Sunday, June 27, 2010

Funeral Mass for Helen Liggett is Wednesday

Helen C. Liggett, 79, of N. Firestone Blvd., died at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hospice Care Center on Ridgewood Road,

Helen was born November 15, 1930 in Perry Township, Carroll County, Ohio, the daughter of John and Rose (Gedeon) Smolak, both immigrants of Czechoslovakia. The family moved to 625 Logan Street, Dennison, Ohio, in April 1934. Helen was a 1948 graduate of Immaculate Conception High School in Dennison.

She was married September 7, 1957 in Immaculate Conception Church in Dennison to Harry Liggett Before her marriage, Helen was employed as a secretary of Consolidated Distributing Company in Uhrichsville The couple moved to Akron in 1965 when her husband accepted a position with the Akron Beacon Journal. They have since then been members of St. Paul Catholic Church on Brown Street in Akron.

Helen had a beautiful smile and an abundant love of God. She enjoyed flower and vegetable gardening.

Helen leaves her husband, sons Thomas (Susan) of Akron and Robert of Copley and two granddaughters, Erin Catherine and Anna Teresa; sisters, Agnes Hayden of Fairlawn and Betty Hicks of Dennison, and brother Paul of Dennison.

Preceding her in death were her parents; sisters Mary Chini, Pauline Kowal, Josephine and Margaret; brother George and half-brothers Stephen, John and Joseph. Joseph died in a bomber crash in April, 1944 during World War II.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Saint Paul Church with the Rev. Fr. Matthew Ischay officiating. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery. Friends may call at the Kucko-Anthony Funeral Home, S. Main St., from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

We will be seeing you in every lovely Summer day,
in everything that’s bright and gay. We will always think of you that way. We will find you in the morning sun and when the day is through We will be looking at the moon, but we’ll be seeing you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

BJ reporter accused of inappropriately touching

 A Beacon Journal reporter  is accused of inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl.
54-year-old Bill Lilley is charged with sexual imposition. Springfield Township police say Lilley was the girls softball instructor at Massarelli Baseball School in Akron.

According to the police report, Lilley rubbed the victim's thighs, groped her buttocks, kissed her cheeks and neck and told her he loved her. This alleged abuse happened on several different occasions.
He also allegedly had her sit on his lap two times while they were alone.
Lilley is due in court on June 22.

[Reported by radio station WOIO]
©2010 WOIO. All rights reserved.

Catching up with . . . Russ Musarra

After months and months of prodding, former BJ staffer Russ Musarra finally relented and provided this information via email:

Hi John:

At long last, here's that Musarra update you asked for.



Here’s a brief 2010 Musarra update:

Current address: 8916 Falcon Drive, Streetsboro 44241
Home phone: 330-626-4188
Cellular phone: 330-322-8890

Some important milestones:

Beverly and I became great-grandparents in September 2008 with the arrival of granddaughter Bethany’s child, Lily. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on April 4, 2009, and welcomed our first great-grandson, Gage, born last October to granddaughter Megan.

Since I retired in February 2000, I wrote a general interest column for Focus, a monthly tabloid aimed at readers 50 and older, until it went out of business in 2004, and for a time wrote the Town Crier column for Akron City magazine and covered Hudson as a Beacon Journal news correspondent. I also served briefly on the board of Actors Summit Theater in Hudson.

I like to tell people I retired to work on books and I’ve worked on books ever since I retired.

"Walks Around Akron" is my third book project with Chuck Ayers. It’s a retrospective of the monthly essays we produced for the Beacon Journal from March 1987 through December 2000.

Our other book projects:

"Greetings From Akron" (subtitled "Celebrating Akron’s History in Picture Postcards"), published in 2000 by the Summit County Historical Society.

"Joe’s Place: Conversations on the Cuyahoga Valley," published in 1999 by the Cuyahoga Valley Association. Chuck was art director and with author Joseph D. Jesensky, illustrator of the book, which I edited.

After the Beacon Journal dropped them our walk essays were published by Akron City magazine in the early days of its operation, and then were picked up by Akron Life and Leisure magazine, which publishes them four times a year today.

My other post-retirement book projects were:

– A 192-page, limited edition history of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, written for its 50th anniversary in 2001.

– Al Simpson’s "Along the Towpath: A Journalist Rediscovers the Ohio & Erie Canal," which I edited for publication in 2003 by the University of Akron Libraries.

Bev and I moved to Streetsboro in 2003 after living 15 years in Northfield Center and 22 before that in Macedonia.

For recreation she and I work out at the Twinsburg Recreation Center, where we have a free membership thanks to our Humana health insurance, and we go to the beach at Sandbridge, Va., when we can with as many members of the tribe as can make it. (In case anyone is keeping track, we have four grown children, eight grandchildren and the aforementioned great-grandkids.)


Nothing major, except that I’ve failed to complete that second novel. (For those old enough to remember, the first, "Sleep With the Angels," written with ex-Cleveland detective Robert L. Bolton, was published in 1985. We concluded with a teaser about a second book, which, alas, never materialized.)

Click on the headline for photos of Russ, then and now.

"Walks Around Akron" book was first published in 2007, arriving in Akron after its printing in China and boat ride to Los Angeles and train trip to Ohio.

Ayers, former BJ cartoonist, is co-creator of the "Crankshaft" comic strip.

Russ succeeded the late Polly Paffilas as the BJ's About Town columnist, which he labeled "daunting" in a Polly retrospective following the 2005 death of the great Greek.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guild authorizes strike against Beacon

The Guild voted to authorize a strike against the Beacon Journal, according to today's story on the WKYC-TV web site.

BJ management is mandating a 25% to 30% wage and benefits reduction for Guild members while not asking managers to take cuts, Guild spokeswoman Stephanie Warsmith said.

Christine Sabo, director of marketing and community relations, said "the Akron Beacon Journal has been negotiating in good faith with its newsroom union since June 2008."

Click on the headline for the WKYC-Channel 3 story on the strike authorization.

Here's WKYC-Channel 3 story on health care lawsuit against BJ

Tallmadge man files federal
lawsuit against ABJ, owner

AKRON -- Akron Beacon Journal retiree John Olesky Jr. filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court here today against the ABJ and its owner, Canadian media mogul David Holmes Black.

Olesky Jr., of Tallmadge, filed the lawsuit -- the second of two lawsuits filed regarding broken retiree-benefits promises -- alleging that in 2006, ABJ broke its promises to retirees and one of their unions, according to his attorney Subodh Chandra.

Olesky Jr. belonged to the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild Local 1.

Chandra said that Olesky Jr., along with other retirees, were promised when they retired that they would receive low-cost prescription-drug benefits for themselves and their spouses for the rest of their lives.

The lawsuit alleges that, immediately after Black took control of ABJ, ABJ breached its promises and replaced retirees low-cost benefits with high-cost plans.

On May 13, in the other lawsuit that was filed before this one, U.S. District Court Judge David Dowd issued a preliminary injunction against ABJ and Black, ordering them to restore prescription-drug benefits to retirees from another union, the Communications Workers of America Local 14514.

ABJ and Black are appealing Dowd's ruling.

The lawsuit filed today seeks the same kind of injunction for retirees from Ohio Newspaper Guild Local 1, damages and attorneys' fees.

ABJ Vice President and Editor Bruce Winges referred all comment to the ABJ attorney Brett K. Bacon, with Frantz Ward LLP.

"We haven't seen (today's lawsuit) but this is about the kind of coverage, not the absence of coverage," Bacon tells Channel 3.

"We have complied with (Dowd's) order in the first lawsuit and would, even though we have not seen it, likely do the same for this lawsuit," Bacon added.

Bacon said ABJ is "trying to figure out, in today's economic marketplace, how we can get them coverage."

Click on the headline to read the story on WKYC-Channel 3.

Guild retiree files lawsuit against BJ over changes in health care coverage

Since my name is on this lawsuit, I will present the press release from the Chandra law firm representing me and potentially other Guild retirees without comment. And I will put the BJ's response, in stories by the BJ or PD, on the blog, too, without comment. The Chandra press release:

June 15, 2010

Contact: Subodh Chandra
216.578.1700 (o); 216.965.6463 (m); or

Akron Beacon Journal and Canadian media mogul David Holmes Black face second federal class-action lawsuit to restore promised retiree healthcare benefits

AKRON, OHIO – An Akron Beacon Journal retiree today filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to force Canadian media mogul David Holmes Black and the newspaper to restore promised retiree-healthcare benefits. It is the second of two lawsuits regarding broken retiree-benefits promises that these defendants have faced in less than nine months.

Retiree John Olesky, Jr. of Tallmadge, Ohio, was a member of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild, Local 1 (formerly known as the Akron Newspaper Guild of America). Olesky, along with other retirees, were promised that in retirement they would receive low-cost prescription-drug benefits for them and their spouses for the rest of their lives. Olesky retired in 1996 after a career with the Journal that spanned 27 years.

The suit alleges that in 2006, immediately after Black took control of the newspaper, the Journal breached its promises to the retirees and their union. Defendants replaced the retirees’ low-cost prescription-drug coverage with high-cost plans, causing a significant financial burden to retirees on fixed incomes. The suit further alleges that Black played a key role in interfering with the Journal’s obligations.

On May 13, 2010, in the earlier suit captioned White, et al. v. Beacon Journal Publishing Co., U.S. District Judge David Dowd issued a preliminary injunction against the Journal and Black, ordering them to restore prescription-drug benefits to retirees of Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 14514 (formerly known as the Akron Typographical Union). Judge Dowd also ordered the Journal to reimburse benefits that the retirees had had to pay out of pocket while the Journal was violating the law.

While Defendants have appealed Judge Dowd’s ruling to the appeals court, they must in the meantime comply with the ruling. Attorney Subodh Chandra, who represents the various retirees, said, “Now facing a second lawsuit, one would hope that it will dawn on Mr. Black and the newspaper that its retirees are not going anywhere until promises are kept. The Court has already ruled in the retirees’ favor once. Defendants can do this the easy way, or the hard way. But they must keep their promises.”

Today’s suit, which seeks an injunction, damages, and attorneys’ fees, is captioned Olesky v. Beacon Publishing Co., et al. Retirees in both suits are represented by Subodh Chandra and Donald P. Screen of the Chandra Law Firm, LLC in Cleveland, Ohio, and Allen Anderson and Kenneth Petterson of Smith & Johnson in Traverse City, MI.

Bad news

Less than half American adults regularly read newspapers. In Iceland, it's 96 percent. OK, let's get the joke out of the way: What else is there to do in Iceland?

Here's something that's not funny: American newspapers' revenue fell 30 percent from 2007 to 2009. But the decline was in single digits in Australia, France, Austria and South Korea. And far better than in the United States in almost any wealthy country you name.

Newspapers clearly are much worse off in America than in other wealthy democracies. Why? What can be done about it?

Click on the headline to read the New York Times article.

Ayers artwork at Mustill Store

Cascade Locks Park Association is displaying former Beacon Journal artist Chuck Ayers' original artwork throughout June; weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mustill Store.

Cascade Locks Park Association's mission is "to preserve, protect and promote the industrial, commercial and cultural heritage of the Cascade Locks Park along locks 10 to 16 of the Ohio & Erie Canal." CLPA is in the Cascade Valley Park, Mustill Area, off W. North Street, just west of the N. Howard Street intersection.

Call Rowan MacTaggart, Volunteer and Program Coordinator, at (330)374-5625 or email

for more information.

The information was gleaned from the Summit County United Way web site. Thanks to Charlene Nevada for calling the BJ Alums blog's attention to it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Catching up with . . . Art Krummel and Charlene Nevada after their auto accident

Paula and I went to the Irish-American Festival in Cuyahoga Falls on Sunday. As usual, I headed for the art place to see Art's bonzai tree. You know, those miniature minature trees that the Japanese like to grow. No Art bonzai tree. No Art. I asked around and BJ reporter Kathy Antonnini's husband said Art and his bonzai weren't there because "Art and Char were in an auto accident. But they're both fine."

At my request, Art emailed me. Be prepared for a whirlwind of activity:

Thanks for "inquiring." Sorry we haven't been more in contact. Last week, starting with Sat night on (the accident), was the week from hell. I had to deal with every beaureaucrat imaginable.

The grandbaby is born. I can tell you in a nutshell that she was 7.5 lbs. and about 21" long. She was born in early May (I wanna say the third but not sure). Her and her sis, Julia, and mom and dad are doing fabulouso. We just spent the afternoon and evening here with them. It was a birthday dinner and Julia was so excited to give me my presents.

Yesterday, she came to my screen door and shouted "grandpa, grandpa." When I went to see her she said "happy birthday." I opened the door and let her in. Mom and dad and Hannah, the new baby, were just out of view. I picked Julia up and she hugged and kissed me and said happy birthday again. Then she put her head on my chest and just hugged me for the longest time. It was her idea to come over. She insisted they come see me ON my birthday. What a great birthday present and it'll last a lifetime. Btw she is only 3 in August.

Grandpa daycare will be reopening for the month of August so little Hannah doesn't have to enter the daycare world until Sept.

I attribute grandpa daycare with the closeness that Julia and I enjoy. I cared for her for about 5 weeks, about 6-8 hours a day. I think I'll have Hannah for a little less time each day; Char assures me she'll be available more to help. It is very rewarding but also pretty exhausting.

OK, that covers the new baby.

The accident - a kid, just turned 17, tried to run a "yellow" light that he said he saw turn red. He really was trying to speed through dead red.

I never even saw him until his headlights filled my window.

He "T-boned" us and it was a really solid wallop. I thought immediately, while struggling to regain control, that was a pretty big collision. I knew I felt OK but was worried that Char might have been hurt. I didn't really know what had happened yet.

As it turned out Char was fine, I was fine. The kid (fine too) smacked us square into the driver's side but the main impact was directly on the divider between the front and rear doors. Thank God it was a sturdy little car. We were outweighed by 600 lbs. but our Suzuki Sx4 took the hit and I was able to drive home. Only a mile (I wouldn't have driven it much farther). He got cited for crashing the light. I had the car towed to Barberton Tuesday where we bought it. They will fix it and then we're trading it in. Only 17K miles but it will always be the "wrecked" car. 'Course the insurance co. doesn't want to pay anything for that blemish "just the cost to repair it."

No independent estimates anymore either. Every body shop will fix the car "per the insurance estimate." Ugh.

So fighting with the insurance co., getting the car towed to the dealer, renting a car, babysitting, getting a new sticker at the License Bureau, and then Fri. the IRS claiming we owed $2K more on last year's taxes. We were ready to be taken out of the oven, we were cooked.

After a 3.5-hr. "chat" on the phone with the IRS they were able to "adjust" the return to reflect exactly how it was filed.

I had to have a couple beers by then. So, as you probably know, retired doesn't mean time to while away the hours listening to the birds.

The rest of the summer is shaping up to be a buster. In 4 days we go to Char's 45th class reunion and then continue from Wheeling (West Virginia) to Garden City Beach, south of Myrtle Beach (South Carolina), to meet up with Ann and Roger Mezger and Sue and Roger Reynolds for a week's vacation.

Then we return and in 4 more days we fly to Connecticut to meet my son's future in-laws (Oct. 30 wedding in CT), then we fly home and in 4 more days I set up an art show at Hardesty Park. Then grandpa daycare opens pretty shortly after. Then I have to set up another art show at Hudson's Art on the Green. September something. Then October is the wedding and then it's the craziness of the holidays.

Wonder if I can get a job just to escape the craziness? Probably not.

Retirement ain't for the weak or lazy, that's for damn sure.

Hope everything is going well for you folks.

I'm sorry to hear Harry's Helen is having troubles. Such wonderful people.

Take good care

Art and Char

WHEW! It's exhausting just reading Art's stream-of-consciousness recollections. They'll have enough things to tell their grandchildren for years to come from just this one week.

The Mezger and Reynolds couples are BJ alums, too. Ann Sheldon Mezger once was in charge of the BJ Features Dept. Roger Mezger was among about two dozen BJ folks who switched to the Plain Dealer. Sue Reynolds, as I recall, kept track of loose ends for Metro reporters.

What about you? Why not catch BJ Alums up on your life since the BJ? The spike in the number of hits to the website when we run a "Catching Up With" article proves that your former co-workers are interested. Also email recent photos of yourself with family members.

And travels? Where have you been lately? We'd like to know, with photos that show you and your family at your travel destinations. Email details and photos to John Olesky at

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bob Skeens' widow dies

Nettie Evans Skeens, 75, went home to be with the Lord on June 12, 2010.

She was born Dec. 29, 1934 in Sutton, W.Va.

Preceded in death by husbands, Lawrence Evans and Robert Skeens. Survived by children, Roger (Polly) Evans, Danny Evans, Cheri (Neal) Shimp; grandchildren, Jeremiah Evans, Brady Evans, Ryan (Sarah) Shimp; great- granddaughter, her ``baby girl' Chloe; she was looking forward to her new grandson in July and special friend, Donna Belcher. She will be sadly missed by her family and all who knew her.

Nettie loved Jesus, her Lord and Savior, and served Him by being a prayer warrior for her family and friends.

Graveside service will be June 15, 2010, Tuesday, 11 a.m. at Greenlawn Cemetery, 2580 Romig Rd, Akron, OH 44320, Section Q1. Cox, Barberton (330) 745-3311

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on June 13, 2010

I remember Bob Skeens as an erudite printer with wavy hair, something I never had, who wore glasses and was an intelligent conversationalist. Bob died in 1999 with the Rev. Jimmie Lee Ellis at his side. Pastor Ellis of the Home Missionary Baptist Church on Oaks Drive in Akron died last November.

Bob's wife Nettie and her children, Cheri Shimp & Danny Evans, recalled Bob's final days when they posted a tribute on Pastor Ellis' funeral home guest book.

Retired printer Cal Deshong had memories of both Bob and Nettie. "Bob and I were good drinking buddies back in the '50's," Cal emails, "when Printers were "Printers."

"I remember staying all night at Bob's place after we spent a night on the town... his wife fixed a bacon and egg breakfast for me. He called me Butch back then. I weighed 185 and was single."

Cal added: His name was in the 1984 Employee Directory but not in the 1985 Directory. It's possible he took a buyout.

Bob was born June 21, 1929, and began his BJ career on July 2, 1945.

Now Bob and Nettie are reunited.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Eyeballing Tom Moore's situation

By Tom Moore
Newsroom retiree

As my good friend Dave Boerner says, “Don’t get old.”

Of course the alternative is not too good either.

But one of the downsides is all those visits to doctors . . . and my latest, an eye surgeon.

Now horrible thoughts can run through your mind when it comes to fooling with the eyes. But anymore it’s routine laser surgery to get rid of cataracts in my left eye. Thousands of folks have gone through it . . . and if you live long enough, odds are you’ll experience the procedure.

And it’s a piece of cake.

Just a bit on the irritation side. No pain . . . just uncomfortable.

The worse part of the whole ordeal, at least for me, is trying to hit the eyeball with all those drops necessary before surgery.

In this case, one medicine had to be taken twice a day for three days and another four times a day. And those drops are not cheap. One is 30 bucks co-pay . . . the other $60. (Hello, doughnut hole).

On surgery day, I was given a wristband with my name and birth date on it. And over my left eye, the nurse pasted a piece of paper . . . just so the doc didn’t do the wrong one.

Then on to the table in a very cold room, my blood pressure was taken and my temperature (the temperature measurer was inserted in my ear).

Next my blood surgery was checked and I was hooked up to a monitor. Then came an IV in my right arm. (The scar it left matched the one on my left arm . . . which came about the day before when I went to the hospital for bloodwork for my kidney doctor). And somewhere along the line came an oxygen tube for my nose.

I was covered with a blanket and repeatly asked if I was too cold, I could have another blanket. I told them I was fine.

Then came more drops, as my left eye was propped open to prepare for the operation. The nurse kept putting in drops.

Finally a goopy-like drop, almost like the old paste we used in the hot type days, landed in my eye. That seemed to help keep it open.

As I said, I was feeling no pain.

And then the surgeon came in to do his thing.

I looked straight ahead as he worked . . . and saw the greatest light show I’ve experienced in a long time. Like the Fourth of July fireworks in the left eye . . . brilliant yellows, dancing reds . . .

And then it was over.

I was wheeled into the “kitchen” where I got off the table and sat down for a much-needed cup of coffee and a banana nut roll. (I forgot to mention, you couldn’t eat or drink anything 12 hours prior to surgery).

I was given a patch to wear over the eye at night so I wouldn’t accidentally touch, etc, it.

And a pair of sunglasses that was worth the surgery. Great ones, that wrap all around the eyes.

No problems that first night and not any other since.

When I went back for a checkup the next day, I found that with the left eye I could read that EAI4 eye chart much better than with the right eye.

Now all I have to do is get through the next few days with four different eyedrops.

Click on the headline to see a photo of Tom with really cool sunglasses.

What about you? Have you had any surgeries this year. Email John Olesky at

with the details and recent photos of yourself.

Heck, your former co-workers are interested in your life since the BJ. Tell us all about your life since the BJ, with photos. To see what we're interested in go to the white rectangle in the upper left, to the right of the white "B" on an orange background, and type in

Catching Up With

and click on the magnifying glass. You'll see dozens of others who have provided us information and photos about their lives since the BJ. Try it; you'll like it. And, the spike in the number of hits on the BJ Alums site when we do an article in the Catching Up With series shows, so will your former co-workers.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Skit funny; reality not

The Onion, which describes itself as "America's Finest News Source" but which thrives on whimsy, has a hilarious YouTube video about the Boston Globe catering to the last three people still reading its newspaper, including a homeless man who objects to shrinking the width and length of the paper because then it won't cover him adequately while he sleeps on a bench.

Like most jokes about the situation for newspapers today, you may laugh, but there's always the fringe of sadness that newspapers have come to this.

Click on the headline to watch the Onion's fake interview with Boston Globe management. WARNING: Some may find the language objectionable, but no one can deny the point being made is right on target.

Our thanks to newsroom retiree Dave Boerner for finding and forwarding the YouTube video to the BJ Alums blog.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Catching up with . . . Jeff Sallot

At my request, Kent State graduate and former Beacon Journal staffer Jeff Sallot sent me this email about his life since the BJ:

Hi John,

Sorry to be so slow responding. I've been in Italy most of May with my partner, Rosemarie Boyle. We're celebrating 35 years of marriage this year and we weren't doing a lot of email during the trip.

That said, I was delighted to hear from you after all these years. I have very fond memories of the State Desk crew from my time at the Beacon-Journal (1969-71).

I'm going to make this "My Life So Far" piece brief, because you already have the lead.

My marriage with Rosemarie is the most important thing that has happened to me. We live in Ottawa, Rosemarie's hometown, and have two wonderful grown children. Mike, our eldest, is two hours away in Montreal. Kate lives here in Ottawa.

My son from my first marriage, Ken, is happily married to a wonderful woman. They live in Gainesville, Florida.

I joined the reporting staff at The Toronto Star after leaving the Beacon Journal in June, 1971. I was transferred to their Parliamentary bureau in Ottawa in 1972.

I met Rosemarie at the Star. She's a journalist, too.

By 1974 Rosemarie and I were both back in Toronto, working for The Globe and Mail, a remarkable national newspaper. I stayed at the Globe for 32 years.

Most of those years were in foreign or national bureaus. At various times I was the bureau chief in Moscow, Ottawa and Edmonton. I figured once that I have covered stories in more than 30 countries and every province and territory in Canada.

There were a couple of timeouts from daily journalism to do fellowships at the Canadian Centre for Arms Control and, in China and Japan, with the Asia Pacific Foundation.

I'm an academic now. Three years ago I retired from the Globe to join the faculty at the Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication. I teach multimedia reporting - you can check out my website at
Reporting lab
- and am involved in several projects with our Centre for Media in Transitional Societies.

The past couple of summers I taught journalism at the National University of Rwanda, a country I first visited in 1992 to cover the horrible genocide.

I still keep my hand in, writing for an online publication about human rights and national security, and doing talking head gigs at CBC, CTV etc.

But my biggest professional kick now is seeing my students doing journalism. One of my grad students was on CBC radio just this morning with a piece about military weapons sales. Nine of my undergrads have multimedia pieces on the web site of The Ottawa Citizen.

Rosemarie is now in public service as a senior official with an agency that promotes foreign trade. She's off to Zambia this summer and then repacks for another trip to Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Well, I guess I wasn't as brief as I intended. But the long and short of it is I've been very lucky, and life is good.

Any chance you and Paula might ever be in this part of the world? I haven't been back to Ohio in several years, but I'm thinking of a possible road trip next year.

Now, your turn, John. Fill me in on what you've been up to.

All the best,
Jeff Sallot

Kent State University graduate Jeff didn't mention that he played a major reporting role in covering the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings by the Ohio National Guard -- four dead in Ohio and nine wounded -- and the followup coverage under the command of the late, amazing Patrick T. Englehart. That brought the BJ one of its four Pulitzer Prizes.

Or that his coverage of Royal Canadian Mounted Police security service scandals in Quebec for the Globe resulted in the publication of his book on police corruption, "Nobody Said No." Which brings the book authors among BJ alums to more than 40 -- see previous BJ Alums articles on that category.

He’s covered wars and other violent conflicts in Afghanistan, Armenia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lithuania, Russia and Rwanda (his multimedia report on his return to that small African nation is posted at the Rwanda Initiative website).

In 2008 Jeff was unanimously elected a Life Member of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Jeff blogs at Wordpress.

His photos are at Jeff's photos

Click on the headline to see photos of Jeff in Canada and abroad.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

McClellan selling 5 cars, motorcycle

Retired printer Gene McClellan, who has been tinkering with cars almost as long as the original Henry Ford, finally is ready to sell his five vintage cars -- a Porsche and four Pontiac Fieros -- along with his motorcycle.

Gene and his brother have been working on these 1980s classics for a long time. Gene has five cars in his two garages, along with an 1100 cc motorcycle.

Gene was among six BJ retirees at the monthly lunch in Papa Joe's restaurant at Akron-Peninsula Road and Portage Trail. It's open to any BJ types at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month.

Others at Papa Joe's, laughing and telling jokes as usual, were retired printers Carl Nelson, Cal Deshong and Al Hunsicker and newsroom retirees Dave Boerner and John Olesky. Another newsroom retiree, Tom Moore, usually present, was having eye surgery today.

Six is about average for the monthly gatherings for the past year.

Click on the headline to see photos of the attendees, plus a Porsche and a Fiero.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Donut hole? $250 tax-free check on way

Once you hit the "donut hole" in the BJ's Aetna Medicare Advantage program, the federal government will automatically send you a tax-free check for $250 within 45 days. There are no forms to fill out. Next year the government will subsidize half of your donut-hole cost. By 2012, there will be no donut hole.

For those who don't know, the donut hole is when the total cost of your prescriptions, no matter who pays for them, hits $2,830 for 2010. I hit my donut hole in May. After that, you pay 100% of the cost of all brand-name drugs.

Click on the headline for more details.

Aetna gets more than $1,000 from the government for handling your Medicare Advantage than it cost Medicare to do its own bookwork. That will be reduced in future years.

Go to

for additional details.

To see how I’m saving myself $2,101.54 in prescription costs for the final six months of 2010, click on Canada

Monday, June 07, 2010

Bears love BJ retirees property

After seeing Marv Katz's bears and wild boar, Olesky's 6 raccoons and retired printer Dick Latshaw's garage-loving alligator, BJ retiree Elizabeth Patton sent me this email:

John, here are pictures of my first hint that I had a bear by my house. Pictures taken a week later show the actual villain.

We spoke with Div. of Natural Wildlife and they told us to remove all feeders during April through November to prevent this kind of visitor.

My neighbor has a 1.5-hour video of the little guy sitting on the ground
having lunch from her feeders. Cute, but a little scary.

No signs yet this year of a comeback, but I keep watching.

-- Elizabeth

If you have personal wild animal stories, preferrably with photos, email them to John Olesky at

Click on the headline to see Elizabeth's bear, her Blairsville, Georgia home and her dog, Cookie.

For a 2009 story catching up with Elizabeth's life after the BJ, go to

Health update on Katz daughter Lisa

At my request, Marv Katz, who included the Beacon Journal in his 40-year career, provided this update on his daughter Lisa, who is battling cancer:

Lisa seems to be doing fairly well, all things considered. She had her sixth session of chemo (June 2) and the usual fatigue set in. After (husband Major) Thomas (Pagel) graduates June 11 from his course at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, they'll head for Houston for a reevaluation of her cancer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. That could lead to another six bi-weekly chemo sessions in the vicinity of Fort Lewis, Wash., the site of Thomas' next Army assignment, or to six weeks of radiation treatment at M.D. Anderson.

Lisa's been doing a very good job of keeping interested folks up to date at her cancer Web page
as well as on Facebook.

-- Marv

Click on the headline for photos of the Katz family at Lisa’s wedding, and of bears and boar in and near Hendersonville, North Carolina, where Marv and wife Joyce live.

For an earlier BJ Alums blog story on Lisa’s health, go to

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Wild tales of bears and boar

Marvin Katz has his own tales of bears and wild boar to follow up on BJ Alums articles on 6 raccoons under the Olesky roof and an alligator in retired printer Dick Latshaw's garage.

Let Marv tell it:


You said you wanted to know about wild animals where us ex-BJers live. We had our own personal experience with bears (several) weeks ago:

Joyce and I spotted what appeared to be four bears, probably a mother
and three cubs, in trees adjacent to our front yard about 9:30 in the
evening. The bears had removed two bird feeders after bending the
shepherd's crooks holding the feeders. I'd forgotten to take in the
feeders before we left for dinner.

When I went into the yard to get the feeders, I heard hissing and
thrashing sounds from the trees on the right side of our lot near the
road. I immediately retreated to the garage and closed the door. There
was more hissing and thrashing when I walked out on the front porch.

As Joyce and I watched from our bedroom window, we were able to make out
three forms come down one tree trunk and a fourth come down a second
tree. All headed into the woods. Apparently the bears had been working
over the feeders and retreated to the trees when our car approached the

I'm not putting out our bird feeders for a while. Some of us have seen bears around here in the daytime, too. They'll generally stay away from people, but don't get
between a mother and her cubs.

Here are some recent photos of (wild)life here in Western North Carolina that I thought y'all might enjoy. One is of a bear that Carol and Dan Mickewich, our across-the-street neighbors, observed bathing in the fountain behind their house while they were having lunch one day last week. Another is of a wild boar that was foraging last week in Hidden Hills, the development you drive through to get to ours. Finally, there's a shot from the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times of a bear exploring downtown Asheville (last week).

In addition, here's a link to the AC-T's story about the city black bear, which includes a link to a 3-minute video:


Maybe the black bear wandering in downtown Asheville with a gash in its leg was looking for a room at the 255-room Biltmore, the Vanderbilt mansion.

Marv retired in 1998 after 40 years of journalism, public relations, freelance writing and PR consulting. Three years later, Marv and wife Joyce moved from Rockville, Md., to a mountainside home five miles "due north" of downtown Hendersonville, N.C., which is 22 miles from Asheville.

Marv and Joyce have two daughters -- Kent State grad Lisa whose battle with cancer has been chronicled on the BJ Alums blog and who is married to Major Thomas Pagel; and Susie, a family-practice physician in Portland, Oregon, who is the mother of two Katz grandchildren.

Well, we've had bears, boar, alligator and raccoons. If you have a wild animal story, email it (with photos, if possible) to John Olesky at

Click on the headline to see Marv's bears and boar.

Friday, June 04, 2010

You CAN go home again

In "You Can't Go Home Again," Thomas Wolfe's novel, he has beginning author/protagonist George Webber utter the immortal paragraph:

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time — back home to the escapes of Time and Memory."

When it comes to Monongah, a West Virginia coal mining town with a population of 911, about the same as when I was a boy growing up there, Wolfe got it wrong.

I went to my Monongah High School Alumni Reunion over Memorial Day weekend and little had changed, other than the ravages of time on the faces and bodies of my fellow Class of 1950 graduates. This is a hills-and-hollers town that survived the deaths of 362 miners in a 1907 explosion and puffs with pride over its two-time state champion quarterback, Nick Saban, becoming the only man to coach two colleges to national titles (at LSU and Alabama).

But the tales at Green Hills golf course, Muriale's Restaurant and Westchester Village took us "home" again to those tumultous, glorious days "back home to our childhood."

I know you won't know anyone but me, but if you click on the headline you'll see photos of people from the Town That Never Changed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

More book authors with BJ ties

BJ Alums got this email from BJ ad guy Mike Williams about BJ folks turned book authors (we're closing in on 40).


Two additions from the Advertising Dept. side:

Jenna Ness... (Jennie Lucas) was an ad assistant in Retail for a few
years in the '90s. Has many romance novels to her name. Writes for
Harlequin Presents.

Check out

Cinda Chima... worked in the classified phone room as an ad taker/proofer in the '70s. She published her first young adult fantasy fiction for Hyperion in
2006. Of course she'd been shopping the first manuscript for years.
Her novels grow in sophistication as her audience matures.

Check out

Her titles include a trilogy:
Warrior Heir
Wizard Heir
Dragon Heir
And another trilogy called The Seven Realms Series:
The Demon King
The Exiled Queen (out in Sept. 2010)
The Gray Wolf Throne (400 pages scheduled for Fall 2011)

Don't forget Gus Koussopoulis (sp?) from paper handlers, who authored
several dog training books years ago.

-- mike williams

It looks like Jennie Lucas cranks out a romance novel every month. In May her "Tamed: The Barbarian King" made the USA Today bestseller list. In March her "The Christmas Love-Child" became a finalist for a 2010 Romance Writers of America RITA award for Contemporary Series Romance.

Mike pretty well laid out Cinda Williams Chima's book achievements in his email. Cinda and Mike are siblings.

As for Gus the paperhandler, Ken Krause emails BJ Alums blog that his name is Gust Kessopulos. His 1975 and 1980 paperbacks on dog training are available through for as little as $3.21 (plus $6.49 shipping for a total of $9.70).

A 1974 Kessopulos dog-training book is on eBay, but none is available. Others are on, and,,, and, for a 1979 book by Gust, at (this one has a picture of the book cover). There are many more, so Gust's books are all over the Internet.

Click on Addresses under Links on the top left of this page and you get:

Gust Kessopulos
7005 Reno Dr. NE
Louisville, OH 44641

Googling, we found Gust T. Kessopulos, age 80, for Louisville. Florence O. Kessopulos and Joanne V. Kessopulos were listed under relatives.

To check out Gust's dog training books, go to

Thanks, Ken.

For the original BJ Alums article on BJ folks who wrote books, go to

Any other BJ type book authors that we've missed? Email John about them, too.

Click on the headline for photos of Jennie and Cinda and book covers by them and Gust.

CNN throws itself a 30th birthday party

Former Beacon Journal staffer Jim Kavanagh emailed the BJ Alums blog the URL for CNN's trumpeting of its 30th anniversary yesterday.

Click on the headline to hear the 30-second video introducing the 1980 birth of CNN. After listening to the video, click on

interactive gallery

and read the timeline for CNN over the decades.

This was the birth of 24/7 cable news. Today, it's everywhere and makes newspaper news 12 hours later seem ancient. But Ted Turner did it first.

Noisy company

Paula and I didn’t have to deal with an alligator, as retired printer Dick Latshaw did in February on Pawleys Island, South Carolina, but we did have a family of raccoons living – literally – under our roof.

So far Critter Control has trapped four of the critters, a mother and her three offspring.

What about you? Have you had problems with wild animals living in your domicile? Click on the yellow "comments" word below and tell us about it.

Click on the headline to see photos of the third and fourth raccoons captured by Critter Control.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Retired printers get cheaper prescription co-pay cards, as per judge's order

Gina White sent me this email:


We received our prescription cards back from the BJ today!

Of course, we have to see if the BJ is going to appeal but, in the meantime, the prescription benefit has been reinstated!

Only those named in the lawsuit received their cards.

The last I heard it would only apply to everyone once it was declared a class action. And, I don't think we're there yet.


The lawsuit was filed under Dave and Gina White's names, but there are 10 retired printers named who got the new prescription cards with co-payments of $5 or less.

The retirees were represented by Subodh Chandra of Chandra Law Firm, Cleveland, Ohio; Donald P. Screen of Cleveland, and Allen G. Anderson and Kenneth M. Petterson of Smith & Johnson, Traverse City, Michigan.

The Beacon Journal was represented by Brett K. Bacon, Gregory R. Farkas, Michael J. Frantz, and Joel R. Hlavaty, of Frantz Ward, Cleveland, and David G. Utley of Davis & Young, Akron.

Click on the headline to see the BJ story on Judge David Dowd's ruling in U.S. Federal District Court in Akron.