The Hobbs World Series runs through the week of Nov. 18.

I enjoy working with the series because I meet so many interesting people. Like the old fellow, 70 or so, who told me that he stood out in Lee County Stadium in his baseball uniform, heard the loudspeaker music and took in the stands and the major league scoreboard and said: “I felt like I was 18 again!”

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Another Hobbs assistant is Todd Windhorst, father of former BJ sports writer Brian Windhorst.

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At my request, Tom provided the names of some Akron area and Ohio teams playing in Fort Myers in the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series:

Open Division: Akron A's; Dayton Braves; Cincinnati Sting, AAAA champions this year.

Veterans division (38 years and older): Akron Brewers, Kent Mudhens, Ohio Indians. Ohio team: Cincinnati Colts.

Masters Division (48 and older): Akron Silverhawks, Cleveland Rocks, Cuyahoga Indians, Kent Mudhens. Ohio Teams: Cincinnai Colts, Dayton Cardinals, Toledo Paramount, Youngstown Astros.

Legends Division (55 and older): Akron Blues, Cleveland Pirates, Akron Silverhawks, Kent Mudhens.

60s (that’s the age group): Cincinnati Colts.

55s (age group): Youngstown Astros, Ohio Classics, Toledo Muddogs.

Vintage division (62 and older): Ohio Bucks.

Timeless (70 and older): Only division with no Ohio teams.

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Hobbs Baseball World Series dates:

Open (28+) Division: October 24 thru October 31:
Championships were Saturday, Oct. 31.

Veterans (38+) Division: October 31 thru November 7:
Play began Nov. 1. Championships on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Masters (48+) Division: November 7 thru November 14:
Play begins Nov. 8. Championships on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Vintage 65s Division: November 8 thru November 15:
Play begins Nov. 9. Championship on Sunday morning, Nov. 15.

Legends (55+) Division: November 14 thru November 21:
Play begins Nov. 15. Championships on Saturday, Nov. 21.

Classics (60+) Division: November 14 thru November 21:
Play begins Nov. 15. Championships on Saturday, Nov. 21.

Timeless (70+) Division: November 16 thru November 22:
Play begins Nov. 16 (Monday). Championship on Sunday, Nov. 22.

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The league was named after the character played by Robert Redford in "The Natural," a 1984 movie based on Barnard Malamud's 1952 book. Roy Hobbs goes from obscurity to a hitting sensation at age 35, using his Wonderboy bat that was made from a tree struck by lightning. Hobbs hits one so hard and so far that it smashes the lights that illuminate the baseball field. Outstanding film.

Locally, where Giffen took over the Roy Hobbs League during his days as BJ sports editor, the Hudson Explorers clinched the 2009 Northeast Ohio AAA division by beating the Firestone Park Rangers, 9-8, in the double-elimination tournament.

And Roy Hobbs trustee Steve Sosebee of the 28s Colts and 38s ABF Knights threw out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians Sept. 9 game at Progressive Field. The way the season went for the Tribe, maybe it should have signed some of the Roy Hobbs players.

Click on the headline to see photos of Tom Moore with Tom Giffen (and his Steven Segal hairstyle), Todd Windhorst, Moore with Hobbs, the mascot dog for the Hobbs Baseball World Series, and Moore with daughter Kathy.

For information on the Akron area Roy Hobbs program, go to: