Friday, July 30, 2010

Press Club's only woman president dies

Akron native and North High graduate Rosemary Cozart, 65, who died Sunday, was the only woman to serve as president of the Akron Press Club.

"There should be more Rosemarys in the organization,'' said former BJ staffer Abe Zaidan, founder of the Akron Press Club who frequently appears on local cable channel's coverage of club events.

''She was the face and spokesperson" of the Red Cross for 30 years, said Red Cross director Kathy Winkler. With her flamoyant red hair, Rosemary relocated refugees and traveled to storm-ravaged areas to help survivors.

Click on the headline to read Marilyn Miller's article about Rosemary.

Click on Rosemary's obituary for additional information.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catching up with . . . Dennis Haas

After nearly two years of prodding, former BJ artist Dennis Haas responded with information about his life before, during and after the BJ. Here's Dennis' email:

My days at the Beacon Journal started in 1967, working alongside artists Joe Grace, Walt Neal, Bud
Morris, Art Krummel, Chuck Ayers, Dennis Earlenbaugh and Dennis Balogh. After many years of pen and ink, computers began appearing in newsroom art departments and I took a fancy to them. Twenty-three years passed at the Beacon and it was time for a change.

March 1990 I moved to Washington, DC to work under Scott Bosley and George Rorick at KRTN (Knight-Ridder/Tribune News wire service). It was a lot different than Akron. Computers were popping up everywhere and that was my main job at KRTN Graphics Network.

I worked with offices throughout the United States, Europe and South America, getting the KRTN Graphics Network product to them. Later KRTN became KRT and we started a new service, News In Motion, which delivered daily animated news graphics to TV markets throughout the U.S. Also at that time the KRT graphics service began producing CDs of its graphics in addition to the daily electronic delivery of its product.

It was a lot of fun, and challenging, because we were at the leading edge of technology at the time. Seven years passed quickly and now I had 30 years with Knight-Ridder. Maybe it was time for a career change. So in 1997 I retired from Knight-Ridder and was moving to Florida to do anything except newspapers.

As it turned out while I was in Florida locating a place for the movers to transplant all of Lois' (my wife) and my possessions I got an email from Jose Font, who I had never heard of or met, of the St. Petersburg Times IT Department. The email read: "We understand you are moving to Florida; why don't you stop by?"

Well, I stopped by and how could I resist? No more crazy hours or deadlines, just 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. Working with a bunch of talented, fun people. The Times had several offices in central Florida and they were always changing, moving and updating. So, not only did I get to become familiar with the area real well, I worked with a lot of people in all departments at the Times. It was a real joy; it reminded me a little bit when I first started working at the Beacon Journal.

Then the newspaper business began changing. The Times was getting hit with reduced readership and revenue like so many other newspapers. After 12 years with the Times I decided that I'd really retire. March 2009 was the BIG day.

Now, like so many before me, I wonder how I found time to go to work.

I have a 89-year-old mother who lives a little more than 100 miles to the north of us and insists on mowing her lawn herself (because she enjoys it) instead of getting a lawn service. I check in on her all the time and it seems like there's always something to take care of there. Then at home there are the projects that have piled up over the years of saying, "I'll do that when I retire." So, I'm never running out of something to do.

Earlier this summer my 5-year-old granddaughter, Tori, was crowned Little Miss Shortcake out of 28 contestants at the Bolivar (OH) Strawberry Festival. I also attended my 50th high school reunion (Orrville, OH) and had a short visit with Tom & Kay Marvin, and Art & Charlene Krummel.

So there you have it. My email address is

Dennis is a 1960 Orrville High graduate, in the same class with a name familiar to folks in the J.M. Smucker Co. town -- Kenneth Smucker, now living in the New York City metropolitan area.

In April 2009 Dennis' department head at the BJ, Art Krummel, and wife Charlene Nevada, retired BJ reporter, were in St. Petersburg in time to help Dennis celebrate his second retirement, this time from the St. Petersburg Times. Dennis was with Knight-Ridder for 30 years and with the Florida paper for 12.

When Knight-Ridder was sold to McClatchy in 2006 and BJ folks had their comments posted on the BJ Alums blog, I thought Dennis had a succinct statement:

"It's really sad and really a shame that the Knights ever got paired up with the Ridders."

Click on the headline to see photos of Dennis and his family.

What about YOUR life since the BJ? We'd like to know, with photos of you and your family. Email details and photos to John Olesky at

From Suffield farm to Miami Herald

There's a brief obituary in the Beacon Journal about Josephine Werne. But a longer one in the Miami Herald, where under the byline of "Jo Werne" the 1962 Kent State graduate covered home decor for
that newspaper for most of her 38-year career there.

JoAnne Werne, 69, grew up on a 40-acre Suffield farm owned by her parents, Joseph and Jeannette Werne, along with her five siblings.

She spent a year traveling in South America on a Knight Newspapers scholarship after her KSU graduation. Then she began her Miami Herald career.

Click on the headline for JoAnne's extensive Miami Herald obituary.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rosenberg testifies in suit against Plain Dealer

Reassigned music critic Donald Rosenberg testifies in suit against Plain Dealer. 

"I've lost my identity as the classical music critic," Rosenberg  testified. "I'm not even allowed to call myself a music critic in The Plain Dealer anymore. I'm only reporter or a dance critic." He sued after being taken off the symphony beat two years ago.
He testified that he had written several thousand stories about the Cleveland Orchestra for the Akron Beacon-Journal and The Plain Dealer in his 30-year career covering the arts before being reassigned in 2008. 

 Click on the headline to read the story.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anna Catalano obituary

Anna Mae (Anich) Catalano

Anna Mae Catalano (Nee Anich), 84, born April 10, 1926 in Akron, Ohio went to the Lord July 19, 2010.

She graduated from Norton High School in 1945. Ann volunteered for Mobile Meals for 20 years. She worked at the Polish American Club for 25 years. She was a member of St. Anthony's Parish. Ann loved to bowl, polka and work in the garden.

To many she was Granny or Aunt Annie. She was a very giving person and lived life to the fullest. Ann loved being a wife, mother and grandmother.

Preceded in death by her mother and father, Sam and Stephania Anich; brothers, Joe and Frank Anich; son-in-law, Stanley Gmerek; and granddaughter, Erica Catalano.

Ann is survived by her husband of 59 years, Joseph; children, Cheryl Catalano, Maria Gmerek, Michael (Tetyana) Catalano, Joseph (Tina) Catalano, Tina (John) Goodson; grandchildren, Jacob, Joshua, Jason, Matthew, Julia, Brianna, John Taylor, Geno, Natalie, Gia, Nicole, Joanna, Julia and Jillian; many nieces, nephews and friends.

Mass of Christian burial was Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at St. Anthony Church, 83 Mosser Pl., Akron. Burial followed at Holy Cross Cemetery. Friends were received Monday, July 26 at Hennessy Funeral Home (corner of York and Main), 552 N. Main St., Akron. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Anthony Church.

Hennessy Funeral Home, 330-376-3032

Published in the July 25, 2010 Beacon Journal

BJ reunion at Hardesty Park

There was a Beacon Journal reunion at the July 23-25 Akron Arts Expo at Hardesty Park.

First Paula and I came across former BJ staffer Connie Bloom, who has become a fabric art guru and publisher/editor of QSDS Voice (Quilt Surface Design Symposium), an art quilting publication. Doing the grunt work, as usual, was Connie's husband, Bob Shields.

As we strolled along the 169 exhibitor booths, we saw former BJ chief artist Art Krummel and current BJ artist and pages line-drawer Kathy Hagedorn at the Art by Art tent, which displayed Art Krummel's work. Sitting alongside the booth was retired BJ reporter Charlene Nevada, Art's wife.

The Krummels recently vacationed in Garden City Beach, South Carolina where, as previously reported on BJ Alums blog, they ran into retired printer Dick Latshaw, who lives on nearby Pawleys Island, as does another BJ retiree, Harold McElroy.

The Krummels liked South Carolina so well that they bought a home a town or two over, so there'll be a lot of Krummels spending time in South Carolina, particularly in the winter. The new granddaughter, Hannah, a May 2010 baby, and an older one, Julia, 3, can dig their toes in the beach sand.

Based on what Connie told me about the rental cost of her space, the Akron Recreation Department collects more than $30,000 from the exhibitors. Then there's the rental from the 20 vendors in concession row.

Click on the headline to see 20 photos of Connie, Art and their art work.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finally, Dawidziak and Kent friend will publish book on BJ reporter of early 1900s

It took 17 years but PD and former BJ television critic Mark Dawidziak and Kent bookseller Paul J. Bauer plan to publish a book about a long-ago BJ reporter in 2011: "Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler." It will be printed by Kent State University Press, which just issued two
more books by Tully, "Beggars of Life" and "The Bruiser." Mark and Paul, authors themselves, provide the introductions. Last year Kent Press reprinted Tully's "Circus Parade" and "Shanty Irish" (foreword by John Sayles).

Tully was fired twice by the Beacon Journal (he also worked for Akron Press), became a boxer and Charlie Chaplin's ghost writer and biographer. Tully was the highest paid and most hated Hollywood reporter/author in the 1920s. But was praised by Upton Sinclair and H.L. Mencken.

Tully was born in a log cabin near St. Marys, Ohio, in 1886, son of natives of Ireland. He spent time in St. Joseph Orphan Asylum in Cincinnati before he left at the age of 11. He died in 1947.

His first verses -- "On Keats' Grave" -- appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1911 while he lived in Kent. His first magazine piece was "A Declaration" in Smart Set.

His "Beggars of Life," based on his hobo experiences, was published in 1924, became a Maxwell Anderson play as "Outside Looking In" and a movie with the "Beggars" title starring Wallace Beery and directed by "Wild Bill" Wellman, whose 1927 work, "Wings," won the first Oscar ever. The Anderson play starred Charles Bickford as Oklahoma Red and Jimmy Cagney as Tully.

Books by Jim Tully: "Emmett Lawler," "Beggars of Life," "Jarnegan," "Circus Parade," "Twenty Below: Being a Drama of the Road," "Shanty Irish," "Shadows of Men," "Blood on the Moon," "A Man of the New School," "Laughter in Hell" (Pat O'Brien starred in the 1933 movie), "Ladies in the Parlor" (dedicated to Walter Winchell), "The Bruiser" (dedicated to friend Jack Dempsey), "Biddy Brogan’s Boy," "A Dozen and One" and "Road Show" (paperback reprint of "Circus Parade"). Beery and Tully were in "Way for a Sailor," a 1930 film.

Tully's philosophy: “What the hell — the grave ends everything.”

For photos of Tully, his book covers and Beery, click on the headline.

If you Google author Jim Tully,  there's a plethora of information.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Connie Bloom at Akron Arts Expo

Former BJ staffer Connie Bloom will have her art quilts, also known as fiber art, at the Akron Arts Expo at Hardesty Park, 1615 W. Market Street, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday. Akron Recreation Department is handling the event.

Hardesty Park also is the site for Taste of Akron, 6-10 p.m. Thursday. More than two dozen area restaurants will be selling appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Admittance to both events is free.

Connie plunged hands-first into fiber art several years ago. She is publisher/editor of QSDS Voice (Quilt Surface Design Symposium), which prints information and news about art quilting.

Connie also will be displaying her work at Artapalooza Aug. 28 in Green's Boettler Park, Sept. 11-12 at Kent Art in the Park and possibly Sept. 5-6 at the Taste of Hudson, where I discovered her post-BJ life last September.

Connie's gallery is at 111 N. Main Street in Akron, next to Luigi's Restaurant.

Connie and Bob Shields have been together for a decade and were married in 2008.

Click on the headline to read Connie's blog devoted to her new passion.

Photos of Connie and her work are at Connie’s photos

Janis Froelich begins book-signings Friday

Former BJ staffer Janis Froelich will begin her area book-signings at the Ellet branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 23. The Ellet branch is at 2470 East Market Street. Phone: (330) 784-2019.

The book is "My Life Looking Back at a Murder," tied to the 1974 PGA Championship at Akron's Firestone golf course and the murder of Janis' friend, Linda McLain.

Her other area book-signings:

7 p.m. Saturday, July 24. Cleveland, Visible Voice Books, 1023 Kenilworth Avenue. Phone: (216) 961-0084.

1 p.m. Sunday, July 25. Hudson, The Learned Owl Book Shop, 204 North Main Street. Phone: (330) 653-2252.

5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 27. Kent, Viking Vineyards & Winery, 268 Old Forge Road. Phone: (330) 678-2080. RSVP requested.

For more details about the book, click on the headline.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Look for $250 at end of September IF . . .

If you hit the "donut hole" on your Aetna Medicare prescription costs in April, May or June, as I did, you should get your $250 check at the end of September under the health care reform law.

If you don't hit the "donut hole," when you have to pay 100% of your brand-name drugs, till July, August or September, then you won't get your $250 till the end of December.

In 2011 Medicare customers will pay 50% instead of 100% for brand-name drugs after they reach the donut hole. By 2020 that will drop to no more than 25%.

That's in the excellent Q. and A. about "Obamacare," as it is labeled by some, in the AARP Bulletin online. Click on the headline for answers to your questions. It runs for 16 pages of online information.

Other nuggets:

The "death panel" scare conjured up by opponents is debunked.

While the deductions for medical expenses jumps from 7.5% to 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income before you can count it, effectively relegating most of us to using the standard instead of the itemized deductions, that only affects those younger than 65. For those 65 and older, the change doesn't take effect till 2017.

More questions? Click on the headline and check the answers for yourself.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Catching up with . . . Tom Moore

Tom Moore, after four months of traveling up and down the tracks, is enjoying the experience, despite having to untangle GPS's and earphone cords. When he ran into Tom Gaumer, a PD retiree, they chewed the fat about people both had known -- some of the two dozen or so BJ types who switched to the PD.

And there were interesting crossovers in other ways, too. But we'll let Tom tell you that on his blog. Just click on his blog at

"I'm looking forward to my next trip," writes Tom of his railroad experience.

Most of those who attend the 1 p.m. second Wednesday monthly luncheons at Papa Joe's think they know about Tom -- that he got a pacemaker last year and cataract surgery this year.

But few know he was born Dec. 14, 1930 in Richmond, Virginia, but was adopted by Spotswood and Virgina Moore in Tazewell, Virginia. "I didn't know I was adopted until I was 21," Tom said.

Tom's 41-year newspaper career was on the Bluefield (WV) Daily Telegraph, Zanesville News (now defunct), Lorain Journal, Columbus Citizen-Columbus Citizen Journal (both defunct) and the BJ. Bluefield, West Virginia, was were the legendary John S. Knight was born. But he left at the age of 3 when his family moved on its way to starting the (now defunct) Knight Newspapers empire.

In addition, Tom writes, "For four years I worked part-time in the Ohio State Patrol headquarters in Columbus, editing the patrol's magazine,The Flying Wheel.
That was a great parttime job."

"I got my journalist 'degree' from the Air Force via GED and correspondence courses," Tom emailed in response to my request for more information. "I wrote for the base newspaper in Washington, D.C. and became editor six months later."

Tom and wife Dot have four children:

Tom's son, also named Tom, who with wife Sabrina Naylor are the parents of Amanda Jean -- "she loves to write and is good at it," grandpa Tom said. Son Tom deals in pallets and junk.

Amy Moore, Tom and Dot's youngest daughter.

Caroline Jean Krack, their oldest daughter, who lives in
Minnesota and retired last year as a teacher's aide.

Katherine Ann Moore, who lives in Cuyahoga Falls, after retiring from the Environmental Protection Agency a few years back after 34 years with the government.

All of Tom and Dot's daughters were copygirls at the BJ in their younger days.

Tom heads for Ft. Myers, Florida in October to print a newspaper for the participants in former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen's Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series for older players.

Click on the headline to see photos of Tom with BJ retirees, in Florida and with family.

Check out book signing dates for Janis

To check out book signing dates for Janis Froelich's paperback book version of  her early years life story, go to

In 1974, firmer BJ staffer Janis Froelich and Linda McLain were young homemakers. Both took temporary jobs with the 57th PGA Championship in Akron.

The outcome of this particular PGA Championship at the famed Firestone Country Club is one people

still talk about because of the miraculous 16th hole play by Jack Nicklaus. But little known are the murder and mayhem happening behind the scenes preceding the tournament.

Linda is murdered on a freezing February night in 1975., Froelich retraces how this tragedy happened and finds an inspiring finish to a violent case still deemed “shocking” by the defense attorney.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Craig Wilson remembered

During our walk around Lake Anna on Saturday, we saw thousands of luminaria for the 2010 American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Barberton event, which ends today. About one-fourth of the way clockwise around the lake from the gazebo bandstand, we recognized a name on two luminaria: Craig Wilson.

The former Beacon Journal Action Line editor died at age 79 of leukemia April 3, 2007. Lung cancer
killed Craig's first wife, Ella Mae Leonard, in 1992. They met through a ``lonely hearts club.'' Elizabeth Bendall Wilson, Craig's second wife, survived him.

The Hamtramck, Mich., native also had been chief librarian during his 40 years at the BJ. Actually, after his BJ retirement Craig contributed free-lance to the BJ for another 11 years, mostly with a Book Talk column. He was a member of Mensa, for people with high IQs.

After I emailed the original part of this blog post to Craig's widow, Betty replied:

Actually he had more than two. I had two as I got cancer four months after Craig
died but it has been taken care of. Thank you for thinking of him.

When Betty forwarded the information to Craig's daughter, Dawn Wilson, she emailed:

Thanks John, and thanks Elizabeth.

Reading about him and remembering all the things he was interested in and got done makes me want to get more done!!


Click on the headline for more details about Craig over the years, some by his son-in-law, Dawn's husband.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fred Bochert obituary

Frederick G. Bochert, 92, passed away July 5, 2010, following a short illness surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fred lived most of his life in the Akron-Kent area. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and in the Korean Conflict. He retired in 1979 from the Akron Beacon Journal where he supervised in the Composing Department. Fred was a 32nd Degree Mason, Shriner and a member of the Tadmor Temple Valley of Akron.

Fred loved spending time with his family and his winters in Venice, Florida. He met many friends along the way and was a wealth of knowledge to his children and grandchildren. He taught all of us many life lessons along with his Fredisms. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Cecillee, sister, Sara Runyon, and grandson, John Bochert. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Caroline; daughters, Meladee (Jerry) Dickman and Valerie (Craig) Robinson; sons, Rick (Rose) Bochert and Mark (Karen) Bochert; 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be 10 a.m. Saturday, July 17, 2010, at The First Congregation Church in Tallmadge Circle with Minister Mark Brazle officiating. Interment will be at Restland Cemetery in Brimfield, where military rites will be conducted by Firestone VFW Post 3383. Procession to start at Erie Station Grille. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tadmor Temple Tri-County Transportation Unit, 3000 Krebs Dr., Akron 44319.


Obituary in Thursday, July 15 Beacon Journal

click on headline to see photo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lunch bunch remembers Fred Bochert

Former printer Fred Bochert's death at age 92 was one of many topics discussed at the monthly Papa \Joe's restaurant lunch today. Donovan Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Newsroom retiree Tom Moore, who spent a lot of time in Composing room, recalls Fred as being the
copy-cutter -- his obituary described his role as supervising in the Composing Room. For those who don't remember hot type, that means Fred took a long story, which a reporter had typed on paper and an editor had edited on that same paper, and cut it up into several pieces. That way the story would be finished much faster than if only one typesetter set the entire story. Then the segments of the story would be put together on a galley, a tray that held the type.

It's a long way from today's story typed by a reporter on his computer and goes through editors, headline-writer and a page layout artist before it shows up on a finished page.

As for Tom, he was wearing his new glasses after cataract surgery on his left eye. He also had a new camera to show off, which takes a single panarama photo as Tom scanned the other BJ folks at the table.

For the third straight month seven people showed up for the lunch. In addition to Tom Moore, attendees were engraving's Pat Dougherty, printers Joe Catalano, Cal Deshong, Carl Nelson, Gene McClellan and newsroom retiree John Olesky.

If you want to attend, be at Papa Joe's on Akron-Peninsula Road and Portage Trail Extension at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month.

Click on the headline to see photos of the July attendees, including Tom's panarama photo.

Downsized newspapers lead to an ignorant society?

Former Beacon Journal staffer and minor league baseball aficianado Dick McBane tipped me off to an article that warns of switching from investigative newspaper journalism to Internet gossip. Society becomes more and more ignorant of what its politicians and bureaucrats are doing.

While the On Faith magazine article is laced heavily with religion, it provides thoughtful worrying over what loss of costly newspaper investigating will do to our democracy.


"When journalists do their job, citizens have the information they need to make informed decisions. In the absence of good journalism . . . we’re prone to be misled, or to remain ignorant of the true state of society.

"Economic pressure has forced newspapers to appeal to a broader audience, to the civically disengaged who care more about entertainment and sports than the political health of the city."

LeBron James gets all of the front pages of the BJ and Plain Dealer, for example.

Click on the headline to reach the entire article.

McBane, who lives in Lilburn, Georgia, has submitted other BJ Alums blog items about the state of newspapers.

Monday, July 12, 2010

North to Alaska -- and the Yukon

Paula and I went north to Alaska and the Yukon June 20-July 5. We saw grizzly bears, black bears, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep and retraced the rout of the Klondike Gold Rush prospectors. We began with a visit to Paula's friend Lynn in Seattle, took a Holland America cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Skagway, Alaska, and then switched to train, bus and river boat. It was my 10th cruise and 59th trip since my 1996 retirement from the Beacon Journal. I have visited 33 countries and 43 states. Other BJ alums have done even better than that.

If you want to see photos of the trip, click on the headline.

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

Obituary for Carol Biliczky's father

Calling hours were 6-8 p.m. Monday, July 12 at Waite & Son Funeral Home, 765 N. Court St., Medina, for Beacon Journal reporter Carol Biliczky's father, Charles Biliczky. Services were 11
a.m. Tuesday, July 13 at the funeral Home.

His obituary in the Beacon Journal:

Charles Biliczky, 89, died Friday, July 9 in the palliative care unit at Akron City Hospital after a long battle with bladder cancer.

He was born on April 23, 1921 on Whisky Lane in Brecksville, Ohio, to Louis Biliczky, a tailor, and Agnes Paliczko Biliczky, a homemaker, both of whom had emigrated from Austria-Hungary in their teens. The family moved to North Royalton, where Charles graduated from high school and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He became a chief petty officer and served aboard a repair ship off of France during D-Day.

He walked up to a nurse named Rose Siewertson at a V.F.W. dance and asked her if she had a match. When she said she didn't, he said he'd have to use his own. Months later the two married and eventually bought a home in Medina, Ohio, where they raised two daughters. Charles made the most of his city lot, raising vegetables -- particularly tomatoes and peppers, his favorites -- and roses, which absolutely had to be red.

After he retired from his job as a sheet metal worker, he and Rose traveled widely throughout the United States and Canada and he took up a more offbeat hobby, brick collecting. He eventually amassed more than 10,000 named bricks by rooting through old construction sites and dumps with other ``brickers' and by trading his collection with fellow devotees at brick meets. Along the way he collected arrowheads and came to know John Wayne movies by heart. There wasn't a western he didn't love.

Charles was an honest, even-tempered and loving man who worked hard at his job and his hobbies. He will be deeply missed.

He leaves his wife, Rose; daughter, Carol Levandoski of Akron; sister, Erma Plachy of Parma; nephews, Bruce Biliczky of Chippewa Lake and Bill Plachy of Nyack, N.Y.; nieces, Susan Plachy of Perry, Maine, and Jean Siewertson of LaFargeville, N.Y.; Linda and Don Levandoski of Hinckley and many other friends and relatives. Among those who preceded him in death were his daughter, Joyce Biliczky; son-in-law, Rob Levandoski; brother-in-law, James Plachy and brother, Ralph Biliczky. We hope he is finding some comfort with them now.

Services will be held Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Waite & Son Funeral Home, 765 N. Court St., Medina, Ohio. Rev. Lisa Morrison officiate. Burial will take place at Spring Grove Cemetery. Family will receive friends Monday, July 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. Contributions may be made to the American Heart Association , 3505 Embassy Parkway, Suite #100, Akron, OH 44333

Published in Akron Beacon Journal from July 11 to July 12, 2010

Carol has won national awards for her education articles during her 20 years at the BJ. Her husband, Robert C. Levandoski, who died Sept. 8, 2008 at the age of 59, was a Medina novelist who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for "Fresh Eggs," a 2002 book written under the name C.R. Corwin. It was among the six books he wrote. Bob once was a Medina Gazette reporter, a public relations representative for Brunswick city schools and a trade magazine reporter. He also taught writing classes at the University of Akron.

Carol and Bob met at a book release event for his "Going to Chicago," published in 1997, and were married in 2003.

Carol credited Bob with helping her deal with the death of her sister, Joyce Biliczky, also in 2003.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pete & Sandy Geiger visit Ireland

BJ Alums blog got this email from former BJ staffer Pete Geiger:


Thanks for the reminder to send pix.

Sandy and I returned last month from an anniversary (49th) trip to Ireland, mostly to look up the native environs of my maternal grandmother, Florence McCullough, who emigrated from Armagh to Philadelphia at age 12 with her parents in 1898.

We traveled all around Northern Ireland and the Republic, however.

The photo is of me with a busker on a street in Dublin. Maybe the golden "M" in the background stands for McCullough, eh?


The golden "M" in Dublin is for the clan McDonald's.

A busker is a street performer who does his bit for tips, such as the guy next to Pete pretending to be caught in heavy winds, as you'll see when you click on the headline for the photos.

Pete & wife Sandy live in the St. Augustine, Florida area, where they settled after returning to the USA in 2007 for Sandy's quintuple bypass open-heart surgery. They were in Mongolia for 13 years.

Both taught college English as a foreign language in Zuunmod, Mongolia, a provincial capital city of 20,000. Sandy was director of the college and Pete edited and published a newsletter for American ex-patriate English teachers in Mongolia. They sponsored a kindergarten class for orphans and disadvanted children.

Pete was the BJ's religion writer and foremost expert on evangelist Rex Humbard. Among his BJ roles, Pete succeeded icon Tom Ryan on the Barberton beat.

Click on the headline for photos of Pete in Ireland and, with Sandy, in Mongolia.

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

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dennis Willard leaves BJ

Beacon Journal statehouse bureau chief Dennis Willard resigned from the BJ to work for Ohio's Democratic Party. No word on who, if anyone, will replace him in Columbus.

Willard joined the BJ's statehouse bureau as its chief in 1995 after eight years with other news organizations in Columbus. The Youngstown native once was in the U.S. Navy with the American Forces Radio and Television Service. He has an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

BJ Managing Editor Doug Oplinger emailed this response to my request for information:


Dennis left after about 15 years as our Columbus bureau chief. He had a reputation in Columbus of being thorough, tough, honest and taking no sides, and for the last two years used his ability to cut through the crap to write some very good political commentary in columns that appeared two to three times a week. His blunt commentary showed that he wasn't afraid to offend or praise anyone, and used as a foundation the common person's sense of fairness.

A little over three weeks ago he had overtures from both parties as they looked for good people to get them through an especially volatile mid-term election and the 2012 Presidential election. The state Democratic Party made him an offer that was too good to refuse.

Dennis had a very good run at the Beacon Journal, winning numerous investigative, explanatory and public service awards. He also was a runnerup for the Taylor Award for Fairness from the Nieman Foundation and was invited to speak to the Hechinger Institute at Columbia University on some of his work. His work on school choice was entered as evidence when the U.S. Supreme Court heard the Cleveland voucher case.

Dennis was not only a great journalist; he was a good friend.


Accidental reunion in South Carolina

BJ Alums blog got this email from BJ newsroom retiree Charlene Nevada:

Last week, Art and I were vacationing in the Garden City Beach area with newsroom administrative assistant Sue Reynolds and her husband Roger and the Mezgers – Roger and Ann Sheldon Mezger.

One night we went to a hamburger place in Murrell’s Inlet called River City and, lo and behold, us current and former BJers ran into Dick Latshaw who had come a bit north for his burger. Small world!


Art is Char's husband, Art Krummel, former BJ art department chief. Both are retired from the BJ, Char in 2005.

Dick is a retired printer who lives on Pawleys Island, South Carolina, not that far from Murrell's Inlet. He lives two blocks from another BJ retiree, Harold McElroy and wife Linda. Retired printer Sid Sprague, who also lived near them on Pawleys Island, moved to Loveland, Colorado with his new bride after his first wife died.

Ann once was in charge of the BJ Features Dept. Roger Mezger was among about two dozen BJ folks who switched to the Plain Dealer.

Char and Art are on a national tour. They attended Char's 45th class reunion in Wheeling, West Virginia, before meeting up with Ann and Roger and Sue and Roger for a week's vacation in Garden City Beach, south of Myrtle Beach, SC. After that, Char and Art will fly to Connecticut to meet their son's future in-laws (Oct. 30 wedding in Connecticut). They'll fly home so Art can set up an art show at Hardesty Park. Art has another art show at Hudson's Art on the Green in September. Then there's the October wedding. In between, Art is busy helping care for his granddaughter, born in May.


And people think I'm busy.

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

Friday, July 09, 2010

Mike Williams looking for old Tower Topics

BJ staffer Mike Williams is looking for old Tower Topics and Sidebar issues.

He's trying to collect every issue of both. Then he'll digitize them and make them available to people who want them.

So, if you have old Tower Topics or Sidebar issues that Mike doesn't have, contact him.

Mike's email:

John --

I got the corporate OK to pass along scanned copies of the old Tower Topics
a couple of days ago. They are hi-res, 600dpi, in case anybody wanted photos
clipped out of the pages. Of course that makes scans totaling about 7
gigabytes. As a practical measure, we would downsize the graphics quite a
bit for distribution.

It began as a housecleaning project ("digitize and get it out", she said).
Of course it grew from there, and now there are more boxes of stuff than
there were before.

It took a while, nights and weekends. I am missing about 18 issues of the
Tower Topics, and I'm working on Sidebar. But Tower Topics for now...
If you or fellow bloggers have access to any of the missing TTs, I will be
happy to scan them and return within a week or so. So much history here.

Mike Williams
(also at

list of Tower Topics issues I've scanned, ones I'm missing

Mike Williams 7-9-2010
Tower Topics
1968 (complete)
Vol 1-1,2,3,4,5,6
Vol 2-1,2,5 (missing issues 3,4,possibly 6)
Vol 3-1,2,3,4,5,6 (missing possibly 7)
Vol 4-2,3,4,5,8,9,11 (missing 1,6,7,10)
Vol 5-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10 (missing 9)
Vol 6-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9 (missing 8)
Vol 7-1,2,3,6 (missing 4,5)
Vol 8-4,5,6 (missing 1,2,3)
Vol 9-3,4,5,6 (missing 1,2)
Vol 10-1,2,3,5 (missing 4)
1978 (complete)
Vol 11-1,2,3,4,5
1979 (complete)
Vol 12-1 (volume change 2nd issue)
Vol 13-2,3,4,5,6
1980 (complete)
Vol 14-1 (2 volume changes)
Vol 15-2,3,4,5
Vol 16-6
1981 (complete)
Vol 17-1,2,3,4,4,5 (2 issue #4s)
1982 (complete)
Vol 18-1,2,3,4,5,6
1983 (no volume or issue numbers - incomplete)
early 83, May-June 83, Oct-Nov 83

Sidebars - not all scanned yet
Vol 17-1 MAY (called TowerTopics, but really was the first Sidebar)
Vol 17-2 JUNE (called TowerTopics, but really was the 2nd Sidebar)

--sidebars in another list to come--

After I prodded Mike for more information, he replied:

John -

Just for insurance, I have copies of the scanned files on two different drives, and plan to burn 2 DVDs with the data. At first I thought of distributing the scans on CD or DVD at a reduced file size, but I got feedback from the ABJ senior managers... They would like to merge my jpg files of each page into a pdf covering each issue. Then they would like to put the pdfs on a Proquest or Newsbank server in word-searchable format.

The scans amount to 90-some issues, at an average 20 pages per issue. I really just got done turning every right hand page right side up (flatbed scanner with the hinge on the long side). I’ll need a little time to format stuff. I’ll get some copies made “as soon as”, hopefully with most of the missing issues included. Thanks for the tip about emailing Betty.

The raw material came from my copies, some from Dennis Fouse, some from Tom Moore, and many from a big box down in Central Supply uncovered by Jerome Jones. Thanks to Jerome we have a complete first volume from 1968.


The Betty that Mike refers to is Elizabeth Patton, who was editor of Sidebar until 1993 when she left to become Executive Director of Project:LEARN, an adult literacy program in Medina. She is retired and living in Blairsville, Georgia.

PD's LeBron front page called 'sheer genius'

The page -- designed by Emmet Smith and Michael Tribble -- "simply can't be topped," writes Charles Apple. || What they're saying about it on Twitter:
* "An instant classic." (Kevin Pang)
* "One of the greatest front pages in the history of newspapers." (Gene Weingarten)
* "This is how you do a front page." (Rob Pegoraro)
* "Best thing about the #LeBron train wreck? Today's Cleveland Plain Dealer front page." (Pamela Wood)

 Can't read that little text pointing to LeBron's ring finger.  It reads: 7 years in Cleveland, no rings.

Here are the BJ and Repository pages:


Janis Froelich writes about murder

In 1974, firmer BJ staffer Janis Froelich and Linda McLain were young homemakers. Both took temporary jobs with the 57th PGA Championship in Akronl

The outcome of this particular PGA Championship at the famed Firestone Country Club is one people
still talk about because of the miraculous 16th hole play by Jack Nicklaus. But little known are the murder and mayhem happening behind the scenes preceding the tournament.

Linda is murdered on a freezing February night in 1975., Froelich retraces how this tragedy happened and finds an inspiring finish to a violent case still deemed “shocking” by the defense attorney.

Based on a St. Petersburg Times article, the paperback book version of Froelich’s early years life story also includes an interesting historical footnote about a young Firestone family in St. Petersburg who suffered their own nightmare.
A portion of the profits from this book will be donated in Linda's name to The Spring of Tampa Bay (813-247-SAFE) and Domestic Violence Center of Greater Cleveland (216-391-HELP).

There will be an open house cocktail arty for Janis on Tueday, July 27, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Viking Vineyards & Winery, 268 Old Forge Rd., (Brimfield Township) Kent, OH 44240.

There also will be book signings at Ellet Branch of Akron-Summit County Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 23, and Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 25.

Philly Guild takes 2% pay cut, 10 unpaid days under tentative pact

Philadelphia Guild members will take a 2 percent pay cut, 10 days of unpaid furloughs a year, eliminate shift differentials and work 40 instead of 37.5 hours a week under the tentative agreement reached with the Philadelphia newspapers.

New owners PN Purchaser Co., with the newspapers in bankruptcy, has agreed to eliminate a two-tier wage system.

Click on the headline for Guild president Dan Gross' email to Guild members, as posted on

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wall St. Journal has most e-reader subscribers

The Wall Street Journal  has by far the highest e-reader circulation of any newspaper in the U.S., according to Audit Bureau of Circulations data .

The Journal had generated 414,025 e-subscriptions as of April 2010, up 8% from 383,199 in April 2009. By comparison, The New York Times
ranks No. 3 on the report's list of the top 25 e-reader circulations, with 90,934 downloaded as of this April versus 43,844 as of last.

The Detroit Free Press edged out The Times in the No. 2 spot with 105,210 subscriptions. Last year, that paper ranked No. 17 with 15,776 subscriptions. (In December 2008, the Detroit Free Press announced it would be scaling back its home-delivered print edition to three days a week, which probably accounts for the massive jump in e-subscriptions.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Oops! Wrong Thursday. Sorry, Mark

Plain Dealer and former Beacon Journal TV critic Mark Dawidziak will be sending his "Twain by Three" show down the track to the Nordonia Hills public library at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15 (NOT today as posted earlier). This is the Largely Literary Theater Company’s third visit to the Nordonia Hills Branch Library at 9458 Olde Eight Road in Northfield.

Cuyahoga Falls resident Dawidziak adapts and directs the show and portrays Twain. His wife, Sara Showman, and Jason Davis, an Akron native who lives in Fairlawn Heights, also are in the cast. Their daughter, Becky, usually is in the audience, too.

Dawidziak's Largely Literary Theater Company, founded in 2001, will do "Encounter With an Interviewer," with our Mark as Hannibal, Missouri's Mark befuddling a younger reporter (played by Jason Davis), while Sara will do the "Eve's Diary" monologue. Funny stuff. I never tire of hearing it even though I think I have it memorized.

Dawidziak first portrayed Twain in one-man shows during the early 1980s in Tennessee and Virginia before he began working for the BJ.

Since, he's taken this show to Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, Solon, Kent, Wooster, Hiram, Orrville, Shaker Heights, Medina, Kirtland and other Ohio cities. Mark has been reading, studying and collecting Twain for more than 30 years. Two of his 11 published books are about Mark Twain: "Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing" (St. Martin’s Press, 1996) and "Horton Foote’s The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain" (Applause, 2003). Dawidziak's personal library contains more than 500 books by or about Twain.

2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Samuel Langhorne Clemens' death, the 175th anniversary of his birth and the 125th anniversary of the publication of "Huckleberry Finn."

For photos of our Mark as humorist Mark, and our Mark's sketches of Hannibal's Mark, click on the headline. They were first posted in 2009 but the only changes are, as he says, that Dawidziak needs less touch-up to match Twain's gray hair and age lines.