Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hanging with Roy Hobbs World Series

 Click on headline to go to album of photos

By Tom Moore           
My seventh year of hanging with Tom Giffen and his Roy Hobbs World Series crew in Florida is over once again...and again, it was a great success.

The theme this year was “Catch 22” and T-shirts, luggage tags, program front and a patch carried out that theme.

With 191 amateur baseball teams from all over the county plus Germany, Russia and the Dominican Republic, we kept busy.

And the main reason things run so smoothly, as least in my mind, is the planning and the experience of the staff in dealing with 3,000 plus folks. And behind it all is former BJ sports editor Giffen.

Tom  Moore with Tom Giffen
He's the honcho along with his wife and son. Then there's Tony from New Jersey who directs and sees that things run according to plan.

Don't know if you realize what is involved in such an endeavor year after year—this is the 22nd year the series has taken place.

The teams are placed in divisions according to age....28 to 80. Yes, I said 80. Just because you have a few years on you doesn't     always mean a rocking chair by the fire.

Tom starts the planning even before the present event is over. And over the year the series is fleshed out....with certified umpires, series crew and the fields....fields that are at major league standards since we use the spring training facilities of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins.

As one player who had a few years on him told me; “I got into the outfield in Hammon Stadium with the scoreboard, the announcer and a few people in the stands and I felt like I was 18 again!”

And it's that attitude that keeps these players coming back year after year.

When the time draws near, an 18-wheeler takes Tom's office from Akron on Akron-Peninsula Road to Ft. Myers, along with all kinds of baseball paraphernalia for the shop.

The program for that year is being printed at that time, with information on the previous year, the rules, etc plus stories that I've written from telephone interviews of players all over the county and sometimes a foreign interview or two.

Once in Florida, the Series staff get their initial assignments for checking in managers and players and for concession stands, the store, and giving out “goodie bags” ---a cup, a pen, a luggage tag and lots of discount coupons from Ft. Myers businesses.

(A story this year in the local paper pointed out that the Series brings in about 9 million dollars to the local economy.)

Tents are put up for signins and for bat salesmen that come in, along with a massage table by a Ft. Myers masseur.

Then name cards are printed for the player (remember that's over 3,000)  and these cards the players must carrying with them. If somebody thinks a player is too young for the division, the card lists his birthday. Also, letters on the card indicate the gifts they gets...a t-shirt, a program, a goodie bag, a free beer and dinner at the Saturday welcome party.

There are rules--most follow major league baseball--but there are exceptions….for example, players can share positions. One fellow I wrote about had a goal of 300.…not a hitting average, but weight.  He goes to bat and if he makes it to first base, his shared pardner runs for him. (By the way, saw him again this year…he’s still over 300, but he’s trying.

If trouble breaks out, the player responsible is thrown out of the game and has to see Tom to remain in the tournament. a repeat means he goes home.

I had one team tell me the reason they keep coming back to the Series is Tom sets the rules and he won’t break them for anybody.

And that man has a remarkable memory. He can remember players from years ago, and is always ready to shake hands and greet them.

Each team plays four games Sunday through Tuesday. Then they’re seeded according to their record and placed in quad A, triple A, etc.

Win your division and you get a medal and a championship hat.

Tom’s idea of relaxing at the Series is to umpire games…and this despite his ailments---lukemia (in remission) hips replaced and this year a stent for a heart problem.

Tom now has a foundation set up with moneys going to lukemia research.

And two Saturdays during the Series, there are “Challenger Games” in the stadium for  mentally challenged kids. They get to bat, pitch and run the bases with the help of some of the ball players. Of

Tom Moore with "Oil Can"
course, the kids and the players have a ball. Lots of fun.

Tom and wife Ellen’s second son, Mac, takes care of cyberspace problems--from Houston, Tex. where he lives with his wife and new daughter.

Of course there are parties  for umpires, players and the staff. And if it doesn’t rain on Wednesdays, we get a day off.

In between writing stories for “the Inside Pitch” I do other chores, this time giving out the free T-shirts. I also try to interpert the game highlights that managers turn in to be published in the Pitch.

You who have run into my handwriting know how bad it is.

Some of the highlights are worse. Of course I have a hard copy of all players’ names and can double check. After all, if a player has an outstanding game, you want to make sure his name is right in print.

One of the best highlights I got this year was down to two words:


A highlight of my writing this year was an interview with former Boston Red Sox pitcher “Oil Can” Boyd.

I went to his field a bit early and he was pitching. And the way he acted, I figured this was not going to be a plesant interview. Turned out off the field he was the nicest guy you’d ever want to know.

Commentary: Abe is doing our job for us

Our cohort and former BJ political columnist Abe Zaidan has written an analysis that BJ Alums should have done on the failure of the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a community watchdog. Why didn't the PD uncover the years-old corruption in Cleveland before the government finally revealed it?

Abe quotes the explanation by the newsaper's ombudsman and laments that in today's media world the watchdogs are all napping--or maybe newspapers just cannot afford a watchdog.

Click on the headline to read the view of Grumpy Abe.

Doing nothing works for BJ health plan

Beacon Journal retirees who are getting notifications about changes in the BJ's health care coverage through Aetna have been contacting the BJ Alums blog.

What to do? Nothing.

If you have Aetna Medicare Advantage in 2010 and you do nothing, then you'll be switched automatically Jan. 1, 2011 to the Aetna PPO plan mandated by the new government health care law. The BJ submitted all the names to Aetna for the changes. You'll get a new Aetna PPO card.

You can check with your medical provider to see if they are on Aetna's Medicare PPO (Preferred Provider Organizations). If they are NOT in the PPO network, then you'll pay more for your care than you will if you use a doctor or medical services provider who IS in the PPO. Click on the headline to see the Nov. 2 BJ Alums explanation on how to check online to see if your doctor or medical services provider is on the Aetna PPO list.

If you don't want to stay with Aetna PPO, then you'll have to apply elsewhere for your coverage.

If you have questions, call Karen Jones in BJ Human Resources at (330) 996-3183.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Catching up with . . . Bill Hershey

Bill and Marcia Hershey with Shadow, Sam and Sabuca

It took somewhere between one and two years of prodding (Paula calls it "stalking"), but I finally got former BJ staffer Bill Hershey to tell the story of his famous dog, Rover, and of his life before, during and after the BJ. Here's Bill's long-awaited email:


This is a very belated response to your inquiry about Rover and other stuff.

Rover joined the Hersheys in Dayton in 1974. He showed up at a picnic near downtown Dayton and ended up at our house the next day after another person couldn't keep a dog at her house. We weren't supposed to keep pets either and ended up losing a security deposit and moving because of Rover.

He grew up with our kids, Laura, born in 1971, and Patrick, 1975. He moved with us to Akron, Columbus and finally Washington, D.C. where he died on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 1990.

He was 17 1/2 years old and (another former BJ staffer) Jim Ricci, always in need of a column, wrote his obituary in the Detroit Free Press. Jim earlier had written a column about Rover, describing his coloring as resembling soiled underwear. That brought a torrent of angry responses from Free Press readers and also from my dad who wrote that Rover's color was not like soiled undewear but like a rug with a color that kept changing which caused people - including my dad - to trip over him.

There were/are pictures of Rover somewhere in the Beacon Journal morgue by himself and with our son Patrick. Fran Murphey took them. She shared a couch with Rover when she stayed with us overnight during a Red Sox-Cincinnati Reds' World Series game.

Rover was succeeded by Ike, who joined us in Washington, shortly after Rover died. We got Ike from a rescue place. He had been living with an older woman who couldn't keep a dog. He lived until May 23, 2006, and was about 16 when he died.

We currently have three dogs, known as the Golden Girls, for their senior status, not their coloring - Shadow, 12, black, part-Chow; Sam(antha), 11, vets will not say what breeds she encompasses, and Sambuca, 10, Siberian Husky. I've attached pictures of them with Marcia and me. We inherited Sambuca from our son Patrick and Sam from our daughter Laura. Shadow came from the Humane Society.

Marcia and I have lived in Columbus since 1999. We came here after I spent about two years doing crisis counseling/PR work in suburban Washington for a guy named Dan McGinn from Nitro, W. Va. I went to work for Dan after 13 years as Beacon Journal Washington reporter.

I was Columbus Bureau Chief for Dayton Daily News from 1999-Jan., 2010, when I officially "retired." Since then, I have been working on a contract for DDN Columbus Bureau that expires at the end of December. DDN has asked me to extend contract but I haven't decided what to do.

Marcia has been librarian at Columbus West High School since 1999 and has two more years until retirement. We are unlikely to leave Columbus because our daughter Laura lives in suburban Pickerington with her family - husband Adam Jacobs and two grandchildren - Austin, 8, Olivia, 3.

Our son Patrick is working in New Orleans in loss prevention for Hilton Hotels.

This Hot Mail account is a better way to reach me than DDN e-mail because I'm uncertain how much longer the DDN address will work - hershey_william@hotmail.com

I'm also sending a link that you might get a kick out of - C-SPAN did an interview with me in Dayton during the campaign on their campaign bus while it was in Dayton.

Here's the link to the C-SPAN video - I think it still works:


Bill Hershey

Click on the headline to see photos of Bill, Marci and their dogs, a BJ reunion in Columbus, Bill & Marci in Bradenton, Florida with retired BJ rewrite guru Don Bandy, a BJ promo of under-30 staffers that included Bill.

Bill once lived on Dresden Ave. in Firestone Park. Bill also was "Mogadore Bureau Chief" under the late State Desk Editor Pat Englehart, who had Bill look under the political rug any time Pat thought something wasn't been done right in Pat's hometown.

And there's my favorite story about Bill Hershey:

It was a Saturday night and I was in charge as Assistant State Desk Editor. We had gotten reports that union coal miners were going from non-union mine to non-union mine and doing damage to persuade the owners and workers that they should be organized. Pat had assigned Bill to drive to southeast Ohio and cover the miners' activities.

I got a call from Bill, who was dictating a story to me. Abruptly, Bill said, "I need to call you back," and hung up. An hour or so later, Bill called again and explained.

A miner pulled a gun on Bill at the phone, demanding to know what Bill was doing. Bill's response, which I thought was the best example of thinking-on-your-feet that I had ever heard of for a reporter: "They're telling lies about you and I'm here to get the truth." The gun-toter's response: "Follow us."

Bill, of course, got the full story, as he always did.

Most important of all: RIP, Rover.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Former BJ food editor Elizabeth Harvey, 95, dies

Elizabeth Margaret Harvey, 95, was born November 30, 1914 and died November 25, 2010.

Elizabeth and John Harvey
Betty was born and raised in Washington, D.C. the daughter of Mary Louise and Raymond Norris. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Home Economics and later did graduate work at The University of Akron. Betty taught at Case and Schumacher Elementary Schools for many years and was a Life member of Summit County and the Ohio Retired Teacher Association. Her work career included being a customer service representative for IBM and Ohio Bell Telephone as well as a food researcher and demonstrator for the Washington Gas Company. For many years she was the food editor for the Akron Beacon Journal and wrote a weekly food column sharing recipes and cooking tips.

She was involved in many associations during her years in Akron. At the Akron Woman's City Club she was a past president, chairman of the Town Hall Series and chairman of the Endowment Fund. She was also a past president of Witan, a member of the Woman's Committee of the United Way, and a member of Delta Kappa Gamma. She was a 75 year member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, serving in many alumni positions including Director of Chapters for Epsilon Province.

Her volunteer service included Family Services, the United Way, the Cancer Society, Florence Crittenden Board, and the past president of the Kate Waller Barrett Senior Board. She was a founding member of St. Hilary's Church.

Betty and her husband John were married 72 years. They loved to travel and visited every continent except Antarctica. She especially enjoyed her membership at the Akron Women's City Club and playing bridge with her friends.

She is survived by her daughter, Betty-Ann Craven of Moraga, California; her grandson, Chad (Melissa) Craven; great-granddaughter, Grace Craven and great-grandson, Carter Craven, all of Denver, Colorado; niece, Margaret (Dave) Morgan; nephews, Sandy (Debbie) Cope, Mike (Debbie) Cope, and Tom (Debbie) Cope, all of southern California.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. TUESDAY at St. Hilary Catholic Church. Interment at Rose Hill Burial Park. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Parkinson's Disease Association, 135 Parkinson Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305.

(Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel)

Beacon Journal, Nov. 28, 2010

The Harveys last lived at the Chambrel seniors complex in Montrose. John, who died 11 days before his wife, recalled when he came into Barberton in 1935 and asked someone on the street, "Where's Babcox & Wilcox?" They had never heard of it. When John rephrased it as "B&W," the guy knew where the place was.

John was associated with B&W in engineering, managerial and consulting capacities; and as adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Akron where he conducted courses in pressure vessel design.

Click on the headline for John's obituary.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cathy Strong has a new grandson

Former BJ State Desk staffer Cathy Strong, a communication and media sciences professor at Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, has a new grandson, born on Thanksgiving Day. The boy hasn't been named yet, according to Cathy's Facebook page.

The parents are Cathy's daughter, Rebecca, and husband Dion. Rebecca and Dion also have two daughters.

As Cathy posts, "Three under the age of 4 will keep busy for awhile."

Cathy and former husband Percy Strong also have daughters Amanda and Penelope. Cathy had a family reunion in August on Tonga, a string of islands between Hawaii and New Zealand, where Cathy lived for decades before going to Dubai.

For earlier photos of Cathy, click on the headline.

What about YOU? Family events? Travels? Send details and photos showing you and family at your travel destinations to John Olesky at Jo4wvu@sbcglobal.net

Paul Facinelli mystery continues

Former BJ staffer Pete Geiger, who lives in the St. Augustine, Florida area with wife Sandy after decades spent teaching in Mongolia, chimes in, as he did a year ago, with information about former BJ staffer Paul Facinelli, who lost his Elyria newspaper job over his obsessive investigative journalism of a Head Start sex abuse case (after 14 years in prison, two people had their convictions overturned, validating Paul's stance):


"To repeat what, if I recall correctly, I e-mailed to you a year ago, Facinelli was fired as an indirect result of mad dog Assistant Prosecutor Jonathan E. Rosenbaum's insane intolerance of Paul's investigation of the case of Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen.

"Paul was nominated for a Cleveland Women in Communications award in investigative journalism. Rosenbaum wrote to the organization, re-arguing his prosecution of Smith and Allen and saying that Facinelli had set back the cause of justice for offenses against women and children. The women withheld their award.

"Paul then did what was intolerable to his editor, Andy Young of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram; he hired a lawyer to sue Rosenbaum. Young dropped the axe on Facinelli, a move I thought was, while understandable, extreme. The suit gave Rosenbaum an alley to counter-sue the newspaper.

"Had it been I in Andy's shoes (I was working one year as a business news reporter for the C-T while on furlough from Mongolia), I would have given Paul a leave of absence. Cityroom scuttlebut, in fact, had Paul busted to copy desk.

"I remember vividly the day I came early to work to find Paul packing things from his desk in a cardboard carton. He always thought well of me and had encouraged Young to hire me.

" 'Pete, did I do the wrong thing?,' he asked. I told him I understood his anger over Rosenbaum but, yes, he had been wrong to sue the guy. He hung his head and walked away.

"I was in Elyria a year or so ago and asked C-T Managing Editor Julie Wallace if she had heard from Paul. No, she said; he seemed to have dropped off the edge of the world. The last anyone had heard he was teaching math as a substitute at the Jane Addams Business Career Center on Cleveland's East Side, but that gig had ended, too.

"Happy Holidays to you,


So, we're still trying to find out what happened to Paul after he left the Jane Addams Center job. If you can help, email John Olesky at Jo4wvu@sbcglobal.net

Paul got first place in 1996, third place in 1995 and honorable mention in 1997 from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in the Notes/Items category for his Elyria work.

Click on the headline to read the original story on Paul's investigation and firing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A year ago on the BJ Alums blog . . .

In December 2009 on the BJ Alums blog we were trying to find fiery former BJ staffer Paul Facinelli to get his reaction to the overturned convictions of two people in the Head Start investigation that became such an obsession with Paul that he got fired from the Elyria paper over it.

We're still looking for Paul. If anyone out there has information about contacting Paul, email John Olesky at Jo4wvu@sbcglobal.net

Also in December 2009:

-- Former BJ State Desk staffers Pam McCarthy and Cathy Strong were preparing for a reunion in Boston. It went off famously, and led to a famous BJ Alums photo of Pam and Cathy in a hot tub.

-- Former BJ sportswriter Bob Nold (in photo), a quiet guy with a University of Kansas degree, died at 78. He was among too many BJ retirees who passed away in 2009, including maintenance retiree Cleveland Phillips and Composing retirees Watson Blanton, Armand Lear, Terry Dray and Trammel Hogg.

-- In another sign of the decline of newspapers, Editor & Publisher ceased publication after 125 years.

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

Let's hope that you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and that 2011 is better for newspapers and for you than 2010.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dawidziak and Massillon: A Love Story

Mark Dawidziak as Charles Dickens, Sara Showman as
the Ghost of Christmas Present and Tom Stephan as Ebenezer Scrooge
Mark Dawidziak has fallen in love. But his wife, Sara Showman, doesn't mind. She's in on the three-way.

First PD and former BJ television critic Mark directed his Largely Literary Theater Company’s "The Tell-Tale Play," poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe, at Massillon’s Historic Lions Lincoln Theatre on Oct. 31. Sara, retired Stow-Munroe Falls High drama and English teacher Tom Stephan and Alex J. Nine did the acting.

Then Mark returned to the Lincoln Nov. 21 for "Twain by Three" with Mark, Sara and Jason Davis on stage.

Mark will return to his new love, the Lincoln, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, for Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol." Mark will portray Charles Dickens, Sara will be
the Ghost of Christmas Present and Stephan is Ebenezer Scrooge. The theater is at 156 Lincoln Way E in downtown Massillon.

For photos of "The Christmas Carol" actors in costume and sketches of Dickens by Dawidziak, click on the headline.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mark Twain book flying off shelves

When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins

Read all about it in the New York Times.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Memories cascade over Downing article

John with late wife Monnie on Blackwater Falls platform

By John Olesky
When I read Bob Downing's article Sunday in the Beacon Journal on Blackwater Falls, West Virginia's split-decision waterfalls, it brought back memories.

When our grandson Dylan was younger, his birthday request was the same year after year: Go horseback riding in Blackwater Falls State Park. So four adults left Ohio to fulfill his wish. His grandparents gave it a try a time or two, but the horsehide got too hard and we later opted to wait for them to return to our Canaan Valley Lodge for other fun activities.

It did make for a fun long-weekend for my late wife, Monnie, our daughter LaQuita and husband Tom and their sons Dylan and Devin, who are college students nowadays.

Downing's story focused on the diminishing height of the falls, caused by flooding. Thanks for the memories, Bob.

To read Downing's interesting story on Blackwater Falls, click on the headline.

What about YOUR travel memories? Email details with photos of you and family at your destination to Jo4wvu@sbcglobal.net
for use on the BJ Alums blog. Or other details of your life since the BJ.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Theresa Osmar, wife of composing room retiree

Theresa Ann Osmar, 78, went home to be with the Lord on November 16, 2010.

She was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Theresa was preceded in death by her parents, John and Anna Lynch; sister, Elizabeth Anich; brothers, Francis, Patrick, John, and Michael Lynch; and several
nieces and nephews. She is survived by her loving husband of 54 years, Leo; sister, Marie (Robert) Washington; sons, Ludlow (Leisa) Osmar, Vincent Osmar, Michael (Pam) Osmar, and John (Christina) Osmar; daughters, Ann (Michael) Wintrow, Christine Bohn, Bertha (Blake) Thompson, and Susan (Frank) Jarvis; grandchildren, Joshua Osmar, Clayton Osmar, Amber Osmar, Megan (Zach) Kalil, Marisa Wintrow, Richard Bohn, Christina Thompson, Cynthia Thompson, Theresa Sue Jarvis, Frank Jarvis II, and Alexander Osmar; and several nieces and nephews.

Theresa was a long time member of the Findley Elementary PTA and was made an honorary life time member after years of dedicated volunteer work which continued long after her youngest was a student there. She also loved bowling and bowled on a ladies league at Midway Lanes well into her 70's. Theresa, along with Leo, spent many years running the coffee and donut hour after Sunday morning mass and also volunteered for many years at the hot meals program at St. Bernard's Church.

Calling hours will be held Friday, November 19, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, where a prayer service will be held Saturday, November 20, at 9:45 a.m., followed by a funeral mass at St. Bernard-St. Mary's Church. Burial will take place at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery at a later date.

To leave the family a special message online, visit www.NewcomerAkron.com. (NEWCOMER FUNERAL HOME, 330-784-3334)
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Thursday, November 18, 2010, page B5, col. 2]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cal Deshong wheeling toward 92

Calvin Deshong's 1960 Chrysler

BJ Alums got this email from Beacon Journal Composing retiree Calvin Deshong:

"This is a picture of my 1960 Chrysler Saratoga. $4,200. That picture was taken near Pittsburgh on Sept. 8, 1962, the day I was married. We were leaving on our honeymoom. Ha, ha!

"That car would do 120 and perhaps more. The speedometer only went to 120. I only did it once on the PA Turnpike at 1 in the morning.

"Now the Akron Expresway is too fast and dangerous for me."

Cal's bride was Mary Louise, who died in February 2001. They had been married almost four decades.

He was born Calvin E. Dishong Nov. 24, 1918 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to Nan Galbreath Dishong and Daniel Calvin Dishong. When Cal's parents split up, Cal's mother changed the name to Deshong by substituting an "e" for the "i" when the family left for Ohio.

Cal worked at the BJ (1952-1983) before retiring 27 years ago!

If you want to mail Cal a congratulatory card or note for his 92nd birthday Nov. 24, his address is:

Calvin Deshong
3682 Vira Rd.
Stow, OH 44224

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

Click on the headline for Cal's biography, which appeared in the BJ Alums blog for last year's birthday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

BJ Alums calendar

1-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Center for Nonprofit Excellence, 703 South Main Street, Akron. -- Dave Hertz, Dix & Eaton public relations vice president, and Ron Kirksey, Kirksey Communications owner, both former BJ newsroomers. Media Relations 101: Strengthening Communications with the Press, for non-profit organizations. $35 workshop. Click on headline for more details.

2 p.m. Sunday, Historic Lions Lincoln Theater, 156 Lincoln Way E, Massillon. "Twain by Three," performed by Plain Dealer and former Beacon Journal TV critic Mark Dawidziak, wife Sara Showman and Jason Davis. $8 for adults and $6 for students. Go to Mark doing Mark for details.

Crazy stuff by Dan Coughlin

Dan Coughlin, who has covered sports in Northeast Ohio newspapers and on television for nearly a half-century, has his first book out, "Crazy, With the Papers to Prove It."

The former Plain Dealer columnist (1964–1982) and WJW-TV sports anchor writes about egendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes, quirky Cleveland Indians shooting star/flameout Super Joe Charboneau, Olympic champion Stella Walsh (a hermaphrodite who competed in women's events), boxer Muhammad Ali and former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell and others in the 40-chapter book.

The 288-page "Crazy, with the Papers to Prove It" is published by Cleveland's Gray and Company and sells for $14.95.

Richard Osborne of the Lorain Morning Journal has a good column about a "crazy" that didn't make the book, when the Cleveland Press Club bought a trotter who was no Dan Patch, and not just because DP was a pacer, at

The Canton Repository's Gary Brown has an excellent interview of Dan and the book at

Click on the headline to read a Q. & A. with Dan on the Cleveland Leader web site.

Friday, November 12, 2010

BJ retiree Carlos "Carl" Anderson dies

NORTON -- Carlos ``Carl' Anderson, 85, passed away Thursday, November 11, 2010, following a courageous battle with COPD.

Carl was born on January 29, 1925, in Barberton, Ohio to Scott and Forrest Anderson. He was a lifelong resident of the Barberton and Norton areas.

Carl retired from Seiberling Tire and Rubber Company and the Akron Beacon Journal.

He was a member of the U.S. Army and served in the 2nd Armored Division from D-Day through the end of World War II, receiving the Bronze Star during the Battle of the Bulge.

Carl was a member of Grace Church in Norton where he enjoyed serving as an usher and being the ``Pastry Provider' for the Real Life Group. Carl also enjoyed traveling, veteran activities, gardening, his flowers, hunting and going out for that special steak dinner with his family.

Carl was joined in marriage to Jewell May (Nettle) for 49 years, who preceded him in death in 1995. Surviving are his children, Duayne (Cheryl) Anderson of Wooster, Diane Anderson of Akron, Kimberly (Paul) Bednarik of Barberton and Erik Anderson of Barberton; grandchildren, Jason (Susan) Anderson and Jennifer Anderson of Wooster, Amanda Anderson, Holly Anderson and Eric Anderson, all of Barberton; and four great-grandchildren.

Carl cared deeply for his family and church. His family will dearly miss him.

Funeral service will be held Saturday, 10 a.m. at Grace Church of Norton, 3970 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Norton 44203, with Pastor Doug Jensen officiating. Burial at Greenlawn Memorial Park with military honors. The family will receive friends from 9 a.m. till time of service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hope Homes, 2300 Call Road, Stow, Ohio 44224.
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Thursday, November 11, 2010, page B4, col. 4]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oldest working reporter turns 92

Rohrer still covers golf and bowling for Record-Courier

Pershing Charles Rohrer was born in Cumberland, Md., on Nov. 11, 1918, the day the armistice was signed to end the fighting in World War I, so he was named after the U.S. commander, Gen. John J. Pershing.

At 92, he is listed as the oldest working reporter in Ohio. Persh retired from the Ravenna Record-Courier Jan. 1, 1989, but continues to cover golf and bowling for the Portage County newspaper.

His sports reporting career began with the Cumberland Daily News while he was still in high school. Rohrer says he kept bothering them until they gave him a job.

His other newspaper stops include the Morgantown, West Virginia Dominion News, Suffolk, Virginia News-Herald, Athens, Ohio Messenger, Plainfield, New Jersey Courier-News, Indianapolis Times, Defiance, Ohio Crescent-News and two stints at the Record-Courier. In 1985, Pershing was inducted into the United Press International's Sportswriters Hall of Fame.

Pershing married Janet Raymond of Cincinnati in 1951. She was a Kent State College of Education professor at the time of her 1980 death. They had a son, Thomas Paul Rohrer, in 1959. Pershing married again in 1990, to Mary Steele Solitro of Ravenna.

Photo shows Pershing Rohrer with grandfather, Lorenzo Dow Rohrer, in 1926

Click on the headline for the Record-Courier story on Pershing.

Some information in this article was obtained from a Rohrer family genealogy site,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Familiar quintet at BJ Alums lunch

From left: John Olesky, Cal Deshong, Al Hunsicker, Gene McClellan and Carl Nelson

Today's monthly Papa Joe's restaurant lunch of Beacon Journal retirees had the usual participants: Newsroom retiree John Olesky, retired printers Cal Deshong, who will be 92 years old on Nov. 24, Al Hunsicker, Gene McClellan and Carl Nelson. There hasn't been a lower attendance since only engraving retiree Pat Dougherty and McClellan showed up during a February 2010 snowstorm. The lunch is at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at Akron-Peninsula Road and Portage Trail Extension.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

12 years and we still miss you, Fran

Frances B. Murphey, legendary Beacon Journal reporter in the bib overalls, died 12 years ago today -- Nov. 9, 1998 -- at the age of 75. But her memory will never fade among those who knew her, in person or by reading her Good Afternoon and Good Morning columns.

The highest compliment in my life was when Fran said to me: "Go to Hell!" I was on hallowed ground. We retired from the BJ on the same day. Fran insisted that I be
included in the Blue Room sendoff for her. The Hudson High and Kent State graduate had a fabled collection of 200,000 postcards, including one that arrived 47 years after she mailed it. Fran's niece, Marie Dachtler Fogle of Hartville, said her aunt's postcard collection was sold after she died.

Fran wrote more than 30 million words and took more than 40,000 photos for the BJ. When the BJ switched to computers for its reporters, Fran would add words to the final line of each paragraph to squeeze in more information.

While in junior high, Fran would accompany her mother, Marie L. (Thompson) Murphey, a correspondent with the Akron Times Press, on election nights to tally the results by flashlight.

Outhouses were another Fran trademark. My daughter, LaQuita, who worked with leaded glass, made a glass outhouse for Fran.
Harry Liggett would show up as assistant State Desk editor at 4:30 a.m. to find a note on his desk telling him where to find Fran, and what time to awaken her.

Former BJ staffer Thrity Umrigar, author of novels about her native India ("Bombay Time," "The Space Between Us," "If Today Be Sweet"), wrote a superb tribute after Fran's death. Click on the headline to read it.

Akron Legal News retiree dies

Akron Legal News retiree Stephen Yuhasz, 84, died Oct. 31 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a printer for 46 years at ALN before retiring to Green Valley, Arizona. Retired BJ printers Carl Nelson, Gene McClellan and Mike Herchek worked at Legal News with Steve.

Steve's deceased brother, Simon Shephard, was a printer at the BJ.

Steve bowled in the Allied Print Craft League for 49 years and golfed.

A son and daughter live in Akron.

Click on the headline for his obituary in the Beacon Journal.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Surprise for Akron next?

The Akron Symphony’s production of "Porgy and Bess," which is sponsored by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will premiere April 16, 2011 in the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall. Elyria native Lester Lynch will play Crown. Alvy Powell will portray Porgy and Marquita Lister will be Bess.

Akron Symphony Music Director Christopher Wilkins said that roles still available include Sportin’ Life, Serena and Clara and that the chorus positions are 95% filled.

Juilliard Opera School graduate Lynch sang as Crown for the San Francisco Opera and has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra.

There will be a Random Acts of Culture happening in Akron, also funded by the Knight Foundation. The event isn't announced, just performed in a public place. Click on the headline for the BJ Alums article on the Opera Company of Philadelphia doing the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah" in Macy's store amid hundreds of surprised shoppers. Something like that will happen in Akron. If you're in the right place at the right time, you'll hear and see it.

Dawidziak back to Massillon as Twain

Plain Dealer and former Beacon Journal television critic Mark Dawidziak was in Massillon's Historic Lions Lincoln Theater Oct. 31 as the director/lighting operator for his Largely Literary Theater Company’s "The Tell-Tale Play," while wife Sara Showman, Tom Stephan and Alex J. Nine spoke Edgar Allen Poe's words.

He'll be on stage at the same theater, at 156 Lincoln Way E, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21 as his troupe performs "Twain by Three" -- our Mark, wife Sara and Jason Davis. The performance will be nine days before Twain’s 175th birthday.

Tickets, available at the door, are $8 for adults and $6 for students. For information, call (330) 832-0717 or go to www.lionslincolntheatre.com/home.php

Mark and Sara's company performed "Twain By Three" in March at Akron's Wayne College in Orrville and in July at the Nordonia Hills public library.

Mark and Sara perform folk tales annually in Akron's St. Bernard Church for the Books for Africa Library Project’s fundraising dinner.

The troupe does Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" in area libraries in December.

Dawidziak's 12th book, which Kent State Press will publish in 2011 and which is co-authored by Kent bookseller Paul J. Bauer, is "Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler." Tully, who was fired twice by the Beacon Journal and also worked for the Akron Press, became a boxer and Charlie Chaplin's ghost writer and biographer.

Click on the headline for photos of Dawidziak as Twain and sketches by Dawidziak of Twain.

News magazine to fold

U.S. News & World Report will cease printing its monthly magazine in 2011, according to an internal memo from editor Brian Kelly posted to journalism website Romanesko.

Famous for its annual rankings on the best colleges, hospitals, personal finance and a slew of other topics, the magazine had already slipped from a weekly to a bi-weekly and then a monthly over the last two years.

Its circulation plunged last year to 1,269,260 from 1,721,377 the year before, Magazine Publishers of America estimated.

The rankings issues will continue to be published in-print, along with four special topic issues, but the rest of the publication's content will only be available online, the memo said.

Its last regular print edition will be next month.

"All of us at U.S. News Media Group have been aggressively responding to the changing habits in the media marketplace," Kelly wrote. "These latest moves will accelerate our ability to grow our online businesses and position ourselves to take advantage of the emerging platforms for distributing information."

A call to the magazine's public relations department went unanswered Friday afternoon.

[Siource: New York Post]

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Knight Foundation Hallelujah delights

The Opera Company of Philadelphia last weekend put together a colossal musical surprise with the help of 28 other organizations. This event, one of the "Random Acts of Culture" being spearheaded by the Knight Foundation over the next few years, brought together more than 650 choristers who mingled with shoppers at the Macy's store in Center City Philadelphia.

At noon on Saturday (October 30), the famous Wanamaker Organ could be heard breaking into the opening measures of the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah," and those hundreds of choristers located all over the place chimed in right on cue, startling the heck out of unsuspecting customers.

Take a listen:

Friday, November 05, 2010

Aniston is best seller for mag

The September Harper's Bazaar, with ex-"Friends" star Jennifer Aniston on the cover, sold 255,000 copies on the newsstand -- the magazine's best-selling issue in seven years. Vogue's September issue with Halle Berry fell 5.5 percent to 540,000.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ex-BJers help nonprofits cope with media

Media Relations 101: Strengthening Communications with the Press on Nov. 16 will help nonprofit organizations deal more effectively with the media. The workshop is sponsored by the Center for
Nonprofit Excellence and the Akron Area Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

The presenters are Dave Hertz, who left the Beacon Journal newsroom and advanced to vice president of the Dix & Eaton public relations firm, and former BJ editorial page editor Ron Kirksey, owner of Kirksey Communications.

The media panel includes WKSU radio "Morning Edition" host Jeff St. Clair, The Suburbanite editor Tammy Proctor, former Channel 5 newsman and BP public relations manager Tom Koch and moderator Tom Duke, president of the Akron chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

The $35 workshop will be at 1-3:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, 703 South Main Street in Akron.

The center's board of directors includes vice chair Debra Adams Simmons, newly elevated to editor of the Plain Dealer.

Click on the headline for the release on the center's web site.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Changes in BJ retirees coverage

I received the 2011 Aetna Medicare 85 PPO Plan for Beacon Journal retirees in the mail. Some of the changes are mandated by the health care reform law recently passed. The main change is that there will tremendous differences in costs if you do not use doctors and facilities that are in the Aetna PPO network under Beacon Journal retiree coverage.

What I saw, if I interpreted things correctly:

$10 co-pay for Tier 1 Generic. Apparently the $5 co-pays are a thing of the past before you hit the dreaded donut hole. The cost to you doubled over 2010.

$40 co-pay for Tier 2 Preferred Brand.
$80 co-pay for Tier 3 Non-Preferred Brand.
That sounds the same as in 2010.

Once you hit the dreaded donut hole:

$5 co-pay for Tier 1 Generic, same as in 2010.
100% co-pay for Tier 2 and Tier 3. Same as 2011 for Tier 3. Not sure whether Tier 2 is an increase over 2010. And the prescripition charge is only for ONE month, not the 90 days as in 2010, if you use a retail pharmacy. It's $10 for 90 days if you use Aetna Rx Home Delivery.

Other items I noticed:

100% coverage for routine physicals, gynecological exams and related lab fees, digital rectal exam and PSA prostate tests, colorectal cancer screening, eye and hearing exams and diabetic supplies after you meet the $250 annual deductible as long as you use network doctors and facilities. Otherwise, you'll pay 25% after you hit the deductible.

There are other changes, so read your Aetna Medicare letter and sheets carefully. If you have questions, call the Beacon Journal Human Resources office for answers. And email John Olesky at Jo4wvu@sbcglobal.net
with the answers you get so he can share the information on the BJ Alums blog.

You can go to AetnaMedicare.com and click on

Find Out

along the right side. And then click on

Find Doctors

And then type in your zip code and put in the distance (I put 40 miles), go to

Provider Type

And make a choice (I typed in Primary Care Physicians) and then go to


and select

Aetna Medicare Plan PPO

and click on

Start Search

I did that but did not find my primary care physician on the list. I called my primary care physician's office and they said that they were covered.

Since there's a major dollar difference between paying $0 and 25% for in-network and out-of-network, it's worth your time.

Good luck!

Mark, Massillon, BJ reunion

When former BJ and current PD television critic Mark Dawidziak's Mostly Literary Theater Company performed its Poe show in Massillon, Betty O'Neill Roderick was in the audience. Here's Mark's email response to my inquiry about how the Poe production went:

Thanks for asking about Massillon, which went very well. Sara (Mark's wife) came down with a bad cold Saturday, but she rallied on Sunday to deliver a fabulous performance. We had about 50 people, and they were an audience that hung on every word, so that helped a great deal, too. This is the first house we've ever played that required microphones. Alex (Nine)'s mike developed a short in the first act, but he took his voice up a few notches and filled the theater with no problem. One of the things I love about the Poe show in a real theater is that I get to sit up in the booth, run lights and let the real actors do all the work.

We're hoping to build on that 50 on Nov. 21 with the Twain show (in the same Massillon theater), which needs more of an audience (comedy usually does). The Historic Lions Lincoln Theater folks know this a slow building process, having just started the pursuit of live productions for that stage.

The only Beacon person I saw in Massillon was Betty O'Neill Roderick. But Halloween may have been a tough day for many people. Nov. 21 may not be much better, being the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but you throw the doors open and see what happens.

All best,

Betty is author of "The Ghosts of Zoar, Ohio" and conducts ghost tours May through Halloween in the town settled by German Separatists in 1817. Betty will be talking about her 66-page book at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 at Perkins Stone Mansion, 550 Copley Road in Akron. There's no charge.

Betty (shown in the photo conducting a Zoar tour) is not a BJ staffer but she writes Beacon Scene articles for the BJ. You know, the social scene in the BJ area. That's how she came across the Zoar stuff, on one of her trips for the BJ.

Click on the headline to see the pre-show BJ Alums article on Mark's Poe production.