Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cartoonist Derf to receive Lit Lifetime Award

Cartoonist John "Derf" Backderf will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Lit, Cleveland's literary society.
My friend Dahme

The presentation will occur at the biennial Lantern Awards, All Lit Up: An Evening of Literary Excellence presented by the Lit, at the Palace Theater on Sept. 11, 2010.

Derf's comic strip, The City,  first appeared in The Cleveland Edition in 1990. When that paper folded in 1992, Derf was one of the founders of the Cleveland Free Times. In 2002, he moved to Cleveland Scene, where his strip now appears. The City has run in over 100 weekly papers during its history. Derf was also a staff artist-cartoonist for the Plain Dealer from 1986-89 and for the Akron Beacon Journal from 1990-1999.

Derf's cartoons have won numerous awards, including: a Green Eyeshade Award from The Society of Professional Journalists in 2004, Best Cartoon from the Association of Alternative Newspapers in 2005 (and runner up three other years) and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for political cartooning in 2006. He has twice been nominated for Eisner Awards, the Oscars of comics.

Derf, a Richfield native and a graduate of Ohio State University, is also the author of three graphic novels, all set in NE Ohio. Trashed: True Tales From the Back of a Garbage Truck  (SLG Publishing, 2001) is the memoir of his career as a 19-year-old garbageman in Richfield. Punk Rock & Trailer Parks (SLG Publishing, 2009) is a sprawling fictional comedy set during Akron's punk rock heyday. My Friend Dahmer, a 200-page graphic novel slated for publication in 2011, is a memoir of Derf's teenage friendship at Revere High School with the strange boy who became the most infamous serial killer since Jack the Ripper. This new 200-page graphic novel is based on a 24-page short story, now a cult favorite, that Derf previously self published.

Also receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards are comic book writer Harvey Pekar and novelist and Cleveland State prof Sheila Schwartz, both posthumously. Derf, it should be noted, is only half dead.

Nominees for the various awards include these BJ Alums.

II. Fiction:
Dan Chaon: Await Your Reply
Sheila Schwartz: Lies Will Take You Somewhere

Thrity Umrigar: The Weight of Heaven

IV. Memoir:
Kazim Ali: Bright Felon

Thrity Umrigar: First Darling of The Morning
III. Graphic Novel:Derf: Punk Rock And Trailer Parks
Harvey Pekar: The Beats

VI. Journalism: Personal Interest Story
Joanna Connors: Beyond Rape
David Giffels: The American Dream
Michael Gill: Sacrificial Lambs

Inside Art Krummel's head

I was researching for a BJ Alums blog article that would include, among others, former BJ chief artist Art Krummel. But I stumbled across an Artists Perspective.com interview of Art that is far better than anything I could put together.

Art talks about how he first got hooked on drawing, his joy at working at the BJ ("every day was like Christmas") and how his paintings are evolving.

Art is married to Charlene Nevada, retired BJ reporter who is working at the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, a Hudson philanthrophy that provided grants to education institions.

Click on the headline to read the interview, which appeared shortly after Art retired from the BJ, and enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catching up with . . . Steve Mace

Steve Mace, who left the Beacon Journal and a printer career behind in 1978, is alive and well in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Steve took a BJ buyout and switched to construction work, which in Vegas is a job that never ends. Hotel/casinos are imploded and built-over more often than some people change their underwear. He retired in recent years.

Steve was at the University of Akron on a football scholarship, after his successful Springfield Schools athletic career, before he began his printing apprenticeship at the Beacon Journal. UA is where he met Marylouise Carroll, a St. Vincent High graduate who was learning to be a nurse but instead became his wife. Marylouise was a teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary in Cuyahoga Falls for a while.

Steve and Marylouise are still together in Vegas.

On some of the trips to Ohio over the decades Steve has reunited with retired printers Gene McClellan and Mike Jewell and accounting retiree Mickey Dimeff, usually at the Hiberian Club. Steve also has talked on the phone with retired printer Sid Sprague, who moved to Loveland, Colorado after residing on Pawleys Island, South Carolina till Sid’s wife died and Sid married again.

Steve also keeps in touch with BJ folks, he volunteered, by reading the BJ Alums blog. “It’s on my Favorites” list of online websites, he said.

If you want to contact Steve or Marylouise, their email address is


Their phone number is (702) 873-5071

The U.S. mail address is

Stephen H. Mace
6204 Obannon Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89146

My original reason for trying to contact Steve was to see if he was related to James E. Mace, Sr., 81, a Lakemore resident and General Tire retiree who died Aug. 14. Jim was Steve’s brother. To see the obituary for Jim Mace, click on the headline.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paradise will have to wait

Former BJ chief artist Art Krummel and his wife, former BJ reporter Charlene Nevada, will have to wait at least a year before they can spend more time in the home they purchased this year in Garden City, South Carolina. Charlene is using her writing skills for the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, a philanthrophy that provided grants to such colleges as Kent State, Denison, Wooster,
Art and Char at Hudson's Art on the Green
Purdue and Ashland plus Western Reserve Academy in Hudson and Old Trail School in Bath.

Garden City is near Myrtle Beach and not that far from Pawleys Island, South Carolina, where retired BJ printer Dick Latshaw and his wife Pat and BJ business department retiree Harold McElroy and his wife Linda live a few blocks apart.

Art and Char drove from South Carolina to put up a tent for Art by Art paintings in Hudson’s Art on the Green, which will end Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) in downtown Hudson. Art and Char will be busy elsewhere Oct. 30, for their son’s wedding in Connecticut.

Another former BJ artist, Dennis Balogh, passed on the Hudson event because he’s busy free-lancing magazine cover illustrations. Dennis’ artwork once dazzled as the covers of Channels magazine, the BJ’s weekly TV guide since 1980, when it was a separate magazine printed in Medina or Glens Falls, New York, and not just spit out at the BJ and jammed into Sunday advertising inserts.

Retired BJ staffer Connie Bloom was busy Saturday, too, displaying her fabric art at Art in the Square in Highland Square on Market Street.

The Morgan Foundation is in Hudson. Burt Morgan made his fortune through, among other things, inventing Band-Aids and cellophane to wrap meat.

Click on the headline for more information about the Morgan Foundation.

Friday, August 27, 2010

USA Today going after Smart Phones, computer tablets and laying off 130

USA Today will lay off 130 of its 1,500 employees and drastically reshape itself to go after smart phones, computer tablets and other non-print outlets more aggressively.

The newspaper that made a major splash with shorter stories, colorful graphics and photos in 1982 is reinventing itself to "go where the audience is," USA Today Editor John Hillkirk said.

The business and newsside leaders will confer on "strategies that work for advertisers," USA Today Publisher Dave Hunke said.

USA Today's circulation went from 2.3 million in 2007 to 1.83 million today.

Click on the headline to read the Associated Press story.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Elmer Johnson, Jr., 79, dies

Elmer Johnson, Jr., 79, went home to be with the Lord on August 25, 2010. He passed away peacefully after a short, but courageous, battle with cancer.

Elmer served his country in the U.S. Army, and then served the Akron public for over 55 years as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service and the Akron Beacon Journal.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer, Sr., and Hulda; sister, Helen; and daughter, Beverly Kirksey.

Elmer is survived by his children, Monica (Dennis) Williams, Shawn Johnson, and Bobby (Kristen) Johnson; grandchildren, Darius and Jarrin Kirksey, Djnab Williams, and Madilyn and Olivia Johnson; and siblings, Herbert (Mary) Johnson, Thomas (Clemetine) Johnson, and Bobby Johnson.

A memorial gathering will take place Friday, August 27, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, 131 N. Canton Rd., Akron, where a memorial service will follow at 7 p.m.

Published in Akron Beacon Journal from August 26 to August 27, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cathy Strong, family vacation in Tonga

Former BJ staffer Cathy Strong, a communication and media sciences professor at Zayed University in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate, vacationed in Tonga last month with her family. Daughters Amanda and Rebecca, Rebecca's husband Dion and their daughter, Katie-Belle, and granddaughter Libby, 2 on Sept. 8, joined Cathy. Katie-Belle is short for Katalina Isabelle Mary Hewson.

The Kingdom of Tonga comprises 169 islands, 36 inhabited, spread over 500 miles about a third of the way from New Zealand, where Cathy had similar jobs for decades, to Hawaii.

Tonga has a literacy rate -- 98.9% -- that is the envy of most industrial nations. Free Wesleyan has the most church members, followed by the Latter Day Saints, Catholics and Free Church of Tonga, in that order.

Click on the headline to see photos of Cathy (the last one is of her Tonga vacation).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BJ trio at different arts events

Retired BJ chief artist Art Krummel will be driving up from his recently purchased vacation home in the Myrtle Beach, SC,  area for Art on the Green in Hudson -- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29. Former BJ artist Chuck Ayers, who draws the "Crankshaft" comic strip, also will participate.

Retired BJ staffer Connie Bloom will bring her fabric arts work to Art in the Square in Highland Square 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28. Her name will be on one of 10 8-foot banners hoisted on the lamp posts at the W. Market Street event. There will be more than 30 live bands performing on six stages, and in the nearby library.

Originally, Connie planned to participante in the sixth annual art-A-palooza 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at Boettler Park.

Click on the headline to see the BJ Alums article and photos of Art and Connie at the July 23-25 Akron Arts Expo at Hardesty Park.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Here's how they completed the JSK room

Bill Schlemmer, Dave Cooper and Paul Poorman pay homage to JSK's typewriter

These photos were taken when the John S. Knight room was completed in the 1980s at the Akron Beacon Journal. The JSK Room honors the late editor and publisher of Knight Newspapers.

The top photo shows Bill Schlemmer, Dave Cooper and Paul Poorman paying homage to Knight’s typewriter in the showcase.

Schlemmer, now deceased, was city editor, managing editor and finally assistant to the general manager Cooper is retired associate editor of the Beacon Journal. Poorman was editor of the Beacon Journal.

The three are joined by News Editor Dave Boerner hamming it up in the other photo.

Boerner was emptying some old boxes recently and came across these photos. He gave them to fellow retiree Tom Moore who published them on his blog and sent copies along to BJ Alums.
Dave Boerner joins trio behind hm in hamming it up.   In back (from left) are Bill Schlemmer, Paul Poorman and Dave Cooper.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Regina Brett to host WKSU show

Former Beacon Journal and current Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett will host a new call-in radio show, "The Regina Brett Show," beginning Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., on WKSU, 89.7 FM. She'll have guests.

The two-time Pulitizer Prize finalist and one-time waitress has had a radio show since 2006 on Cleveland's
National Public Radio affiliate, WCPN-FM 90.3, from 9:05–10 a.m. Fridays.

The weekly, hour-long show was inspired by Brett's book, "God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours," published in April. The book grew out of a popular column Brett wrote for The Plain Dealer when she turned 50 and reflected on what life had taught her.

The "Regina Brett Show," featuring a variety of guests, will focus on "themes of life's transitions and universal issues of home, work, community and finding a personal balance," according to a news release.

Listeners will be able to call in at 888-WKSU897 or email Letters@WKSU.org with their comments. More information about the program will be featured at WKSU.org

Kent State graduate Regina, 54, has taught feature writing and news writing at the University of Akron.

She came to the BJ from the Lorain Journal, where she was City Hall reporter.

Regina, married with a daughter and two stepsons, lives in Cleveland.

Regina was inducted into the Press Club of Cleveland’s Journalism Hall of Fame in 2009.

Click on the headline for the story about her new WKSU show.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Abe: Rosenberg lost; PD lost more

Although Don Rosenberg lost his lawsuit to the Plain Dealer, the PD lost more, former BJ staffer Abe Zaidain writes on his "Grumpy Abe" blog.

Rosenberg unsuccessfully sued the PD because it dropped him from Cleveland Orchestra coverage when the newspaper caved in to pressure from displeased Orchestra and highly placed people over Don's reviews of the Orchestra's conductor.

Click on the headline to read Abe's commentary.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Olga Reswow's grand-niece in Gerber baby contest

 Click on the headline to see  Olga's grand-niece, Abigail, and cast your vote for her.  You can vote once a day

This email came from Newsroom copy editor Olga Reswow:

Hi Harry,

Hope you are doing okay.

I was wondering if you could put my grand-niece's photo on the Beacon Journal retirees website? I know it sounds corny but I am trying to get more votes for her.

My sister's youngest daughter, Natalie, entered her in the Gerber baby contest. My niece, Natalie, is a Michigan State U. graduate and her husband, Andy Delmege, is also a Michigan State graduate. They grew up in Detroit (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.)

Her husband accepted a fellowship position with the Charles G. Koch Foundation and for the next year he is working for the Americans for Prosperity Foundation as part of the fellowship program. He was working for AAA in Washington, D.C. They live in Arlington, Va.

Natalie is a stay-at-home mom but she previously worked for National City Bank.

Anyway, I hope you make an exception and put her photograph and connecting link on the Web site.

Thanks, Olga

P.S. I returned to work on July 13 (had a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage in late May) .... still getting some headaches and taking medication but hopefully, they will go away finally.

This summer has not been a good summer. We haven't really done all that much. I even missed the Beacon Journal lunch in June at Bricco with Bruce Winges for other BJ employees celebrating many years of service. I've been at the BJ 25 years this year.

Winges is the BJ editor.

Olga works on the Copy Desk. She also has doubled a few times as Russian interpreter in the newsroom.

What about YOU? Family events. Travels. Your BJ friends would like to know. Email details and photos to John Olesky at


Monday, August 16, 2010

Pressroom retiree James 'Bus' Lowery, 89, dies

The obituary for Beacon Journal pressroom retiree James "Bus" Lowery that appeared in the Beacon Journal.

James (Bus) Lowery, 89, passed away to his Heavenly Home on August 13, 2010.

He was born in Akron, Ohio to parents John and Vera Lowery in 1921. He retired from the Akron Beacon Journal in 1983. He served his country during World War II and was a member of Lifespring Christian
Church, where he served as an Elder and Trustee in previous years. He attended East and South High Schools and the University of Akron. James was a 60-year member of Akron Lodge #83 F&AM, a charter member of Akron Consistory 32nd degree, a member of Tadmor Shrine, the Anna Dean Chapter OES, as well as a Special Committee member of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by sisters, Gladys Schneider, Vonicile Drawdy, Mary Coffman and four grandsons, Burton, Bradley, Chas Hart and Kurt Hall. Survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Marjory; sister, Joan Doyle; daughters, Sandra (Harry) Hall and Rebecca (Gilbert) Hart; six grandchildren, Kelly Beavers, Kevin Hall, Kristin Spear, Kathy King, Aaron Hart, Leah McGraw and 12 loving great-grandchildren.

Special Thank You's to Akron General Hospice Care, the McDowell Cancer Center and all the Doctors and Nurses for their wonderful care.

The family will receive friends on Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 to 1 p.m. at the Anthony Funeral Home KUCKO-ANTHONY-KERTESZ CHAPEL, 1990 S. Main St. in Akron. A funeral service will be conducted by Rev. Terry Baker on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will follow at Lockwood Cemetery in Coventry Twp., where Firestone Park VFW Post 3383 will conduct military honors. Memorials may be made to the Ohio Grand Assembly IORG and Lifspring Christian Church.
Anthony Funeral Homes 330.724.1281anthonyfh.com

[Akron Beacon Journal, Sunday,  August 15, 2010, page B6, col. 5]

Margaret Samulak, still in Advertising at the Beacon, emailed that Bus' daughter, Sandra "Sandi" Hall, worked in Advertising for many years until she retired a few years ago.

Prescription math: U.S. vs. Canada

There's a startling difference in prices between Aetna Rx Delivery and Canada once you hit the donut hole and have to pay 100% of the cost for brand-name drugs.


Aricept 10 mg ........... Aetna $655.37 .............. Canada $82.00 (for generic)

Celebrex 10 mg .......... Aetna $331.86 ............... Canada $109.45 (for generic)

Uroxatral 10 mg ......... Aetna $271.55 .............. Canada $82 (for generic)

There are no generics that I know of for these three drugs in the United States. But there are generics for all three through Canada.

Since I hit the donut hole in May, I will save $1,970.66 on those three prescriptions for the remaining six months of the year. It's cheaper through Aetna before I hit the donut hole because my co-pay is never higher than $80 then.

Why such a difference? Well, generics, of course, which have the same critical ingredients. And pharmaceutical lobbyists wrote the USA laws.

If you're interested in how to get your prescriptions from Canada once you hit the donut hole, email John Olesky at


Windhorst traveling around the world

Former BJ staffer Brian Windhorst, who covers the Cavaliers for the Plain Dealer, will travel around the world – 30,000 miles, 17 flights and five continents in 30 days – to help friend Jon Wiles celebrate his 30th birthday (Sept. 13). They took off last weekend.

Brian and Jon, front page designer for the Washington Post who left a similar job at the PD, have been friends

since their Akron high school days. Brian is a St. Vincent-St. Mary graduate. They were Kent State journalism students together and roommates in Cleveland. Brian is a 2000 KSU grad, Jon a 2002 grad and was a Detroit Free Press intern. Jon also teaches at the University of Maryland.

Brian’s dad, Todd, like former BJ staffer Tom Moore, helps former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen with Giffen’s Roy Hobbs World Series for older baseball players in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Brian – born Jan. 29, 1978 -- was at the BJ for 12 years before joining the exodus to the PD. After Terry Pluto left the BJ for the PD, he co-authored “The Franchise: LeBron James and the Remaking of the Cleveland Cavaliers” with Brian. Brian survived a two-month 2008 bout with pneumonia that dunked him into the intensive care unit of Akron City Hospital.

The trip will include a week in Europe, a safari in South Africa, a beach resort in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and, at the end, Las Vegas to join friends and celebrate the end of Jon's 20s.

All the legs of the trip will be via the 28-airline Star Alliance.

Click on the headline to read Brian’s account of the planned trip in the Plain Dealer.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Norma Jean Hanzel dies

Norma Jean Hanzel, wife of retired printer Ed Hanzel, died Friday, Aug. 13, 2010.

Her obituary in the Beacon Journal:

BARBERTON -- Norma Jean Hanzel, 83, passed away Friday, August 13, 2010.

A life resident of Barberton, she was a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church and the Altar Society.

Preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Doris Smith; Norma is survived by her husband of 62 years, Edward; daughter, Joan (David) Stover of Barberton; sons, Jack (Cheryl) of Akron, Jeffrey (Cindy) of Doylestown; grandchildren, Mark (Jennifer) Stover, Sandy Papoi, Whitney Megyes, Kelley Hanzel; great-granddaughters, Anastasia, Allison and Brittany; numerous nieces, nephews and other family members and friends.

Family will receive friends Tuesday, 4 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday 9 to 9:30 a.m. at the Campfield-Hickman-Collier Funeral Home, 566 W. Park Ave., Barberton 44203. Mass of the Christian Burial will be Wednesday 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 204 6th St. N.W., Barberton. Burial at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Augustine Church Endowment Fund. 330-745-3161

Norma regularly attended the monthly BJ alums lunch with Ed at Papa Joe's Restaurant at Akron-Peninsula Road and Portage Trail Extension.

Ed and Norma were married on September 13, 1947  at St. Augustine Church. Ed and Norma met at Barberton High School and resided in Barberton all their lives. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007 with family and friends.

Click on the headline to see photos of Norma Jean and Ed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

45 Ohio newspapers online

There are at least 45 online web sites for Ohio newspapers, from the Akron Beacon Journal to the Willoughby News-Herald.

Click on the headline and find the Ohio newspaper that you want to check out.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harry & John got $250 donut-hole checks

Harry Liggett and John Olesky got their $250 checks from Medicare because they hit the donut hole in their prescription costs. If you hit the donut hole this year, you'll get your $250 automatically, too -- Aetna Medicare and others tell the government when you're in the donut hole.

You reach the donut hole when the total cost of your prescriptions -- paid by Aetna plus what you paid -- hits $2,830 for 2010. Theoretically, you can get out of the donut hole before the year is out, but it's not likely. Once you're in the donut hole, you pay 100% of the costs for brand-name drugs. Your $5 and $10 co-pays stay the same before and after you hit the donut hole.

John hit the donut hole in May. It can be up to three months from the time you hit the donut hole before you get your $250 check. The $250 is about what one prescription costs Harry and John once you're in the donut hole.

Click on the headline for a previous story on the $250 payments.

What about you? Have you gotten your $250 donut-hole check yet? Email details to John Olesky at


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yahoo Style Guide without paste pot, pica pole

Has the dog-eared AP style book gone the way of the paste pot, and  pica pole?

Yahoo Inc.recently published the Yahoo Style Guide, proclaiming it “the ultimate surcebook for writing, editing and creating content for the digital world.”

The Yahoo Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World is 528 pages. It is published by St. Martin’s Griffin and costs $21.99.

Click on the headline to read all about it in the Coloumbia Journalism Review.  

Ayers goal: Cascade mill sculpture

Former Beacon Journal artist Chuck Ayers, who draws the "Crankshaft" comic strip, is involved in creating a sculpture for a plaza next to the Ohio & Erie Canal in the Cascade Locks Park at Howard and West North streets.

The project, scheduled for completion by late November, is on the site of cereal magnate Ferdinand Schumacher's 35-foot in diameter water wheel.

Click on the headline to see Bob  Downing's story.

Reunion in Michigan

My daughter LaQuita and I spent 4 days visiting my friend since first grade in Monongah, West Virginia at his Grand Lake, Michigan home where we golfed, cruised on his boat and ate at Alpena and Rogers City restaurants. If you're interested, click on the headline to see the photos.

Where have YOU been lately? We'd like to know, with photos that show you and your family at your travel destinations. Or tell us about family or BJ alums' events -- births, deaths, weddings, anniversaries, etc. Email details and photos to John Olesky at


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Six attend BJ Lunch: Count 'em

Carl  Nelson, Gene McClellan and Al Hunsicker

Harry Liggett, Tom Moore and Cal Deshong

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Michelle nails Dr. Ink

Former BJ Features Editor Michelle LeComte, who died Tuesday in Maryland after a three-year battle with cancer, was a stickler for accuracy. In Googling for information about her, I came across this 2001 post on Poynter.com's Dr. Ink:

Hey, Doc: How about using the word "disinterested" properly? It does not mean you’re not interested. What are we teaching young wordsmiths about the language?

Signed a curmudgeon.
Michelle LeComte
The Gazette
Gaithersburg, Md.

Answer: Dr. Ink will hold his nose and gulp down the bitter medicine of correction offered.

Dis*in"ter*est*ed, a. [Cf. Disinteressed.] Not influenced by regard to personal interest or advantage; free from selfish motive; having no relation of interest or feeling; not biased or prejudiced; as, a disinterested decision or judge. The happiness of disinterested sacrifices. Channing. Syn.
-- Unbiased; impartial; uninterested; indifferent.

Un*in"ter*est*ed a. 1. Not interested; not having any interest or property in; having nothing at stake; as, to be uninterested in any business. 2. Not having the mind or the passions engaged; as, uninterested in a discourse or narration.

As it turned out, it was Dr. Ink's editor's goof, using the second definition of "indifferent" in a play on a word.

Nevertheless, nailed by Michelle.

Click on the headline to read the Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Journal's report of Michelle's death.

Clark Hoyt joins Bloomberg News

Pulitzer Prize winner and former Knight-Ridder Washington bureau chief Clark Hoyt, 67, after three years as public editor/ombudsman of the New York Times, will beef up and improve Bloomberg News’ Washington
bureau, which already is three times larger than the New York Times’ bureau there. Hoyt will report directly to editor-in-chief Matthew A. Winkler.

Columbia University graduate Hoyt’s career includes the Lakeland, Florida Ledger, Wichita, Kansas Eagle-Beacon, Detroit Free Press, Miami Herald Washington correspondent, Knight Ridder national correspondent, Washington bureau news editor and KR vice president/news and McClatchy consultant after it bought KRI.

Hoyt and Robert S. Boyd shared a 1973 Pulitzer for their articles on Democratic vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton's depression that included electro-shock therapy.

Click on the headline for Clark's farewell column in New York Times.

Click on Hoyt’s biography when he went to the New York Times in 2007 and a 58-minute, fascinating C-SPAN interview after he left the NY Times.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Rosenberg loses lawsuit

Former Beacon Journal classical music critic Donald Rosenberg lost his lawsuit against the Plain Dealer over removing him from its classical musical beat.

The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury on Friday rejected the lawsuit brought by Rosenberg against the PD and Cleveland Orchestra management after being reassigned over complaints of negative reviews of Franz Welser-Möst, the orchestra’s music director.

Said Rosenberg: “I stood up for what I believed. I don’t regret a moment of it.”

The trial lasted four weeks.

Click on the headline for the New York Times article on the outcome.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

More out than in for Social Security again

Social Security will pay more out than it takes in this year and in 2011, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. The causes:

1. With 9.5% unemployment, fewer Americans are paying into Social Security.

2. Nearly half the baby boomers are retiring early instead at age 66.

The outgo exceeded the income for 13 years through 1983. Same problem: The economy.

But health care reform extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund from 2017 to 2029, Geithner and Sebellius said.

Click on the headline to read the CNN article.

Golden Age of Journalism?

While employment in newspaper publishing (26%), magazines (16%) and radio and TV (11%) are down for the past three years, journalists employed is up 19%. The article by Michael Mandel ("Mandel on Innovation and Growth") says reporters are doing well -- not so much editors.

The probable causes: Self-employment, non-traditional industries (Internet plays a major role) and lower pay.

Concludes Mandel: "So . . . a Golden Age of Journalism . . . it may not pay as much, but it’s going to be a heck of a lot of fun!"

BJ retiree Marvin Katz tipped off BJ Alums to the article. Click on the headline to read the full story.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

PD rests case in Rosenberg lawsuit

The Plain Dealer rested its defense today in the lawsuit filed by former classical
music critic Donald Rosenberg against the paper. Attorneys for Rosenberg, once the Beacon Journal's classical music critic, and the PD and the Musical Arts Association will make their closing arguments before turning it over to the jury.

The PD removed Rosenberg from the beat after MAA and others complained about Rosenberg's reviews of the Cleveland Orchestra.

The trial is in its fourth week.

Click on the headline to read the latest story on the case.

Patton's son recovering from a beating

Retired Beacon Journal Sidebar editor Elizabeth Patton's son Mike is recovering, slowly but steadily, from a beating he got July 16 from an intruder at the Dallas, Georgia CVS Pharmacy where Mike is the manager.

Let Elizabeth, who lives in Blairsville, Georgia, about two hours from Dallas, tell it:

Mike is the manager of the CVS store in Dallas, GA. On Friday July 16th the store was doing inventory, which means there were 4 other managers and the inventory company all on hand.

Mike had noticed a man just wandering around and kept his eye on him. Next thing you know, the man was sitting down in the middle of the aisle. Mike approached him and told him he couldn’t just sit on the floor and he should leave. The guy responded, “Do what you gotta do,” so Mike headed for his office to call the police.

Then his staff told him the guy left the store and they watched him walk away for a while to make sure he was gone. About 10 minutes later Mike was standing in the main aisle with his back to the front door when the guy came running in and cold-cocked him right behind his right ear, knocking Mike unconscious immediately and he fell to the floor, where like a pumpkin (I’ve seen the video), his head was cracked open.

The guy kept hitting Mike until one of his employees, a 6-4, 220-pound kid, tackled the guy and pulled him off Mike and the other 4 managers surrounded him till the police came.

Mike suffered 22 stitches to his head, a severe concussion, separated shoulder and the store lost more than $2,000 in product which was damaged by Mike’s blood. It was quite harrowing.

I headed to Hiram, Georgia (Mike’s home) immediately and spent 18 days taking care of him, driving to medical appointments and such.

He has improved each day and we are hoping for a complete recovery, but it could take as long as 6 months according to the neurologist.

This happened at 12:30 on a sunny afternoon when all was going well -- until that happened.

My daughter, Cindy, the attorney, found out that the fellow is a frequent visitor to jails in Cobb County and Paulding County and is still in jail. As I drove the 2 hours from my home to Hiram, all I could do was thank the Lord the guy didn’t come back with a gun.

That’s how I spent my summer!!

-- Elizabeth

In an earlier email today, Betty wrote:

Family, Mike and I went to the neurologist yesterday and he got good news! The MRI’s were ok, the EEG was ok and the VNG (dizzy test) was ok. Sooo, I came back home to Blairsville confident that he will get back to normal, although it may take as long as six months till the post-concussion syndrome subsides completely. He still has “dizziness” at times and trouble sleeping at night, but the Dr. said that is entirely normal for his condition.

He is going to “try” to go back to work next Tuesday and see how it goes. Good thing about being the Manager, his hours are flexible. He drove his truck for the first time today and he said it went well.

Thanks for all your prayers, I am sure they helped him in his recovery.

-- E

You can email Betty at empatton@windstream.net

Michelle LeComte dies

Former Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Gazette deputy editor Michelle LeComte, 58, died Tuesday after a three-year battle with cancer. Michelle a few decades ago was enterprise and features editor for the Beacon Journal.

Another former BJ staffer, Georgia MacDonald, former Gazette commentary editor who spent two decades
with Michelle at the now-defunct Journal newspapers in the Greater D.C. area, said: "She was a tough editor but reporters loved her. . . If they cared about journalism, they cared about Michelle." Michelle, who began her Gazette career in 1999, oversaw regional desk reporters in Gaithersburg and Annapolis.

Georgia is married to another former BJ editor, John MacDonald, who worked on the BJ State Desk in the 1970s under its editor, Pat Englehart, before the MacDonalds switched their journalism talents to the D.C. area.

In her "Jane Snow Cooks" book published by the University of Akron Press, Jane's acknowledgements include Michelle for her “patience, encouragement and advice.”

The funeral arrangement was private.

Click on the headline to read the Gaithersburg Gazette article about Michelle's career and death.

Georgia MacDonald emailed a clarification of her years with Michelle:


Just saw the item you wrote up on Michelle LeComte. Need to point out an error in this sentence:

"Another former BJ staffer, Georgia MacDonald, former Gazette commentary editor who spent two decades with Michelle at the now-defunct Journal newspapers in the Greater D.C. area, said:..."

Actually, we had known each other for about 20 years, since we worked together at the Journal newspapers. Neither of us worked for the Journals for two decades. I think I was at the Journals for about 4 years before Michelle took off for Akron.

She later returned to Maryland. By that time I had been at the Gazettes for about 5-6 years. I introduced her to my boss; he was impressed and eventually hired her.

Hope you can make a change in the blog. Do enjoy reading it and keeping up with the comings and goings of folks.


Georgia MacDonald

Pam McCarthy is a Grandma

Jackson Marvin Stevens made former BJ staffer and retired Hoover High School teacher Pam
McCarthy a grandmother for the first time on Aug. 2. His mother is Bethany Marvin Stevens, a Los Angeles attorney and Pam's daughter. The new dad is Andy Stevens.

Beth’s father is former BJ photographer Tom Marvin, who lives on a Guernsey County farm with wife Kay in southern Ohio. Tom and Kay both retired from the same school district in that area.

Click on the headline for photos of Jackson and mother Beth on Pam’s Facebook page.

What about YOU? Travel or personal events? We'd like to know, with photos of you and your family. Including at your travel destinations. Email details and photos to John Olesky at


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"The Rosenberg problem"

Former Plain Dealer executive editor Doug Clifton testified that he turned "the Rosenberg problem" over to Susan Goldberg, his successor when Clifton retired in 2007.

Rosenberg was removed from the Cleveland Orchestra beat in 2008 over his reviews of orchestra conductor Franz Welser-Mosthad. Don filed a lawsuit that year. He had been covering the orchestra for decades, at the BJ and later at the PD, and authored books about the orchestra.

Assistant Managing Editor Deborah Van Tassel, a former editor at the BJ, also testified.

The trial is in its fourth week.

Click on the headline to read the Plain Dealer story on today's trial events.

Big Brother is here in a big way

It may a long way past 1984, but Big Brother is watching you -- and we're not talking about the government.

EVERY time you go online and click on a piece of merchandise, or just pass your mouse over it, trackers are, well, keeping track of it. Thousands of times during your one perusing of the Internet, in some cases. If you look for one blue and one red sock, it shouldn't surprise you that you get emails for businesses that sell one blue and one red sock. I've been checking flight fares to New Orleans because Paula and I will be going to the West Virginia-LSU football game in September. I get emails EVERY day about flights to New Orleans from Akron, Pittsburgh and Cleveland -- some even list the dates we will be leaving and returning!

The Wall Street Journal has been doing a series on it. And CNN did a piece on the Wall Street Journal investigation.

Click on the headline to watch and listen to the CNN segment with a Wall Street Journal reporter.

Go to the Wall Street Journal article

Pete Geiger on father & son Billingtons

Pete Geiger, during his time in the Beacon Journal newsroom, probably knew the powerful religion leaders of the Akron area better than any other reporters. Pete was religion writer for a good while, but he did more than just provide listings of church events. He got into the heart and, appropriately, soul of the situation.

When Dr. Charles Franklin Billington, son of the Akron Baptist Temple's enormously successful, if you go by attendance numbers, Dr. Dallas Billington, died July 31, I asked Pete, who lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with wife Sandy, for his recollections of the pair. Here is his email:


Thanks for the invite.

Trouble is, I knew Chuck Billington best at the time when he dwelt in his father's big (physical and psychological) shadow. That was before he took over the pulpit. The old man was what used to be called a jack-leg preacher, lacking formal seminary education or ordination. But Dallas Billington (the elder) made up abundantly in charisma and obsessiveness; no one could contradict him, not even -- as it turned out -- (BJ publisher) Ben Maidenburg (but that's another story).

So when Chuck took over at the Karnival in Kenmore that was Akron Baptist Temple at the time, he was faced with several dilemmas. Perhaps most important was the foregone conclusion that he would do so. He had to contend with being a pastor rather than a flying missionary. He was always a good preacher, but a pastor needs glad-hander skills that Chuck didn't have in abundance; at least never to the degree that the old man did.

Second was the need to re-build the two-year-old sanctuary that burned down. The insurance didn't fully cover the loss, he told me, so he had to launch a second fund drive with a congregation that had already emptied its pockets for the previous building.

Third, perhaps, was to morph what had been "America's largest Sunday School" into a true worshipping congregation. The SS phenomenon is a bit hard to understand for most church-goers for whom Sunday School is an adjunct. But the independent Bible Baptist movement, of which ABT was a part, was always big on Sunday School, sometime much more so than traditional church worship.

That fit old Dallas' style well. He was a tire-builder up from the hills and hollers of Kentucky who started a Sunday School in Reimer Elementary School's building on Manchester Road, just south of the present church. Thousands would hop on ABT's fleet of buses and ride to Sunday School each week, then hop back on and ride home, skipping church.

All these and many other burdens fell on the shoulders of a preacher's kid who was brainier than his old man, more adept and -- perhaps typically -- a bit of a rebel. He used to chase around Akron in an Oldsmobile with one of the original FuzzBusters on the dashboard. Wasn't that a scofflaw gesture, I asked him. He replied that he loved to drive fast and often had to in order to meet his hectic schedule but, as Dallas Billington's son, he couldn't afford to get a ticket. He got some, anyway, despite the fact that he had cops in his congregation.

To his credit, he never fell into his dad's habit of holding a grudge. Old Dallas, for example, never forgave Rex Humbard for invading what he considered his stake. On one occasion, the Akron Youth Action Committee, a group of black kids, persuaded my wife, Sandy, to go with one of their number as an inter-racial couple to church at ABT to see how they would be received. As it turned out, of course, the two entered a sparsely-populated sanctuary. They should have gone for Sunday School.

Dallas thought he perceived my hand in the exercise and berated me for it; Charles told me privately that he thought it was a worthwhile thing to do.

"It was a good challenge for our people," he said.

I liked both father and son: the old man because of his garrulous, hard-charging style and the son because he genuinely seemed interested in befriending me. I'm sorry he ended his life with Alzheimer's (as did my dad) and I'm sorry he's gone. Akron is the poorer for his passing.

-- Pete

Click on headline to read the BJ report on the death of Dr. Charles Billington Sr. His father and son both are named Dallas Billington.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Janis Froelich has reunion with BJ friends

Former BJ staffer Janis Froelich, author of a book about the 1974 murder of her friend, Linda McLain, ran into former BJ friends at her round of area book-signings. But let her tell it:

For my Ohio book signings, I saw Ott Gangl, the retired photographer, at the Ellet library. Ott graciously supplied me with a few photographs for my book, "My Life Looking Back at a Murder. A Disparate Story About the 57th PGA Championship at Firestone Country Club."

For my Hudson book-signing, I had the strange experience of driving by my family home first and saw it was for sale. As if this wasn't shocking enough, the list price was $299,000. This is an old (1853) farmhouse right off Hudson's downtown Main street. My mother's side lived in this house for something like 70 years. But I believe our family left the residence in the late 1990s.

And the book signing went great. I saw and had lunch with Paula Slimak, a former The Plain Dealer reporter and my Kent State roommate at one time.

The Cleveland book signing? It was a dark and stormy night. Very scary driving up I-77. Not a soul in sight in the neighborhood of Tremont. But I loved this community.

And finally, Kent where I saw Joan Rice and Pat (Ravenscraft) Snyder, two BJ alums as well.

I have been married for 15 years to Ray Bassett, a well-known photographer in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has worked at and then owned Maddock Photography for almost 50 years. That's right, he is ancient -- just like I'm becoming.

Book sales are going good (release date was July 25th). The website at
janisfroelich.com is a wonderful way to get info out there.

It was fun to see my book listed on Amazon UK (hope the Brits like it). I have more book activities in Florida and then on to South Carolina, Ohio and Michigan this fall.

I don't write for newspapers any longer. I did that for 40-plus years and like new experiences. I mostly babysit two granddaughters, Halle, 9, and Clare, 6. Larry Froelich, another BJ Alum, is my ex-husband and the proud grandfather of these two.

Joan Rice looks terrific. And she still drinks Coke.

Thanks John for your interest. I know how well-read the BJ Alums is. You and Harry are doing a great job.


Janis D. Froelich
Tierra Verde, Fl
Cell (727)458-7177
Fax (727) 323-0850


Click on the headline for the original story about Janis' new book.

After checking this posting for accuracy, Janis emailed some interesting thoughts:

Thanks for your support. It's not easy for me to think, write, talk about this case. But I believe media has done something good in publicizing these domestic violence cases through the years.

I really enjoyed my time in Ohio. It reminded me of how warm and caring my hometown buddies always were.

See, I'm sentimental in my declining years.

Take care.


After unsuccessfully trying to identify all the people in the photo above, I emailed Janis for help. She named them all:

From left: Joan Rice, Roberta Minges (Shirley's sister), Shirley Wittman (good friend for 50 years), Janis Froelich and Helen Surbey (my sister). Photo by Mitch Karam (Roberta's friend). All live in the Akron area, except me.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Top insiders buy 4 Ohio newspapers

A federal bankruptcy court judge approved the $26 million sale of Ohio-based newspaper chain Brown Publishing Co. to company insiders led by current President and Chief Executive Roy Brown.

Ohio newspapers affected are the 8,465 circulation Delaware Gazette in central Ohio, and the 10,513 circulation Piqua Daily Call, the 9,277 circulation Troy Daily News and the 7,300 circulation Wilmington News Journal in Ohio's southwest quadrant. In a separate decision, the bankruptcy judge approved the purchase of the 5,500 circulation Van Wert Times Bulletin and the 3,000 circulation Ada Herald in western Ohio for $3.6 million to the 3,682 circulation Delphos Herald.

Brown Media Holdings Co. and Brown Publishing Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in May. Newspapers in 10 states were affected.

Click on the headline for the Associated Press story in Editor & Publisher magazine.