Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Warren Buffett buys his hometown newspaper

Warren Buffett bought his hometown newspaper on Wednesday. Not just one copy but the whole darn thing.

The billionaire investor's Berkshire Hathaway company announced that it has agreed to purchase the parent company of the Omaha World-Herald from its employee shareholders and the Peter Kiewit Foundation. According to the paper, the deal is expected to close in December, pending approval from the company’s shareholders.

In a statement, Buffett praised the paper as "one of the best-run newspapers in America" and stressed that its "editorial independence" will continue. The deal also includes other dailies owned by the Omaha World-Herald Company, including one in Iowa and a handful scattered throughout Nebraska. Berkshire already owns the Buffalo News and a sizeable chunk of the Washington Post.

See full story

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Governor Kasich does not read newspapers

Checking in with Scott Bosley

Hi John,

Good to hear from you. It sure looks like retirement is active and good for you.

We're settled in in Kalamazoo and liking the neighborhood, our new church and the community. And we're enjoying being near our daughter, Julie, who works nearby at
Kellogg's in Battle Creek. Our two grandchildren and son Jeff are in the Bay Area and he works in SF as a labor and employment lawyer. They got here last winter and we had a ice storm in their honor.

I don't have an email for Tom (Melody), though I did talk to him this summer after hearing that one of his younger brothers (a former HS football teammate of mine) passed away. Tom still lives in Norton.

Meanwhile, all best to you and Paula. Give a holler if your Michigan travels come near us. We'd love to have lunch and catch up. I hope the Mountaineers can get past South Florida without so much drama and that Cincinnati will kindly do what we need!


Scott was the BJ's managing editor, and the best ME that I had during my 43-year newspaper career.

Scott and wife Carol lived in Bethesda, Maryland, while he was executive director of the American Society of News Editors (1999-2009). Scott also was managing editor at the Detroit Free Press, editor of Knight Ridder Tribune Information Services, editor of The Journal of Commerce and publisher of the Post-Tribune in Gary, Ind.

Scott and Carol moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan after his retirement.

Scott and another BJ newsroom retiree, Tom Melody, are in the Keyser (West Virginia) High School Hall of Fame. Both are West Virginia University School of Journalism graduates. Tom and his wife still live in Norton.

Click on the headline to see the obituary for Tom's brother, Mike Melody, 68, who died in Keyser, West Virginia in April.

Steve Colbert reports on I-reporters

Monday, November 28, 2011

Warner writes about Connie Schultz's resignation from PD

Stuart Warner tells the inside story of Connie Schultz’s resignation from The Plain a piece in Cleveland Magazine.

See the article.

Composing retiree Leo Osmar dies

Leo V. “Vern” Osmar, 83, went home to be with the Lord on November 24, 2011. He was born in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Leo served with the US Army during the Korean conflict. He had retired from the
Akron Beacon Journal after many years of service. He was a member of St. Bernard-St. Mary Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus.

Leo and his wife, Theresa, spent many years running the coffee and doughnut hour after Sunday morning mass and also volunteered for many years at the Hot Meals Program at St. Bernard’s Church. He was also a member of the Patterson Park senior club.

Preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Emma Osmar; wife, Theresa; sisters, Lorelei Babich, Joy Young, and Terese Coleman; brothers, Clayton and Walter.

Survivors include sons, Ludlow (Leisa), Vincent, Michael (Pam), and John (Christina); daughters, Ann (Michael) Wintrow, Christine Bohn, Bertha (Blake) Thompson, and Susan (Frank) Jarvis; grandchildren, Joshua, Clayton, Amber Osmar, Megan (Zach) Kalil, Marisa (Justin) Jones, Richard Bohn, Christina and Cynthia Thompson, Theresa Sue and Frank Jarvis, II, and Alexander Osmar; and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be Tuesday, 4-8 p.m., at NEWCOMER FUNERAL HOME, 131 N. Canton Rd., Akron. A prayer service will be held Wednesday, 9:45 a.m. at the funeral home, followed by a funeral mass at 10:30 a.m. at St. Bernard-St. Mary Catholic Church, 44 University Ave., Akron.

Inurnment will take place at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Bernard’s Hot Meals Program.

Leo's wife, Theresa Ann Osmar, 78, died Nov. 16, 2010. Leo and Theresa were born in Saulte St. Marie, Michigan.

Click on the headline for Newcomer Funeral Home's information about Leo.

Sign a guest book at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The old girl was just too tired

“The old girl was just too tired to continue,” said Mike Dean, the Beacon Journal’s building and facilities manager.

Demolition of the Beacon Journal parking deck got under way October 31 and should be finished by mid-December. Demolition will cost about $60,000.

The parking deck probably will produce up to 800 tons of steel and about 3,640 tons of concrete, The steel beams will be sold to a steel manufacturer to be melted and turned into new steel. The concrete is being hauled to Eslich’s crushing facility at the former site of General Tire near Brittain Road in East Akron, he said. The crushed concrete is used as a base for buildings and new roads, he said.

When the demolition is done, the two ground-level parking areas of the deck will remain with 60 parking spaces, Dean said.

The 10-level, 381-space parking deck at Cedar and South High streets opened in August 1959 The parking deck cost $600,000 to build. That is equal to about $4.5 million today.

The company also has more than 100 parking spaces north of the main office building at High and East Exchange streets, at its Erie warehouse on South Broadway and on Wheeler Alley next to its production building.

Although the company has 411 staffers, its 169 permanent parking spaces are sufficient because Beacon Journal employees work different shifts

Photo by Beacon Journal photographer Paul Tople

See the story
by Bob Downing

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BJ Thanksgiving paper to weigh over 4 pounds

The Beacon Journal Thanksgiving Day edition will weigh more than 4 pounds--about three pounds coming from two insert packages.

The holiday historically is the largest single circulation day for papers, in large part because they come full of pre-printed, Black Friday shopping-related advertising inserts.

This year’s Akron Beacon Journal, for instance, will weigh more than 4 pounds — about 3 pounds of that coming from two insert packages--— the heaviest the Akron paper has been in years as advertisers spend more money, company executives said.

See how it goes together:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ad in memory of Ralph Iula

This memorial ad appeared today on obituary
page B5 of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Read Iula's obituary written by Jewell Cardwell

Friday, November 18, 2011

A note from Kathy Fraze on Oblander

Terry Oblander was Ornery.
He was Bold.
He was Lusty.
He was an Antagonist.
He was a Newshawk.
He was Devoted.
He was an Egalitarian.
He was a Rascal.

It broke my heart the day he left the Beacon Journal. It was the right move for him. He had a young family to support, and it was a smart decision.

We said we'd keep in touch, but like many old friends, we drifted apart, occasionally promising to get together but never quite managing it until....

he had the unmitigated gall to die first....

rushing headlong into that ultimate story....

always getting the scoop.

Codladh samh leat mo chara,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

San Diego Union-Tribune sold

The owner of The San Diego Union-Tribune announced Thursday it has signed an agreement of sale for the 143-year-old newspaper to MLIM, LLC, owned by local entrepreneur Doug Manchester. He is joined by longtime media executive John Lynch, who serves as President and CEO of MLIM.

The terms of the agreement are confidential and the deal is expected to close by Dec. 15.

Manchester is well-known for his hotel and commercial property development in the county. Lynch is a founder of the Broadcast Company of America and has a long history of owning radio stations.

Platinum Equity purchased the company in May 2009 and has led the media organization through critical changes that have resulted in circulation growth, increased advertising revenue and creation of new digital and print products.

Read the full story on San Diego Business

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turning the tables on Terry

Former Beacon Journal and Plain Dealer reporter Terry Oblander was known as a great storyteller. For his 10:30 a.m. funeral service Friday in the Waite & Son Funeral Homes Medina Chapel, 765 N. Court Street, the family announced:

On Friday during the service, we will be inviting friends/family the opportunity to say a few words or share a story about Terry Oblander. For the guy who always had a story, it just seemed appropriate to tell a few on his behalf.

Calling hours will be 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Waite Funeral Home.

Donations can be made in his name to Project: LEARN of Medina County at 105 W. Liberty St., Medina, 44256. Terry volunteered frequently at LEARN.

Terry died Sunday.

Late BJ printer's son in BJ article

Beacon Journal photo by Mike Cardew
Rick Bochert outside of Erie Station Grille

Retired printer Cal Deshong, who will be 93 on Nov. 24, sent this email to BJ Alums blog:

I noticed in today's BJ Section B-1 at the bottom of the page is a picture of Rick Bochert, owner of Erie Station Grille in Tallmadge. His father, Fred Bochert, worked with me in the composing room.

I know all the old-timers will remember him.

Fred passed away recently.

The article mentioning Rick Bochert, owner of the restaurant on the circle at East Avenue, concerned the City of Tallmadge loosening restrictions on businesses not as close to the Traffic Circle.

Click on the headline for the Tallmadge story that includes Rick Bochert.

Cal has moved from his home and into the residence of his daughter, Mary Pat Deshong-Kinkelaar, who is married to David Kinkelaar, at 268 Hollywood Avenue in Akron.

He's using his daughter's computer to remain in contact with the world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pittsburgh Press publishing again -- online only

The first e-edition of The Pittsburgh Press, which the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette bought and closed after a brutal strike that stopped publication of both papers in the early 1990s, went out Monday. “We sensed a hunger in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in our diaspora for something that provides afternoon news in a newspaper format that was offered digitally,” said Post-Gazette Executive Editor David Shribman. The Pittsburgh Press’ Wikipedia page has already been updated with a section about its “resurrection online.”

Elizabeth Hallowell dies at 53 after fall at home

Elizabeth Hallowell, 53, an attorney and journalist, died Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Cooper University Hospital after a fall on Saturday at her home in Laurel Springs, Camden County, NJ.

Ms. Hallowell was passionate about causes dear to her heart - women's issues, the rights of adopted children. Bright and focused, she reinvented herself professionally on more than one occasion.

She graduated from Collingswood High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University's Douglass College and a juris doctor from the University of Akron.

After working as a clerk at The Inquirer in the early 1980s, Ms. Hallowell shifted gears to become a reporter. She worked at a small newspaper in central Massachusetts before returning to The Inquirer as a correspondent, covering Bucks County and Dover, Del.

Later, she moved to the Akron Beacon-Journal, where she got interested in the law.

"She covered courts in Akron, and she got to know a couple of judges and lawyers really well," said Jack Severson, her husband of nearly 17 years and a former Inquirer editor. "With their encouragement, she thought: 'I'd like to try this.' "

Ms. Hallowell earned her law degree at night. She returned to the area to care for her parents and worked as an editor for IntelliHealth, an online health-information company, and as a part-time copy editor at The Inquirer.

She was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and eventually ran a solo law practice in Voorhees, concentrating on wills, estates, and contracts.

David Sullivan, an Inquirer assistant managing editor, described her as "enthusiastic, very positive. She was upbeat and always looking for something new to take on."

Ms. Hallowell was "fun to be around, very honorable, and a real stand-up person," said Paula Goff, a former Inquirer copy editor and friend.

Ms. Hallowell had strong opinions, wasn't shy about expressing them, and was always able to back them up, Goff said. "She also never hesitated to challenge the opinions of others, which forced you to back yours up. Those were great assets for a journalist and for a lawyer."

Ms. Hallowell was passionate about women's rights and fought against laws that prevented adopted children from locating their birth parents.

An adopted child herself, Ms. Hallowell eventually tracked down her birth mother, homeless and living in Western Pennsylvania. Ms. Hallowell helped her find a safe place to live.

She loved music and played piano and guitar. She enjoyed travel and working with stained glass.

She was a "hard-core news junkie," her husband said, voraciously consuming news in print and online.

Friends admired her warm relationship with Severson, the mayor of Laurel Springs. She was a strong supporter of his political career.

"She really liked the idea of being Mrs. Mayor," said Goff.

In addition to Severson, Ms. Hallowell is survived by her stepchildren, Nicole Severson, John Severson, and Camille Morgan, and five step-grandchildren.

Friends may call Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Danks-Hinski Funeral Home, 125 N. White Horse Pike, Lindenwold.

Memorial donations may be made to the Douglass College Women's Studies Program, 100 George St., New Brunswick, N.J. 08901.

[Philadelphia Inquirer, November 13, 2011]

Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146, or

Grumpy Abe: Terry It was great knowing you

Reprinted from the blog of former BJ columnist Abe Zaidan

THE PASSING 0f Terry Oblander, a colleague and friend, has opened another hole in the ranks of enthusiastic newspapermen who considered it a privilege to show up at the office every day. His disheveled presence at his desk, whether he was trying to fill in a few more blanks for a feature story or grinding out hard news, was usually a sight for the journalistically correct reporters and editors in his midst. One moment he would be bellowing, the next he would erupt in violent laughter. His gestures were broad; his personality, for better or worse, never suppressed. The world, for "The Dutchman" was never a neat place where the spoons and forks were properly placed at the sides of the plate.

He wasn't crazy, folks, Just a very good - and honorable - reporter who was happily dedicated in his work. It was serious fun, richly expressed.

He was doubtless the last demonstrative vestige of the shrinking hometown business in which newsrooms have been quieted by vanishing staffs, energized voices and clicking typewriters. Today a lot of people communicate with lowered voices, hopeful, among other things, of keeping their jobs before retirement in a few years, months or weeks.

For many years, Terry, stricken by heart failure at 64, gallantly hung on to the end despite the loss of his wife and the need for care for his kids as an everyday workingman. But his bad luck seemed to follow him in his post-Beacon Journal days at the Plain Dealer. He worked in the PD's once-flashy bureau in Montrose, joined the subsequent move to the paper's windowless office in a basement on the Medina Square that could have passed for submarine quarters and continued his odyssey to various other points that wound up in Cleveland - all with a family home in Medina. He was one of the victims of the paper's confusion over what it wanted to be if it ever sank some roots south of Cuyahoga County.

I had worked part-time(!) for the PD and witnessed the upheaval before deciding there could be a decent life as a writer free of newspapers. During the later years, Terry called from time to time, beginning with "How's it going?" (He was the sort of person who really wanted to know, instead of the usual conversation gambit.)

I began to sense that the vitality in his voice was absent. Cynicism had crept in to his hung-ho love of a reporter's life. I wish I could have told him that things were bound to improve, but that would have been a lie to one of most conscientiously honest human beings that I had ever met in the business - or anywhere else, for that matter.

So I listened. We talked. After the newspaper talk, he would tell me about his kids' love of sports, and the memorabilia of the passion. Finally, he would say, "Well, I gotta go. Let's have lunch sometime". Just like that.

I' m sorry I took so long to share another beer and shelled peanuts with him. Too soon, his heart, as well as his business, let him down.

Terry Oblander's obituary in the BJ

By Jim Carney
Beacon Journal staff writer
MEDINA: Terry Oblander was a storyteller.

When the downtown Akron O’Neil’s store held a final sale before it closed forever in January 1989, the Beacon Journal’s Terry Oblander described the event this way. “Remember when your great aunt died and after the funeral all your greedy relatives showed up at her place to divvy up the quilts, antique plates and photo albums? In a way, the funeral for the downtown Akron store has already been held. … The elegance has died.”

Mr. Oblander, 64, of Medina, whose newspaper career included coverage of the Kent State shootings in May 1970 for the Record-Courier in Ravenna, died Sunday at the Cleveland Clinic of congestive heart failure following a heart attack.

Mr. Oblander worked two years for the Ravenna paper and nearly 20 years for the Beacon Journal, where he covered a variety of topics including Portage County news, labor issues and county government. He left Akron to work another 18 years for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“He knew how to get at what everybody wanted to know,” said his son Terry Oblander, of Medina. “He captured the essence. He was as good of a storyteller as a
writer. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He could make light of any serious situation.”

His son said his father had taken on a new role as grandfather and spent much time baby-sitting his two grandsons.

Mr. Oblander, who received an associate’s degree from Cuyahoga Community College and attended Kent State University, was part of the Beacon Journal staff that won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Goodyear takeover attempt by Sir James Goldsmith.

Along with being a writer and storyteller, Mr. Oblander was a puzzle maker. He was the author of the puzzle Groaners that appeared in the Beacon Journal for many years and the Public Square puzzle in the Plain Dealer, his son said.

“You were fun to sit next to at the BJ, fun to compete against when you went to the PD, fun to argue labor issues with and fun to share a drink with and have lunch,” wrote retired Beacon Journal reporter and editor Charlene Nevada, on Mr. Oblander’s Facebook page. “Your laughter will be forever missed.”

Thrity Umrigar, a novelist, Case Western Reserve University professor of English and former Beacon Journal reporter, said Mr. Oblander encouraged her to save for her retirement when she first started working at the Beacon Journal when she was just in her 20s.

“What I most remember about Terry was that smile,” she said. “It was always there, along with the twinkle in his eye. He was full of mischief, almost spritelike in his sense of play and fun.”

Former Plain Dealer reporter Steve Luttner described Mr. Oblander as “a pure, battle-tested newsman who had accumulated tremendous context about Northeast Ohio from numerous perspectives.”

Luttner, now vice president of Lesic & Camper Communications in Cleveland, said Mr. Oblander always helped young reporters and “never lost his enthusiasm for a good story, and he had a deep, refreshing respect for good grammar and proper word usage.

“Terry was perhaps the most principled person I ever worked with during 30 years I spent in newsrooms,” he added. “He was highly ethical, totally honest and unflinchingly direct. I loved that directness – there wasn’t a phony bone in Terry’s body. He was a devoted and proud family man — his three sons had an extraordinary father.”

Mr. Oblander was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary, and is survived by wife, Linda, sons, Terry (Maureen) and their son, Jake, of Medina; son Chris (Caitlin) and their son, Josh, of Middleburg Heights; and son Nick of Medina.

Donations can be made in his name to Project: LEARN of Medina County at 105 W. Liberty St., Medina, 44256 where Mr. Oblander volunteered.

Calling hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Waite & Son Funeral Home at 765 N. Court St., Medina. Funeral service will be at the funeral home at 10:30 a.m. Friday.Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at
[Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, Tuesday, November 15, 2011, page B#, col.1]

Photos added courtesy of Paul Tople.

Jim Ricci's Terry Oblander remembrance

Former BJ reporter Jim Ricci, who later worked for the Detroit Free Press and the Los Angeles Times, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and was portrayed by Matthew Modine in the “Redeemer,” a 2002 USA Network cable movie "inspired by" stories Jim wrote in Detroit to free Ahmad Rahman, a Black Panther imprisoned 20 years for a murder he didn’t commit. Rahman became assistant professor of history at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Jim wrote the screenplay for "Redeemer."

In 2008 Jim took a buyout from the L.A. Times. He has two daughters by his first wife, Kathy, and a daughter and son by his current partner, Carrie.

Hello, John.

I was deeply saddened to learn by e-mail from Bill Hershey today that Terry Oblander had died.

Terry was a terrific guy, whom I admired and enjoyed. I'll never forget the way, when telling one of his inimitable tales of human foible gleaned from a township trustees or school board meeting, he'd dissolve into uncontrollable laughter soon punctuated by that uncontrollable cigarette-cough of his.

In 1980 -- it was March 30th, to be precise -- he and Bill O'Connor and I entered into a last-man-standing pact by which we vowed to quit smoking as of midnight that night, and that any one of us who ever in his life took a drag of cigarette smoke again was honor-bound to pay each of the others $100, no matter where we were.

We lasted a long time. It was nearly a decade later, as I recall, when I was writing for the Detroit Free Press, that Terry contacted me and said he was going to be in metro Detroit for a Scrabble tournament. We arranged to get together at a bar in Farmington, Michigan. I was sitting at the bar when Terry showed up, sat down beside me, lighted a cigarette, and handed me a check for $100.

After a long night of laughter and remembering, I made him pick up the bar tab, but tore up his $100 check, and tossed it into his ashtray.

I stayed "clean" for 30 years, until I took up smoking the occasional cigar a year or two ago.

I'll be sending my check for $100 to Project: LEARN of Medina County, as requested in his obit.

It's very melancholy to think that Obs is gone.

Jim Ricci

Click on the headline, go to the "Terry Oblander dies" headline and click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of the article to see additional tributes to Terry, a former BJ and PD reporter who died Nov. 13.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tibute to Oblander from PD Alumni

Terry Oblander dies

PD's obit by Grant Segall

Medina -- An official once called a press conference at the Akron-Canton Airport to announce that he'd fly to Texas to promote the airport.

A small story, to be sure, but reporter Terry Oblander made it a little bigger. He learned that the official would fly out of Cleveland Hopkins International.

Oblander, a long-time area journalist and Public Squares puzzle maker, died Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Cleveland Clinic about two weeks after a heart attack. He was 64.

His life was fairly short and challenging. He nursed a dying wife in 1992, then raised their three boys, including an infant. He brought the boys to some meetings he covered and somehow attended all their ballgames.

There were triumphs, too, at Ravenna's Record-Courier, the Akron Beacon Journal and The Plain Dealer. Among several prizes, he shared a first place from the Associated Press of Ohio for coverage of a murder and a 1987 Pulitzer for coverage of a threatened takeover of Goodyear.

Through the ups and downs, the big, shaggy-haired Oblander told memorable stories with memorable laughter. It would start as a little wheeze. Then look out.

For the past 10 years, he tickled Plain Dealer readers six days a week with Public Squares, a puzzle of scrambled words and homegrown puns:

"Q. What did tipsy sailors say when they returned to the USS Cod from a bar?"

"A. Down the hatch."

The generous author made a few free puzzles to help readers commemorate birthdays or anniversaries.

Over the decades, he covered politics, labor, suburban news, the Kent State shootings and much more. He was also president of the Beacon's Local 7 for journalists and janitors.

Plain Dealer Editor Debra Adams Simmons said, "Terry Oblander was a thoughtful, dedicated journalist who spent his career chronicling the stories of Northeast Ohio. He was creative and quirky and always looking for new ways to push Public Squares to the next level."

Steve Luttner, a former Plain Dealer reporter, said, "Terry Oblander was a pure, battle-tested newsman.... He was totally honest and unflinchingly direct."

Oblander was born in Cleveland and raised in Olmsted Falls. He graduated from Cuyahoga Community College and attended Kent State University.

He spent 13 months with the Record-Courier, partly as religion editor and farms editor. He lived with some colleagues in a Ravenna home they called the "Lock Street Rock Festival."

Then came 19 years at the Beacon, mostly as a reporter, but also a copy editor, assistant metro editor and assistant state editor. He also wrote a puzzle called Groaners and a column of short news items called Ideas and a citizens band radio column called CB Break.

He tried to be objective but never dull. A Republican leader once complained that Oblander had registered as a Democrat. Oblander retorted that Ohio wouldn't register voters as Socialists.

Bob Downing, now the Beacon's environmental reporter, teamed with Oblander for a couple of years to cover Portage County. Said Downing, "He'd come back so excited about what he'd seen at government meetings. He'd chase little stories down. His passion rubbed off on everybody."

In 1990, Oblander wrote a folksy application to The Plain Dealer: "I like being a reporter. A lot." He mentioned his "lousy grades" at Kent State but said, "I'm sure we could stick it to any competition."

He warned that he'd need comprehensive health insurance for his wife, the former Mary O'Neill, who went blind from juvenile diabetes. Her father, Dan, moved in with the family in Stow to help out. In 1992, she bore her last child and died five months later.

Oblander took a leave of absence for a time. He raised the children with help from Dan. In 1996, he married the former Linda Monroe and moved the family to Medina.

He spent most of his PD career at bureaus in Summit and Medina counties. He also planned and oversaw reports of election results at the main office in Cleveland.

As a young boy, he could instantly unscramble words. He won many Scrabble tournaments over the years and organized a few. He started freelancing Public Squares in 2001.

Oblander moved to the PD's downtown office in 2007 and left the paper in 2008. In his final years, he kept freelancing Public Squares. He also wrote features for the Beacon, babysat his grandsons, competed in a fantasy baseball league and helped start and run bookstores for Project: LEARN of Medina County, a literacy program.

He always wrote Public Squares a few weeks ahead. The last one is scheduled to run on Dec. 3.

Terence Leroy Oblander


Survivors: Wife, the former Linda Monroe; father, Jacob Leroy of Parma Heights; sons, Terence Jacob of Montville Township, Medina, Christopher Daniel of Middleburg Heights, Nicholas Patrick of Medina and two grandsons.

Memorial Service: 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at Waite & Son Funeral Home., 765 N. Court St., Medina, Ohio.

Contributions: Project: LEARN of Medina County, 105 W. Liberty St., Medina, OH 44256,

Calling hours for Terry Oblander

From former BJ & PD reporter Terry Oblander's Facebook page:

Calling hours for Terry Oblander will be from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm on Thursday (Nov 17). On Friday (Nov 18), a short memorial service will be held at 10:30 am followed by a funeral procession to Spring Grove Cemetery where he will be laid to rest.

Waite & Son Funeral Homes Medina Chapel
765 N. Court St.
Medina, Ohio 44256
Phone: 330-723-3229

Spring Grove Cemetery, on South Spring Grove Street, dates to the 1880s.

Click on the headline for Terry's death notice in the BJ Alums blog.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Terry Oblander dies

Terry Oblander, who worked at both the Beacon Journal and the Plain Dealer, died today.

He had a heart attack Tuesday morning and was taken to cardiac intensive care at
Cleveland Clinic.

Terry is survived by his wife, Linda Monroe Oblander; father, Jacob Leroy of Parma Heights; sons, Terence Jacob of Montville Township, Medina, Christopher Daniel of Middleburg Heights, and Nicholas Patrick of Medina; and two grandsons.

His first wife, Mary Louise O'Neill Oblander, died in 1992.

Terry went from the BJ to the Plain Dealer and its Medina County bureau, then returned to the BJ last year to write feature stories about Medina County.

He was part of the Beacon Journal staff that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for its coverage of a threatened corporate takeover of Goodyear and has won several Ohio and regional journalism awards.

A 1965 graduate of Olmsted Falls High School and Cuyahoga Community College (1967), he attended Kent State University through 1969, worked for the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier from 1969 to 1971 and at the Beacon Journal from 1971 to 1990 when he joined the Plain Dealer.

Terry was among 27 PD staffers who were let go by a phone call from the editor in 2008 a few weeks before Christmas.

Oblander did the pun-based Public Squares Puzzle for the Plain Dealer.

In a 2001 letter that Terry wrote to a friend who is a Chicago lawyer, he recalled his days in Kent:

"The Record-Courier group was an odd-ball collection of washed-up newspaper
people or young folks just learning the business. You were there because you
loved the business. $125 was the top salary of the day for a 44-hour work week
-- not much above minimum wage.

"Most of us lived in a home we called the 'Lock Street Rock Festival' in 1971 or 1972. It was so named because we lived on Lock Street and our home was like Woodstock most days."

Terry was a great storyteller who laughed vigorously as he spun his tales. So did those who heard them.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vradenburg writes book on Metro Parks

Former Beacon Journal reporter and editorial writer Sarah Vradenburg has written a book on Metro Parks titled
Steps in Time: Ninety Years of Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

Summit County’s park district is celebrating its 90th birthday with the new book that focuses on key figures from its past, including longtime director Harold Wagner and naturalist Bert Szabo.

Vradenburg will be at Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Rd,, from 1 to 4 p.m. today for a book signing.

The 146-page book is published by Ringtaw Books/University of Akron Press and costs $19.95

BJ owner buys San Francisco Examiner

The owner of the Akron Beacon Journal will become the new owner of the free daily San Francisco Examiner.

Black Press Group, based in Canada, is purchasing the Examiner from Clarity Media Group, a Denver-based holding company owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz. Black Press and Clarity Media are privately owned companies.

The deal is expected to close by Nov. 30. Terms were not disclosed.

“We are delighted to become involved with such a strong newspaper,” David Black, president and owner of Black Press, said in a statement. “Readership is second to none in San Francisco and on the peninsula.”

Read the rest of the story in today’s Beacon Journal.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Catching up with . . . Rita Stapleton

At my request, Composing retiree Rita Stapleton provided some details about her BJ years and her retirement.


I retired in February along with David Cummings. We both have 42 years of service.

I am enjoying retirement. I help with the USO of North Canton, visit my 88-year-old dad more often, play tennis and in general am just having a good ol' time.

I started out as a typesetter in November 1968, did paste-up, proofreading, worked the computer room, Camex operator, worked in CTS in graphics arts, then data entry, then worked in call center typing and was switched to operating the tearsheet room for a few years before it got phased out.

Went from there temporarily to finance before ending up in Marketing and helped with Newspaper in Education and anywhere else when needed. Ended up in the packaging department before finally retiring.

It was a fun time working with all the printers. Enjoyed all the excitement of helping put the paper to bed on night shift and all the comradeship of the men, never a dull moment.

But 42 years was long enough. I was kinda tired of working, but thankful for the time served. It was a blessing to have worked for such a fine newspaper, especially when times were great.

Thanks for thinking of me,


Rita Stapleton

Rita's email is

and her phone number is 330-699-4407.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Terry Oblander suffers severe heart attack

Terry Oblander suffered a severe heart attack Tuesday morning and is in cardiac intensive care at the Clinic. He can't have visitors or phone calls for now, but his wife, Linda, says cards would be welcome. Send them to his home at 1068 Woodglen Circle, Medina, OH 44256.
[Information provided by Bruce Winges, Beacon Journal editor]

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Send Cal Deshong a birthday card. 93 !!!

Retired printer Cal Deshong will be 93 years old on Nov. 24.

Calvin E. Deshong was born November 24, 1918 in Johnstown, PA.

He was married Sept. 8, 1962, to Mary Louise. She died in February 2001.

Cal worked at the BJ (1952-1983) before retiring 28 years ago!

If you want to mail Cal a congratulatory card or note, his address is:

Calvin Deshong
3682 Vira Rd.
Stow, OH 44224

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

Ol' reliables at monthly BJ retirees lunch

The usual trio showed up at today's BJ retirees lunch in Papa Joe's Restaurant on Akron/Peninsula Road -- retired printers Al Hunsicker, Carl Nelson and Gene McClellan. Newsroom retiree John Olesky, between trips, made it a quartet.

That matches the year's lowest total of September and May.

The lunch is at 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Press Club's 40th reunion is November 12

Press Club 40th Reunion Banquet

Saturday , November 12


From: Ronald Syroid <>
Past President * 330.607.6811

Subject: Akron Press Club 40th Reunion Saturday, Nov 12


* from Bruce Winges, President *
Celebrate the Press Club’s 40th birthday

After four decades of lunches, speeches, auctions, scholarship fund-raisers, book sales and good times we are ready to celebrate the Akron Press Club’s 40th birthday. The Press Club board invites present members, past members, former speakers, and those who have been connected with the organization over the years to join us for a birthday bash at the club’s long-time home,
the Martin Center, 105 Fir Hill on the University of Akron campus. The evening will be more like a Reunion than an anniversary celebration. Many have not gathered together for years.

The Press Club started when some like-minded individuals got together at their favorite watering hole, the Mayflower Hotel Bar. With Mickey Porter guiding the formation of the association, the first official meeting was in January 1971 where, according to Press Club archives, Jerry Healey of WAKR was elected president.

Through the years the Press Club has provided a forum for a number of newsmakers, politicians and other speakers to reach out to the Akron community. It has held numerous fund-raisers and dinners.
The club has made significant contributions to young journalists and public relations professionals through its unwavering support of scholarships. That support continues with the John S. Knight and Ludel Sauvageot scholarships. An additional scholarship was awarded in 2011 in the name of the Press Club itself. Hopefully some past award winners will be at the party.

Join us for dinner and an evening of fellowship and a memorable evening on Saturday, November 12. Dave Osterland will be Master of Ceremonies and displays will be presented to rejuvenate recollections.

Join Al Fitzpatrick, Tom Kock, Abe Zaidan, Dave Osterland, Howard Tolley and other Club members at the banquet.

The dinner will be held at the Martin Center at the University of Akron. Cost is $35 per person, and meal choices are steak, chicken or veggie. Reservations may be made by calling 330-564-4211. DEADLINE Now

Deadlines are part of the profession, and the need for commitment is now. So act promptly to guarantee an enjoyable and succesful birthday party.

And if you have any photos or other Press Club memorabilia that you would like to share, contact board members Ron Syroid (
330.607.6811 or Ed Kalail (

Visit web site for additional information and details..

- 30 -

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Tom Moore is writing sports now


Well, here we are for the eighth year at the Roy Hobbs World Series in Ft. Meyers.

The series for amateur baseball players from 25 to 80 is in its 23 year and with more than 200 teams from all over the country, plus one or two from overseas, one of the most successful.

And the more I see of it, the more I’m amazed at how smooth thing usually go…and the credit for that goes to the boss…former Beacon Journal sports editor Tom Giffen.

From my observations, it begins with early planning in Akron where the Hobbs outfit is located on Peninsula Road in the Valley.

And the rough edges are ironed out as things progress—even extending to the actually series.

Teams register during the year for the different divisions (determined by age).

Its hard ball and wooden bats. Teams play four games and then are seeded from 4A to B for the championship play.

Umpires are professionals and most make their living umpiring college and high school game. And the fields are as professional as you can get—short of playing in a Major League stadium.

The facilities are the spring training sites for the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota twins.

As one of the older players dressed in his baseball uniform said to me: “when I got into center field in the stadium with all those trappings I felt like I was 18 again!”

That feeling is what makes the players come back again and again.

They are able to pursue their passion for the game as long as they are physically able…moving up into another age division with the “young, old boys” taking part in the “timeless division”.

Of course a great part of the success depends on Tom’s support staff..which is “major league and why not? I’m one of that staff.

Wife Ellen is in charge of the concessions and the gift shop. And the Number one guy is Rob Giffen, Tom’s son.

The main reason I come back and enjoy whatever has to be done, is the people I meet and the stories I get to write.

Spent too many years tied to a desk…22 years as a news editor. I did the job for all that time between people Knight Ridder brought in but never got that title…had to settle on assistant and deputy.

Now, it’s so much fun to write about the folks I meet here. For instance, the story now on the blog about Bill Dillion who spent 27 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

And last year, I interviewed and wrote a story about former Boston Red Sox pitcher “Oil Can” Boyd.

And there was a story in which a player slid into home, but missed the plate about 2 feet—except his teeth flew out of his mouth and crossed the bag. He tried to argue that he was safe because part of him scored. Needless to say, he lost the argument.

One player related a story to me. He got a hit and his teammates were shouting “Run, Run!” . His 15-year-old son was nearby and he shouted “Hobble, Dad, Hobble!”

Then there was a husband and wife who played on the same team.

Where else could you meet a ballplayer who raises mastiffs, those huge dogs? Seems he had two and they had 9 pups. So he named the father, pitcher and the mom, catcher. Each of the pups got a baseball name—first base, 2nd base, etc.

If somebody had told me I’d wind up a sports writer, I’d have said no way.

Before the Hobbs gig, the only sports I wrote about was in the Air Force when my sports editor was sent overseas and I had to fly with our football team and write about the games.

My second sports stint was at the Lorain Journal where I filled in for two weeks when the sports editor went on vacation.

I hope to keep coming back as long as my health holds up.

It keeps me young, off the streets and out of bars.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

2 good articles on media in CommonWealth

Two news media articles in the November 2 issue of CommonWealth magazine are worth reading:

What happens when a community loses its newspaper?
In Holyoke, Masssachusetts residents still mourn the loss of the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram nearly 20 years later. The newspaper closed after 110 years as Holyoke’s only daily newspaper. Published as a daily since 1882, the newspaper folded in January 1993 after four years of heavy losses. Read the article.

Silent crisis
The shrinking press corps at places such as the State House leads to a decline in what the FCC calls 'accountability reporting' Read the article.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Catching up with . . . Curt Brown

Curt Brown, who was a Beacon Journal reporter 1971-74, will be 68 on Monday (Nov. 7). Curt's mother, Rachel Brown (inset photo), was born on Nov. 3, but that was 105 years ago. She died in 1993.

Curt (inset photo) has been music director and organist/choirmaster at New Life Episcopal Church, 13118 Church Ave. NW, Uniontown for nine years and also teaches piano and organ
at his Highland Square home. He also does organ recitals. The next one will be 4 p.m. Sunday, March 18, 2012 at New Life Episcopal Church.

J. Curtis Brown, Jr., 26, is the son of Curt and Curt's late wife, Jolan "Jody" Moldvay Brown, who died Aug. 4, 1993.

Curt has a pair of dogs that keep him company at home.

Curt once handled public relations for the United Rubber Workers and United Steel Workers.

His mother and two sisters also played the piano. He credits an organist named Lula, who let him play her church organ when he was six, for getting him hooked on being an organist.

Curt was city editor of the Charleston Gazette, West Virginia's largest newspaper, when the Marshall University plane carrying the football team, staff and supporters crashed in 1970 on its way back to Huntington after a game, wiping out the Thundering Herd's grid squad.

The next year, Curt came to the BJ. And later began his PR work for the unions.

Curt was captain of his high school swim team, and also competed in swimming at Baldwin-Wallace. He studied at Oberlin College.

Craigslist ad leads to burglaries

A Cuyahoga Falls man placed an ad on Craigslist this summer. The burglars called him, got information that he would be out of town, and stole his 2007 Kawasaki motorcycle and other property totaling $14,000.

When the neighbor discovered the Kawasaki theft, he moved the remaining motorcycles to his garage for safekeeping. The burglars came back and stole a 2009 Husqvarna motorcyle valued at $4,900.

Later, four motorcycles valued at $8,800 were stolen from another Falls resident.

Stow police arrested three Falls juveniles and the bikes were found in Pennsylvania at the home of an accomplice, police said.

Click on the headline for the Cuyahoga Falls Patch news story.