Monday, October 31, 2011

Bill Dillon plays first game in 30 years

Roy Hobbs Baseball

“God put me here to help people and maybe make a better place for everybody.”

That’s William Michael Dillon’s outlook on life today, despite spending more than 27 years of his life in jail before finally being exonerated and set free in November of 2008.

You would think that someone in his shoes would be bitter and sour on life … but not Bill.

He looks on his release as giving him a brand new start and hopefully help others
“like a baby born in a new world.”

And his new start includes getting back to his love of baseball.

When he was 20, he had the prospect of a career in the Detroit Tigers organization as a pitcher. Then his world fell in and he was arrested for the stabbing death of a man in a park in Broward County, Florida.

He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

This week he is playing competitive baseball for the first time in 30 years as a member of the Tallahassee Bombers in the Masters Division of the Roy Hobbs World Series.

Gary Yordon, who along with Chip Campbell and Scott Hamilton organizes the Bombers, produces a syndicated political talk show, “Usual Suspects,” in Tallahassee, and he invited Bill to be a guest and to tell his story.

When Bill talked about loving baseball on the show, Yordon was struck with the idea that perhaps Bill, now 52, could play with the Bombers, a veteran Roy Hobbs team in the 48+ division.

Gary and Bill became friends and when visiting Bill’s family, Gary recalls Bill’s father talking about what a good ball player Bill was and about Bill’s love of baseball.

Gary went to his teammates and pitched the idea of Bill joining the Bombers. It was unanimous and Gary was tasked with inviting Bill to become a Bomber.

“I asked if he would be interested in playing ball again in a structured league with all the trimmings of the real thing as a member of our team,” Gary said. “He said it would be ‘unbelievable’.

“He was like a 9-year-old,” Gary said, “calling me about details, including if he had a right shade of gray on his pants.”

So you’ll see him this week wearing No. 27 for the Bombers. He played his first game Sunday and was 0-for-3 with 3 ground balls, hitting into a double play in his first at bat. And the Bombers lost to the Maine Indians 5-2. But the bad start hasn’t fazed him one bit.

“I love baseball,” he said.

Bill’s first baseball game since 1981 Sunday was played in Lee County Stadium and was accompanied by pre- and post-game interviews, cameras and video-taping by independent producers who are building a program about him and his experiences for ESPN, CNN, CBS and others.

“The Bombers are about family,” Gary said before the game. “This is amateur baseball and our dugout is like a family. We thought this was the right thing to do.”

And, as for Bill’s first game performance, “He told me he doesn’t remember his first time at bat – he was just numb,” Gary said.

Bill is a songwriter and country singer and is usually booked to perform or talk about his experience most of the year. In fact, he cancelled one such gig to play ball.

He has a professionally produced CD containing songs he wrote while in prison. It’s called Black Robes and Lawyers, and his favorite is the last song, Brand New Start, which he feels he now has. Bill is unabashedly a country singer, and according to Roy Hobbs resident music expert (and umpire assignor) Bob Spangler … “Yeah, this is kinda dark but with hope. I really sense some David Allan Coe influence here, as well as some reggae. I am enjoying listening to this.”

The title cut starts … “My name is William Michael Dillon. I was arrested for murder on August 26, 1981 for a crime I didn’t commit. I was released November 18, 2008. Thank you for the keepers of justice … ”

Baseball was never far from his thoughts in prison. “Yes, I thought about playing baseball all the time,” he said, “usually before I fell asleep each night I would think about what might have been.

“My life has been a lot about never giving up on your dreams,” he said. And there is a song on his CD, Chasing a Dream, in reference to his dreams of justice and freedom.

Bill was cleared by DNA evidence, perjury by a witness and when the owner of a dog that linked his scent to a piece of evidence was discredited. Three other cases involving the dog were also dismissed and the suspects set free ahead of Bill.

Bill says this year 4 suspects have been arrested and charged with the crime he was sent to prison for. They haven’t gone to trial yet and Bill thinks it’s because no agreement has been reached for his compensation.

“But no amount of money can pay for the years I’ve lost.” He said.

Bill’s life is looking up. He lives with a girlfriend in North Carolina. They met in Houston while attending a conference to help people unlawfully jailed.

Bill has founded an organization “The William Dillon Freedom Foundation” dedicated to such efforts.

His father had hoped to see his son play in the Series, but his mother had eye surgery so Dad couldn’t be here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tom-Toms beating drums again

BJ newsroom retiree Tom Moore, 80, Facebooks this:

"Back in fla. for the roy hobbs world series. We have 212 teams this year."

This will be Richmond, Virginia native Tom Moore's eighth year of providing daily
accounts for the baseball tournament run by former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen. It's the 23rd year for the tournament named after the Robert Redford character in "The Natural" movie.

The teams are placed in divisions according to age, 28 to 80.

Giffen uses the spring training facilities of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Florida. An 18-wheeler took Giffen's office from Akron-Peninsula Road to Ft. Myers.

The event brings $9 million into the Fort Myers economy.

Giffen in 1990 formed a four-team league of adult men playing out of Akron. The next year the league grew to 11 teams and joined Roy Hobbs Baseball, which was owned by Ron Monks of California. In 1992 Monks sold Roy Hobbs Baseball to Giffen and his wife, Ellen.

Giffen, 62, does this despite having leukemia (in remission), hips replaced and a stent for his heart problem.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Al Fitzpatrick: A Summa Health Care actor

Watch closly and you will spot former BJ executive editor Al Fitzpatrick. Thanks to Ann Sheldon Mezger who posted it on facebook for us to grab

Beating Aetna at its own game

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Last year I hit the donut hole for prescriptions in May.

This year it's nearly November and I'm still $654.96 short of hitting the donut hole, which kicks in this year at $2,840.

How did I do it with the same prescriptions in both years?

I switched from getting my prescriptions through Aetna to getting them at a local pharmacy -- in my case, Walgreen's. And, when I hit the donut hole last year, I switched my brand name prescriptions to Canada.

How did this save me so much money?

Well, the brand name prescriptions through Canada were one-third to half the cost of getting them through Aetna. I also made sure that I stocked up on prescriptions by getting all my brand name refills in December 2010. I saved nearly $2,000 last year by going to Canada once I hit the donut hole.

So how did switching to a local pharmacy save money?

Aetna's charges for prescriptions are higher than what local pharmacies charge. In effect, Aetna is charging itself the higher price if you use Aetna mailed prescriptions. Although Aetna has a lower per-pill rate for 90-day prescriptions, the savings is more than offset by Aetna over-charging itself. That puts you in the donut hole sooner, and then Aetna collects 100% (in 2010, 50% in 2011) of the value it put on the prescriptions.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tom Moore's memories of parking deck

By Tom Moore
Hey, we write about our memories of a colleague when he/she is no longer with us.
So why not a parking deck that’s seen so many great journalist (and some who just thought they were) drive in and park their cars.

I first became acquainted with a parking space there when I was named wire editor. Since I had to be in at 4 or 4:30 a.m. I needed a near by and safe place.
Otherwise, I’d probably not have gotten a space since the only vacancies at that time came about when somebody left…retired or died.

I wound up on the roof which could be a hassle in winter, especially with snow.
The boys who did the clearing usually piled most of the snow about my car since it was one of the first in.

But I survived and enjoyed having to only walk down a couple of flights and all under cover.

I eventually wound up with a space on the fourth floor and that was nice. Except for one Saturday night when I got ready to leave about 1 p.m. Started up the car and the red heat light immediately came on. I pulled into a space on the 3rd floor by the entrance and checked under the hood. Now I know little about mechanics, but this was one problem that stood out.

Somebody had stolen my radiator hose!

I went back to the newsroom and fortunately the managing editor, Scott Bosley, was still around. (He was one of those ME that took his job very seriously and stuck around all hours or the night and day.)

He couldn’t help chuckling a bit but we let the car sit there and he took me home.
The next morning, with a new hose, my neighbor and I replaced it and I drove out.
You had to be a bit on your guard when driving in the old deck. I almost had two collisions on one of the ramps…one time with Bob Henretty and the other time with Ben Maidenburg!

And you didn’t park in the first slot on the fourth floor. That was Jack Knight's.

And for those who happened to park in one of the printer’s reserved spot, they better have a scrapper with them. Somebody would take a pot of that old sticky glue we used and a couple newspaper sheets and cover their windshields.

Ah yes, another memory of days gone by and another sign of the shrinking at what was once a premiere site in Akron.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Few papers show Gadhafi's dead body

Few U. S. newspapers show dead body of Gadhafi. Many international papers show the body.

See article.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week in Canadian Rockies wonderland

Paula and I just returned from a week in the winter wonderland of the Canadian Rockies. We flew into Calgary and drove a rental car 1,500 miles across the continental divide and walked on a glacier in the Columbia Icefields.

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

Next trips: Siesta Key (Sarasota), Florida Jan. 14-28 and Thailand and Cambodia Feb. 15-March 2.

If you have taken a trip lately, email the details and jpeg photos to John Olesky at

Retired BJ engraver Jim Dancy dies

James E. Dancy, Sr. May 8, 1932-Oct. 14, 2011

``Jimmy' was born May 8, 1932 to William and Mildred Dancy in Wadsworth, Ohio, the fifth of seven children.

Jimmy attended Wadsworth Public School, leaving to join the United States Navy,
where he received an honorable discharge.

Upon leaving the service, Jimmy married the late Betty J. Purdue, and their union produced three children. Jimmy later met and married Leona E. Valentine, whom he was wed until her passing.

During this marriage, Jimmy accepted Christ, was baptized May 3, 1987, and was a member of Bethel Baptist Church.

Jimmy retired from the Akron Beacon Journal after 26 years. He was a loyal employee who rarely missed work.

Jimmy was preceded in death by his parents; his wife (Leona); brothers, Charles and Emmitt Dancy; sisters, Leona Wise, Marian Simms, and Margret Leach; ex-wife and friend, Betty Dancy.

He is survived by sons, James E. Dancy Jr. of Akron, Ohio, Don A. (Traci) Dancy of Copley, Ohio; stepson, Leon P. Valentine of Cleveland, Ohio; daughter, Renee M. (Garland) Stokes of Akron, Ohio; grandchildren, Don, Deoco and Daisha Dancy, Garland ll (Duce), Danielle and Dionna Stokes; stepgrandchildren, Chonita Brown, Corey, Shalana and Gino Suggs; sister, Gloria P. Dancy of Akron Ohio; in-laws, Carrie, Eugene and Sylvester Valentine of Washington, D.C., Edna Howard of Akron, Ohio, Thomas Huffman and Mary Ann Powell of Barberton, Ohio; and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Funeral service will be Thursday, October 20, at 12 noon at the J.E. SCOTT FUNERAL HOME, 1158 S. Arlington St., Akron, Ohio 44306. Friends may visit from 11 a.m. until time of service, Pastor Dr. David Ford officiating. Procession will form and condolences may be sent to 519 S. Hawkins Ave., Akron, Ohio 44320. Interment at Lakewood Cemetery. (J.E. SCOTT FUNERAL HOME, 330-773-9210)
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Wednesday, October 19, 2011, page B4, col. 5]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Press Club to honor Bob Paynter

Former Beacon Journal and Plain Dealer investigative reporter Bob Paynter is among five who wll be inductd into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame by the Press Club of Cleveland. They will be honored at a dnner at 7 p.m. Friday, October 28, at LaCentre, 25777 Detroit Road, Westlake.

Bob was on the BJ team that won a 1994 Pulitzer prize for public service for its series, “A Question of Color,” about race in the Akron area.

Others to be honored are Tom Beres, Tom Feran, Phillip Morris and Kelly O'Donnell

Type “Paynter” in the search box to find other items on Paynter.

Dallas News to cut printing days in 3 years

Inland Press Association | Alan English

Mark Medici, vice president of audience for The Dallas Morning News, said Monday during a talk at the Inland Press Association conference in Chicago that the newspaper won’t print seven days a week in three years. Describing the News’ paid content strategy — the site’s paywall went up in March — Medici said, according to a live blog of the event, that the A.H. Belo-owned newspaper has seen a massive uptick in Sunday subscribers, “which is fine because we know in three years we won’t have a seven-day paper.” Sunday subscribers get full access to the website. (Thanks to Alan English, executive editor of The Augusta Chronicle, for alerting us via tweet). In March 2009, The Detroit Free Press (owned by Gannett) and The Detroit News (a MediaNews paper) started to deliver papers only three days a week — Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, when the papers have more ads and are popular with readers — although the papers are available every day on newsstands.

A goodbye email from the parking deck

Dear friends,

I know it has been quite a while since I’ve seen many of you, but I thought I’d drop a note to let you know that I’ll soon be joining the ranks of the retirees.

It’s not by choice, mind you, but there’s no denying that it’s time for me to go. I leave with little ego boost in knowing that the current management finds me wholly irreplaceable. I agonize for those whom I have had the humble pleasure of serving; no matter how often I was taken for granted, I still don’t wish upon these fine folks the hurdles and hassles that so many will face in my absence.

It didn’t have to be this way. I won’t point the blame at any particular person; suffice it to say that decisions were made over the last decade or so to allow me to fall into disgraceful disrepair. I don’t mean to do it, but I drop chunks of concrete left and right these days. I drip some weird white chemical substance, unintentionally marking the cars with stains to remember me by. I’m a decrepit old pile. I think we all know that folks like Jack Knight and Ben Maidenburg would be appalled to see me like this.

You might say that I’ve endured more physical stress than any Beacon employee ever had to, but the presses might disagree with me. I was happy to give you shelter, a somewhat safe place to stash your car. Dial it back a few decades and my disappearance wouldn’t be such a huge deal. Remember how plentiful downtown parking was in the 70s and 80s?

And through it all I remember everything. Yes, EVERYTHING. Countless Fran Murphey naps in her car. Fireworks and barbecues. I remember one couple even got engaged here. Then there were the sometimes brutal Northeast Ohio winters when the homeless huddled in my stairwells. There were fender benders and maybe even a few plain old benders. But I’m not going to dish on anyone (I hear some of you breathing a sigh of relief). I was happy to be both an exercise track and a smoking buddy. I had a great job, watching all of you coming and going. Keeping something secure for you in the meantime. In my own mind, I had a sign over my entrance along the lines of the famous Riviera Lanes placard, only mine said “Through these gates drive the world’s greatest newspaper people.”

On some level, I am certain that it is time to check out. Aw, heck, on EVERY one of my levels it is clear. I leave with the comfort of having realized the answer to the Shakespearean question. The answer for me is NOT 2B! Still I depart with fond memories of all of you.

Gosh, it’s been a real pleasure.


The Parking Deck

. . . And here's a video

And here's a Requiem video of the ole parking deck


Monday, October 17, 2011

See Grumpy Abe's take on PD editorial

You might want to ready Grumpy Abe's take on the Plain Dealer endorsement for State Issue 2. Go to Grumpy Abe, the blog of retired BJ political writer Abe Zaida

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is print media a thing of the past?

Is print becoming a thing of the past? I just got notice from Ignatius Press, a Catholic publisher, that they are moving all of their print media (several magazines) online.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BJ lunch: Time had come to talk of many things

Lunch bunch (from left) Gene McClellan, Al Hunsicker, Tom Moore and Carl Nelson

Rosetta Blanton and friend Lonie Thomas, joined the four regulars at the monthly BJ Retirees lunch at Pap Joe’s in Merriman Valley. She is the widow of BJ engraver Watson Blanton who died March 25, 2010,

She joined printers Al Hunsicker, Gene McClellan and Carl Nelson and news editor Tom Moore in discussing BJ topics.

Missing from the usual bunch was Cal Deshong, who will turn 93 next month. Calvin E. Deshong was born November 24, 1918 in Johnstown, PA. All agreed that they should send him birthday cards. And that led to a discussion of the cost of those musical cards and everything else. Moore had been sending him musical cards for a couple of years. Hunsicker said he liked one with an accordion that played a tune when you opened it up, but when he noticed the $8 price he shut off the music.

Moore had sent his cards from Florida where he is headed again Monday for another month of Hobbs Baseball working with Tom Giffen.

Somebody noted that it took the BJ a day to catch up on the obituary for former prosecutor James Barbuto who made lots of headlines a few years ago. Moore reminded printers that the classified obit crew had always sent up little green sheets on each obit to the morgue for checking to see if the person should rate a news story. Moore wondered if the morgue had been shut down.

Carl Nelson asked if anybody had been to the printers club lately. Nobody had. Nelson said the club is still open but the entrance on Exchange Street has been closed because of so many unsavory characters turning up.

And that’s a -30- for this month.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Dawidziak group to tell ghost stories in Falls

Largely Literary Theater Company co-founders Sara Showman and Mark Dawidziak will present a spirited program of ghost stories at the Cuyahoga Falls Library on Tuesday, Oct. 11. The 7 p.m. performance is free and open to the public.

The two-part Ghosts By the Tale presentation opens with Showman telling a romantic ghost tale and a not-so-romantic ghost tale – two looks at relationships from a supernatural point of view. The company’s managing director, Showman performs several storytelling programs, including Animal Tales and Holiday Stories with Mrs. Santa Claus, at area schools and libraries.

Dawidziak, the company’s artistic director, then will shift the spooky mood a bit with personal stories about spirits connected to Akron-area locations.

Specializing in faithful adaptations of great literary works, the Largely Literary Theater Company was founded in 2001 to promote literacy, literature and live theater. The troupe is best known for: Twain By Three, a two-act adaptation of humorous sketches by Mark Twain; The Tell-Tale Play, a two-act collection of poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe; and its three-person version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

The company recently performed Twain By Three as part of Massillon’s Big Read devoted to Mark Twain. In 2009, the troupe premiered its latest play, The Mystery of Dashiell Hammett, written for Hiram College’s Big Read program celebrating Hammett and The Maltese Falcon.

Showman performs “Eve’s Diary” and portrays other characters in Twain By Three. She plays 15 roles in A Christmas Carol, and performs “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Bells” and “Alone” in The Tell-Tale Play. She also performs various storytelling programs for grades K-2 and 3-5. She recently added a program for senior citizens titled Stories for the Ages, ideal for Red Hatters, senior church groups, clubs and civic organizations.

Dawidziak has been the television critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer since July 1999. During his fifteen years at the Akron Beacon Journal, he held such posts as TV columnist, movie critic and critic-at-large. Also an author and playwright, his many books include the 1994 horror novel Grave Secrets and two histories of landmark TV series: The Columbo Phile: A Casebook (1989) and The Night Stalker Companion (1997).

The author of The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula (2008), Dawidziak teaches the Vampires on Film and Television course at Kent State University. He edited and contributed essays to the 2006 collection Bloodlines: Richard Matheson’s Dracula, I A Legend, and Other Vampire Stories.

A recognized Mark Twain scholar, his acclaimed books on the author include Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing (1996) and Horton Foote’s The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain (2003).

His most recent book, a collaboration with Paul Bauer, is a biography of “hobo writer” Jim Tully, a forgotten author hailed as “America’s Gorky” and as a literary superstar in the ’20s and ’30s. Titled Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler, it was published this year the Kent State University Press with a foreword by Ken Burns.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Authors you know will be at Buckeye Book Fair

Nearly 100 Ohio authors and illustrators will be at the annual Buckeye Book Fair from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, in Wooster to sell and autograph their work.

Among them are three current and three former Beacon Journal staffers plus a couple of other names you will recognize–all hoping you will buy their book. We have a summary below, but you really should download a PDF file of the authors with photos. There are many more familiar names there.

The Book Fair is in Fisher Auditorium OSU/OARDC, 1680 Wales Ave., Wooster. It is the largest one-day literary event in Ohio. Its mission is to promote work by Ohio authors and to support literacy efforts in the state by providirig grants to schools, libraries, and literacy programs. Since inception as a nonprofit entity in 1987.the Buckeye Book Fair has awarded $196,491.96 in 247 grants.

The three Beacon Journal staffers are:

Lisa Abraham & Catherine St. John write about Famous Chefs and Fabulous Recipes: Lessons Learned at One of the Oldest Cooking Schools in America. The book by the BJ food editor and co-author contains recipes from all of them.
[Table 15]

Rick Amon His Ohio Breweries is a comprehensive guide to Ohio’s forty-nine regional breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs. He writes a brew column and a few other things for the BJ [Table 44]

Phil Trexler Cleveland Indians: Yesterday & Today gives you the inside scoop on the franchise’s storied history. He also has written Ballparks, Yesterday & Today. Phil and wife, Nancy, met in a concession line at Jacobs Field. He also is a BJ staff writer.
[Table 38]

The former BJ types are:

Regina Brett God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours. Regina is a columnist, writer, and radio host of the “The Regina Brett Show” on NPR. She will be giving a talk for the Book Fair audience at 20 p.m. on “Lesssons from the Detours of Life.” [Table 2]

Paul J. Bauer & Mark Dawidziak Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler compellingly describes Tully’s hardscrabble life. Dawidzak is the PD television critic. [Table 41]

Kymberli Hagelberg Wicked Akron: Tales of Rumrunners, Mobsters, and Other Rubber City Rogues explores Akron’s darker days. She was at the BJ for 16 years and is now, editor of the Fairlawn-Bath Patch. [Table 24]

Others you will recognize:

Dick Goddard & Vicki Stracensky Six Inches of Partly Cloudy, a grab-bag of personal stories, witty cartoons, fun facts, and essays about weather and pets, by Cleveland TV weather guy Dick Goddard. He’s been on the screen for 50 years.
[Table 2]

Jeff Iula & Bill Ignizio My Photographic Memory of the Soap Box Derby about the Soap Box Derby of course.
[Table 30]

Tom Wilson Jr. Collection of the best of his Ziggy comic panels 1971-2011.
[Table 1]]

Don Cockroft The 1980 Kardiac Kids: Our Untold Stories is the most complete and comprehensive account of this miracle season for the Browns. [Table 30]

See the Book Fair website which contains a map, floor plan, order form and other information.

Also click on the BJ authors label at left to read about other BJ authors who will not be at the book fair.

Evelyn Ruth Pantages dies, mother of BJ's Larry

Click here to read the full obituary.

Evelyn Ruth (Gretta) Pantages, mother of Beacon Journal business editor Larry Pantages, died Wednesday evening at the age of 81, of a heart and brain seizure complications.

A child of the Great Depression, she was the fifth of 11 children born to Adam and
Susan Gretta on Dec. 23, 1929, in Keisterville, Pa.

She married Frank William ``Billy" Pantages on May 30, 1953, and later gave birth to son Lawrence Adam and son Martin William. Perhaps her first adversarial encounter with life's mystery of faith as an adult came when Martin's twin sister Martha was born with a respiratory ailment and lived only one day.

She and Billy were married 57 years. They operated a tavern near the tire factories in Akron from the 1950s to the 1980s. Leo's Cafe, named after building owner Leo Sweet, was located on Seiberling Street (in the 1960s and '70s) and on East Market Street in a former Burger King restaurant (in the '80s). In between shifts of cooking, tending bar, cleaning and a wide assortment of duties, including making sure Larry and Marty got grape and cherry lollipops from the drive-in tellers at the Goodyear Bank, she found time to: -- raise two sons and be the doting ``Gram' with five grandchildren

She was preceded in death by her husband, Billy; infant daughter, Martha; her parents; and brothers, George, John, Frank, Melvin, Robert and James. She is survived by sisters, Helen (Kukasky), Alma (Manuszak) and Jeanne (Schewe); and brother, Richard; sons, Lawrence (Carvel) and Martin; grand-daughters, Celeste (Bradley) Wagner and Cassandra (Matthew) Brenn, and grandsons, Alexander, William and Nicholas.

Funeral service will be Monday at 10 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church, 550 E. Wilbeth Rd..width the Rev. John Eiwen officiating. Interment will be in East Akron Cemetery. The family will receive friends Sunday, 2 to 6 p.m. at the Anthony Funeral Home Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz Chapel, 1990 S. Main St., and Monday, 9 to 10 a.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. John Lutheran Church. Anthony, 330.724.1281

[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Saturday, October 8, 2011, page B5, col.2]]

George Condon, retired PD columnist, dies at 94

George E. Condon, retired Plain Dealer columnist, died Saturday, Oct. 7, in his sleep at Huntington Woods, Westlake. He was 94.

The writer, originally from Fall River, Mass., began his career at the Plain Dealer in 1943 as a general assignment reporter. He became the paper's first television and
radio critic in 1948. After 14 years on that beat he moved to the editorial page, where he wrote a daily column until his retirement in 1985.

Besides covering the city for The Plain Dealer, Condon wrote nine books, among them "Cleveland: the Best Kept Secret," a portrait in essays in 1967; "Laughter from the Rafters," a collection of columns in 1968; "Stars in the Water: the History of the Erie Canal," in 1974; and "Yesterday's Cleveland," a photographic history, in 1976.

Condon was a dogged reporter, an astute critic and a self-styled, proudly Irish philosopher. Above all, he was a graceful wordsmith. He knew the city and its people, from the mayors and civic philanthropists down to the bartenders and cops who walked a beat. His columns were both witty and wise.)

When Condon was a boy, his family lived in a powder blue up-and-down double house on West 32nd Street.

Condon's parents immigrated from Ireland. His father was a foreman at a textile mill in Fall River. After they moved to Cleveland, his mother was a maid at the Clevelander hotel downtown. Condon attended St. Patrick Catholic School and West Technical High School. After graduating, he majored in journalism at Ohio State University. It was there he met his future bride, Marjorie Philona Smith. They married in 1942 and moved to Cleveland the following year, when Condon joined The Plain Dealer.

The couple had seven children in 15 years. Condon outlived two of them. His wife, Marjorie Condon, a teacher in the Cleveland public school system for 20 years, died in March of 2001.

Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Monday T St. Angela Merici Catholic Church, 20970 Lorain Rd., Fairview Park. Arrangements: Chambers Funeral Home, Cleveland.

Click here to read full obituary on

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Dictionary of 100 often misspelled words

Here's a Dictionary of 100 often misspelled words

Robbie Stillman dies; BJ on her busy resume

Robbie Stillman was born July 9, 1931 and passed away October 4, 2011.

She graduated from Old Trail School, Briarcliff College and The University of Akron
where she was affiliated with Delta Gamma Sorority.

Following college commencement she went to New York City where she worked as a gal Friday for Tex and Jinx McCrary when they were at their height in TV and Radio in Manhattan.

She eventually returned to Akron and hosted her own TV program ``Social Whirl' on WAKR-TV for three years. The half-hour daily show was sponsored by the First National Bank of Akron, now First Merit.

A career change found her next as Director of Public Relations for the local Red Cross Chapter where she stayed for a number of years.

A surprise call from Briarcliff College had her returning to the Westchester Campus as Dean of Students for two years.

The pull of New York City was always present, however, and in 1962 Robbie returned to New York where she worked for Merv Griffin on the first four years of Jeopardy! interviewing prospective participants.

With her sister Cindy who came from San Francisco, she went back to her home town to care for ill parents. Following their deaths, she worked for National City Bank and, ultimately, Akron General Medical Center where she was Director of Public Relations and finally Director of Volunteer Services. She was with AGMC for 23 years.

She always said she loved every job she had in a career that featured diverse interests. Interspersed were stints through the years of working for the Akron Beacon Journal.

Robbie's volunteer service started with AGMC as a member of the Women's Board and included time spent with the Akron Press Club, where she was a 30-year member. In recent years she volunteered at the Akron Boys and Girls Club.

She was especially proud of having served for 10 years as a member of the National Commission that established the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and serving as chair of the two sustaining fund drives for Blossom Music Center.

Robbie could often be seen walking her beloved dog. At one time she had taken in a stray who gave her 10 puppies, two of which she kept. The three were followed by a Humane Society part-shepherd-part hound.. Shep...who was her constant companion until his death.

Many thanks to the ladies who cared for Robbie with compassion and understanding and to Barbara Christe, her Hospice nurse, who guided and supported Robbie through her illness.

She leaves her sister Cindy, residing in upstate New York and her many friends, particularly the class of '49 at Old Trail School.

There will be a graveside service for the family.

Those who wish to send condolences may write to Cindy Stillman at 3490 Lake St., Hector, NY 14850. Anyone wishing to make a gift in her name is asked to remember the Humane Society and the Boys and Girls Club of Akron. Private Services will be held at the Rose Hill Burial Park.
(Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel)
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Wednesday, October 5, 2011, age B5, col. 2

Robbie's cousin, Trinka Davis Rhyne, also had an amazing life including starting an Akron company. Click on the headline to see Trinka's 2006 obituary in the New York Times.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Patch work quilt rescues jettisoned journalists

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)
Where did the stampede of laid-off newspaper editors and reporters go? Look in the Patch. No, not Mrs. Wiggins' cabbage patch. The avalanche of local news web sites that has sprung up all over America, including the Beacon Journal's circulation area, under the national banner of Patch Inc.

AOL Inc. owns 837 Patch sites in more than 20 states and Washington, D.C.

I subscribe to Cuyahoga Falls Patch, since I lived there for 35 years before Paula and I sold our homes and bought a condo in Tallmadge. The editor is Dave Wilson, a victim of the 2006 Beacon massacre that trashed the careers of 40 editors and reporters. Ohio native Dave had been at the BJ for 18 years.

There the Ohio State graduate and former Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun News editor was, living in Cuyahoga Falls with a wife and two children and out on the streets, courtesy of Canadian David Black, who purchased the BJ from McClatchy, which bought it from Knight-Ridder and gave KRI CEO Tony Ridder $45 million as a going-away gift.

After the BJ, Dave, former deputy copy desk chief and deputy metro editor, and Cindy Robinson, a retail sales manager and local ad director from Mogadore, joined Ink Inc. in December 2009. It is a local high school sports web site focusing on Summit and Medina counties.

Dave also got involved with, an interactive publication for book fans.

Former Plain Dealer staffer Denise Ritter is listed as an editor for both the Cuyahoga Falls and Fairlawn-Bath Patch units. She also worked at the the San Jose Mercury News and the Miami Herald, once Knight-Ridder newspapers.

2005 Kent State graduate and North Canton resident Brandon Tidd is ad manager for Patch in Kent, Stow and North Canton and sells ads for the Cuyahoga Falls Patch.

Regional publisher Vince Ing, a Cuyahoga Falls resident who leads advertising sales initiatives for, spent a decade as general sales manager at Clear Channel Radio in Akron/Canton.

Randy Oing has been a professional photographer for six years.

Kent State graduate Jenny Fickey, a Falls Patch contributor, also is a product of Cuyahoga Falls' Immaculate Heart of Mary and Woodridge Schools.

Contributor Maggi Martin, a lifelong Lake County resident, has been a reporter for two decades. Her work has appeared in the Plain Dealer.

Contributor/editor Alana Baranick wrote news obituaries for the PD from 1992-2008.

Contributor Sarah Hollander joined the PD staff in 2000.

Peter Chakerian's bylines have appeared in the BJ and PD.

Former BJ staffer Kymberli Hagelberg, editor of the Fairlawn-Bath Patch, has 16 years of reporting experience and her work has appeared on National Public Radio.

Kymberli's staff includes former BJ editorial board member Sarah Vradenburg, who has been a journalist in Northeast Ohio for more than 30 years. Her history of Metro Parks Serving Summit County book is due out any day for the park's 90th anniversary.

Most of the people I've mentioned are listed on both the Cuyahoga Falls and Fairlawn-Bath Patch staffs.

I often see news articles in the Cuyahoga Falls Patch before the information appears in the BJ, sometimes by as much as two days. Traditional newspapers, after macheting staffs ingloriously, just don't have enough people to cover the everyday events of every town in their circulation area.

That's where the Patch staffs come in, with both stories, photos and videos. Patch found a niche and prospered from it.

AOL Inc. is making so much money that it bought Huffington Post for $315 million. That's about double what Black Press paid for the BJ.

Click on the headline for read more about the Cuyahoga Falls Patch staff.

How they played Knox acquittal

See screen shots of Amanda Knox acquittal courtesy of Poynter

Monday, October 03, 2011

WSJ print edition revenue increases

Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson points out in a staff memo that the print edition ad revenue increase occurred “while other national newspapers have reported distressing declines in advertising.” His note also mentions some new design tweaks that add more color throughout the paper. Thompson praises the Journal’s designers for “injecting vivacity while not making us a manga.” The memo, first posted by Joe Pompeo, is after the jump.

Dear All,

The newspaper has a new livery, complete with color-coded sections and stock and index tables with suddenly vivid personalities. We owe much thanks to the production and logistics teams, who have worked plant-by-plant to enable us to maximize the use of color across the country. Our designers, led by Tomaso Capuano, have fine-tuned our fonts and added subtle but meaningful pigments to the pages, injecting vivacity while not making us a manga.

Special thanks also to Robin Haynes, Tom Post, John Nichols, Heather “Shifty” Stephens, Randy Price and Bob Rosenthal, who did much of the behind-the-scenes toil necessary for such a significant change. Bill Power was the power in the land and Ann Podd was magisterial in liaising with the commercial squad and coordinating our lovably unruly team.

It’s worth noting that while other national newspapers have reported distressing declines in advertising, our print ad revenue in August was 24 per cent higher than the same month last year. Meanwhile, WSJ magazine on Saturday was full of gloss and class, and the Saturday edition itself has reached a standard of quality and originality unmatched elsewhere in the country.

The Wall Street Journal, in print and in digital, is flourishing. Thanks for helping to make it that way,