Monday, December 30, 2013

Pacemaker time for John Olesky

BJ newsroom retiree John Olesky will have a Pacemaker implanted Jan. 2. 

I'll stay overnight in the hospital.

But I should be available for BJ Alums posts if anyone has information to be posted.

Just email me at with the information. 

If you have advice about or experience with a Pacemaker, email me at the same email address. I will appreciate it.

Thank you.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Front pages popular even as newspapers fade

Newspapers are dying. But their front pages aren’t.

At a time when print advertising revenue continues to decline and publications are laying off staff in droves, newspaper covers are increasingly being shared digitally — helped along by the ease of posting on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

But why? More than anything, these A-1s are seen as an encapsulation of a historical event, to be seen and filed away for a distant time when we want to remember how much something mattered in its day.

Sharing a front on Twitter — or saving a digital copy as a PDF — is the modern-day equivalent of cutting out and saving a page from a significant edition, or just a funny New York tabloid front.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Oops moments for careless newspapers

Sometimes the juxtaposition of stories in newspapers can create unintended and even red-faced situations.

Buzzfeed rounded up a group of them, including one where someone inserted the F-bomb into a story, mindful of the time a BJ linotype operator pounded out "Stick this slug up your ass" and it wound up printed in the Beacon Journal.

Check out the poor judgments in newspaper layouts and story juxtapositions at

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hopeful news about Harry Liggett

Harry Liggett, John Olesky in 2012
Former BJ State Desk editors

There's encouraging news about BJ newsroom retiree Harry Liggett, founder of the BJ Alums blog, from his son, Bob Liggett.

Bob's response to my inquiry:

Dad is at Copley Health. More coherent. Starting slowly to eat real food. Still weak though. Needs to keep up with the rehab. 

Harry has been in and out of Akron General since his August surgery and has spent recuperating time at Copley Health Center and Select Speciality Hospital on West Market.

Ohio State graduate Harry attended his Dennison High School reunion in July before the cancer surgery. He was assistant news editor at the BJ and was part of the crack 1970s State Desk team run by the late Pat Englehart, who died in 1995 in Florida. 

Bob Liggett is a University of Akron accounting graduate who works for KeyCorp and lives in Akron.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hugh & Sharon Downing and the remarkable The Villages

By John Olesky (BJ 1969-96)

Paula and I just returned from a two-week visit to The Villages, Florida and retired BJ printer Hugh Downing and wife Sharon, who live in a place like no other I've seen in my travels to 52 countries and 43 states.

It's the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States, with more than 100,000 residents and a median age of 66. Every village within The Villages has a recreation center, swimming pool and golf courses (about 70). 

The amenities are built before the first home is constructed in each new village. The recreation centers are huge, with several rooms handling 300 to 400 people apiece. Shuffleboard is almost a religion. There's even a Polo Club. 

Some 40,000 golf carts are a preferred method of transportation by Villagers. The carts have their own lanes on the streets and roads. 

Paula and I rented in the Orange Blossom Village, where this amazing collection of homes for those 55 or older began in earnest in the 1980s by Michigan businessman Harold Schwartz after a 1970s attempt fizzled. 

The Villages is northwest of Orlando and northeast of Tampa in Sumter, Marion and Lake counties. 

There are several town squares, which have music and dancing outdoors every night of the year. There are hundreds of clubs for a multitude of interests. Villagers are big on charity work, including sending thousands of packages to the military overseas with an assembly line that would make Henry Ford proud. 

When we watched the Christmas parade on the Polo Club grounds the belly dancers, cheerleaders and twirlers were in their 70s, give or take a decade.

Every resident of The Villages is part of a de facto Chamber of Commerce. They all enthusiastically tell you that it's a lifestyle, not just a place to live. 

The photo montage with this article provides just a glimpse of life in The Villages. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Printers Club's 'Kay' Reeves dies at 85

Anyone who had lunch at the Printers Club across the street from the Beacon Journal in the 1980s and 1990s would remember the congenial Kay Reeves, who with her husband, Red, frequently served customers food and drink.

Kay, whose given name was Rita, passed away on Thursday, December 5, at age 85. Her husband, Charles “Red” Reeves, died in 2006. He worked in the Beacon Journal Composing Room for 32 years.

Rita C. (Harned) Reeves was born on March 22, 1928 in Grayson County, Ky. She also was preceded in death by her daughter, Judith Lee Hartman.

Kay is survived by her sister, Christina Miller of Indiana; her remaining children, Thomas Reeves, Robert Dornbush, Roger Hartman and Phyllis Limberg; as well as her many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Kay was active in her community as an auxiliary member of American Legion Post 611 and the Fraternal Order of Eagles #555. She worked for the Printers Club for over 20 years.

Per her request, there will be no viewing hours. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 2603 Benton Ave., Akron on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 at 2 p.m. Refreshments immediately to follow at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 89 E. Waterloo Rd., Akron.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Summit County Children’s Services, 264 S. Arlington Street, Akron, OH 44306 or St. Matthew Parish School, 2580 Benton Ave., Akron, OH 44312. Adams Mason Funeral Home & Crematory, 330-535-9186.

Information from obituary in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Reconnecting in Florida

Ever reliable BJ Alums correspondent John Olesky (left) sends warm greetings from Florida where he and Paula Tucker paid a visit to Composing Room retiree Hugh Downing (right) and his wife, Sharon.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Contact Ken Krause till Dec. 23 for BJ Alums inquiries & information

While Paula and I are in Florida Dec. 1-22, please direct all inquiries and information to Ken Krause, former BJ sports editor who lives in Medford, Massachussetts.

Click on Ken Krause and email him your information or inquiry.

Dec. 23rd you can resume notifying John Olesky at

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CBS "60 Minutes" forces Lara Logan to take leave

CBS forced “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan and her longtime producer, Max McClellan, to take leaves of absence from work as punishment for their mishandling of the Benghazi report.

Their “60 Minutes” segment relied heavily on an account by Dylan Davies, a security contractor who was in Benghazi on the night of the assault, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Davies claimed that he was at the compound, but that contradicted what he had previously told the FBI, the State Department and his own employer.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sun-Times to hire back some photographers

The Chicago Sun-Times will hire back an unspecified number of the 28 photographers – the entire full-time photo staff --  it fired in May. In return, the Chicago Newspaper Guild agreed to drop its unfair labor relations charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

It’s part of a three-year contract reached last week between Sun-Times Media and the Chicago Newspaper Guild that affects about 130 editorial staffers.

The Sun-Times now requires reporters and free-lance photographers to take the photos.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Liggett back in Akron General

BJ newsroom retiree and BJ Alums blog founder Harry Liggett is back in Akron General Hospital.

Writes son Bob Liggett: Harry returned to Akron General a few days ago because "he had some bloodwork done and the results came back bad."

Harry has been in and out of Akron General and various health care facilities since August, battling cancer and other problems.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Journalism Raul Ramirez dies

Raul Ramirez, 67, who took on such subjects as San Francisco’s Chinatown gangs, jail conditions and migrant farmers, died Friday. He worked for the Chronicle, Examiner, KQED public radio, Miami Herald, Washington Post and Oakland Tribune.

He died from esophageal cancer in Berkeley, California.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cake for a Cookie. Surprise!

There was a surprise birthday celebration today for retired Accounting Supervisor Martha "Cookie" Lipford.  

Beacon Journal alumni gathered at the Arlington Street Golden Corral.

Says Carol Eubank: “There was lots of reminiscing.”

Martha "Cookie" Lipford
Chimes in Cheryl Scott Sheinen, wife of former BJ staffer Neil Sheinin: “It was really nice. Lots of gab.”

Nice and gab is what BJ alumni do well when they reunite with former co-workers.

As for Sheinin, he was available because he didn’t have to throw out the first pitch for an Akron Aeros game, as he did last year.  J

A cake for a Cookie seems appropriate, too. 
Cookie was at the same Arlington Street Golden Corral last year when the gang had a get-together with BJ Accounting Department retiree Linda McElroy. Linda's husband, Business Department retiree Harold McElroy, passed away in 2011. The McElroys and retired printer Dick Latshaw were neighbors on Pauleys Island, South Carolina.

AnonymousCheryl Scott Sheinin added
Hi John, just wanted to mention that not only am I the wife of former BJer Neil Sheinin but I am also retired from the finance dept. after 45 years. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Pudding time with Dawidziak

"The Christmas Pudding: A Largely Literary Christmas" will be presented by the Hudson Players at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14, at the Barlow Community Center. The cast includes PD and former BJ television writer Mark Dawidziak, his wife Sara Showman, Tom Stephan, Emma Picht and Alex J. Nine.

The "Pudding" recipe is poems by Shakespeare, Poe, Washington Irving, Robert Louis Stevenson, G.K. Chesterton and Ogden Nash and stories by Twain, Andersen, J.M. Barrie and Frank Stockton.

Retired Stow-Munroe Falls High drama and English teacher Tom Stephan and Alex J. Nine appear regularly in Dawidziak’s productions involving Poe, Twain, Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson. Akron native and University of Akron graduate Nine has acted or directed at most of the theaters in the greater Akron area.

Emma Picht appeared in Magical Theatre Company's “Peter and the Wolf” and Weathervane Playhouse's production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” Actors' Summit production of “Woody Guthrie's American Song” and in Ohio Shakespeare Festival's “Richard III” and “Love's Labours Lost.”

Picht, a Hudson resident, is a high school freshman and a graduate of the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Akron. She plays classical violin and Irish fiddle and is a member of the Miller South Orchestra and Akron Youth Philharmonic. She sang solo Broadway tunes for Akron's First Night at Actors'  Summit.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Another BJ restaurant reunion for Art & Char

From left: Steve Love, Doug Oplinger, Mitch
McKenney, Charlene Nevada, Art Krummel
There was an unintentional BJ reunion in a Green restaurant Saturday night.

Retired BJ reporter Charlene Nevada explains:


Dinner at a small Italian restaurant called the Bistro in Green turned into a bit of a BJ reunion Saturday night. Art and I were there with Steve and Jackie Love, when we were spotted by Doug (and Diane) Oplinger. Then Mitch and Kim McKenney came in.  Mitch is an assistant prof at Kent. Steve is writing a book about Don Plusquellic. Doug is still at the Beacon and Art and I are very, very retired.

Doug Oplinger is managing editor at the BJ, a long way from his days as a State Desk part-timer under the watchful eyes of Harry Liggett and DeNobil cigar smell of the late Pat Englehart.

Steve Love is a retired BJ columnist. He co-authored “Wheels of Fortune: The History of Rubber in Akron” with David Giffels,  wrote “The Golden Dream” with former Notre Dame football coach Gerry Faust, and books about Stan Hywet Hall and the Holden Arboretum. In 2007 he became Director of College Relations at Hiram College.

Mitch joined the Beacon Journal in September 1998 as a deputy metro editor. He’s been teaching at various Kent State campuses over the years, even while at the BJ. Mitch and Kim live in Hartville.

Charlene and Art divide their time between their home in Garden City, South Carolina, which is 85 miles north of Charleston, South Carolina, and their Tallmadge home. Art was the BJ’s chief artist, following in the shoes of the late Bud Morris and Joe Grace.

Russ Chambers and Roger Stewart run Bistro of Green at 3459 Massillon Road, off I-77’s Exit 118. It has a Uniontown mailing address, but it’s in Green. Pat Englehart used to drive State Desk reporters batty if they listed Uniontown as an address, insisting that they look up the directory to see which political subdivision it actually was in. A Uniontown mailing address meant the business or home could be in maybe a half-dozen different political subdivisions. That directory was well-worn by State Desk reporters.

Char and Art are accustomed to unexpected BJ reunions. In 2010 they were vacationing in the Garden City Beach area with now-retired newsroom administrative assistant Sue Reynolds and her husband Roger and former BJ editors Roger Mezger and wife Ann Sheldon Mezger. The sextet went to a hamburger place in Murrell’s Inlet called River City and retired printer Dick Latshaw, who lives in nearby Pauleys Island, popped in for a bite.

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






Thursday, November 14, 2013

Maura McEnaney in Wichita to promote her book

Former BJ reporter Maura McEnaney, wife of former BJ sports editor Ken Krause, has authored a book, “Willard Garvey: An Epic Life.”

Garvey built homes in the USA, South America and Asia for people with low incomes, is owner-operator of the “world’s largest” grain elevator, is the “largest private landowner in Nevada” and builder of Kansas’s tallest building—the Epic Center with its slanted copper roof.

Syracuse graduate Maura’s 30+ years as a business writer and editor include being on the BJ team that won a Pulitzer Gold Medal for its “A Question of Color” about race relations in the Akron area. She left the BJ for Boston in 2000 and later worked for Bloomberg News.

Maura and Ken live in Medford, Massachusetts, where they have quilt art by former BJ editor/reporter Connie Bloom, a fabric art guru in Ohio, a birthday gift from Maura to Ken.

C-SPAN2 will rerun Maura's talk at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. If you can’t wait, you can watch her 33-minute appearance at the Wichita, Kansas Rotary Club by clicking on

Tom-Toms rest after beating baseball drums all day

Tom Moore, Tom Giffen
BJ newsroom retiree Tom Moore and former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen relax after another long day at the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series in Fort Myers, Florida.

Giffen owns and runs the Hobbs program. Moore handles the daily newspaper with game information and player interviews.

This is the 25th anniversary of the Hobbs tournament for older players. It will end this month. Players from around the world show up for the event.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Liggett still at Wyatt Woods

KeyCorp accountant Bob Liggett, son of BJ newsroom retiree Harry Liggett, at my request provided an update on Harry’s situation:

Harry Liggett
Dad is still at Wyatt Woods. Copley has not opened up yet. One item still is dad is not eating that much. Relying too much on tube feeding. Hopefully one day soon he can get off of pureed food. Dad does not like that.

Wyant Woods Care Center is a nursing home at 200 Wyant Road in Akron. Harry was taken to Wyant after a short stay in Akron General Hospital. Previously, Harry was at Copley Health Center, 155 Heritage Woods Drive, Montrose. Before that, he was in Select Speciality Hospital on West Market Street after surgery in August at Akron General.

Ohio State graduate Harry is dealing with cancer and other health problems.


John Dunphy posts, a year after cancer diagnosis

A year ago on this date a doctor stuck a scope down my esophagus and came back with some life changing news. I will never forget his words: “You have a mass (cancer) and it’s not benign.”
It has been an amazing journey since then and I am very happy to report I recently finished the last of my chemo sessions. A good thing too, I guess I ran out of veins that the chemo nurses could tap into.

John Dunphy
My surgical recovery, now 5 months out, is going well. I am able to eat many foods within reason and portion size. My physical recovery is going well. The scars are healing and I’m working on regaining muscle tone and strength. I play golf a couple of times a week and even that is improving…slowly.
I have a radioactive (PET) scan coming up that looks for microscopic cancer cells. The last one in August was negative and I expect this one will be too. Going forward I will have periodic visits to the oncologist (Dr. Mario Curti at Los Alamitos Medical Center) and surgeon (Dr. John Lipham at USC) for various tests to track my progress.
In this season of thanks and goodwill, I can’t say enough about how wonderful Rebecca has been; a real lifesaver and life partner in every sense of the words. I’m thankful for the love and support of my sons, Brian, Michael and Kevin and their families; Ben Allen and Melissa Evans who were here to support Rebecca and me during the scary times in the hospital; my brothers and sisters and their families.

I am still astonished by the outpouring of support and encouragement from hundreds of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Positive energy is a force in the universe and I urge you to pay it forward whenever you can.
I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season. Treasure each day.

Dunphy is a former BJ reporter who went West to work for the Orange County Register in California. Rebecca Allen is his wife and Orange County Register deputy Features editor. They live in Lakewood, California. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Photographers & artists hit hardest by draconian newsroom reductions

Photographers, artists and videographers have been hit hardest by the drastic reductions in newsroom employees: down 43% since 2000.

Full-time newspaper reporters and writers are down 32%. Copy and layout editors and online producer jobs dropped 27%.

The staggering losses were reported in the American Society of News Editors’ annual census.


Friday, November 08, 2013

Akron umps at Giffen baseball tournament

BJ newsroom retiree Tom Moore, who helps former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen conduct the 25th annual Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series for older players in Fort Myers, Florida, is pictured with “my bodyguards” -- Hobbs umpires Jack and Larnie Martin, brothers who live in Akron.
Tom Moore with Martin brothers

The Martin brothers have been umpiring in Giffen’s event for several years.

The Hobbs tournament is divided into age divisions --youngest group is 28-plus and oldest is 70-plus. It runs for several weeks.
Tom is in his 10th year of handling the daily newsletter and other chores for Giffen. Tom provides interviews and game information in a daily newspaper for players from teams across the nation and around the world.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Harry Liggett out of hospital Friday

KeyCorp accountant Bob Liggett, son of BJ newsroom retiree Harry Liggett, said that his Dad will leave Akron General Hospital on Friday.  

Bob writes:

“Dad is supposed to be out tomorrow, going to Wyant Woods until a bed opens up at Copley. Hopefully no more hospital stays.”

Wyant Woods Care Center is a nursing home at 200 Wyant Road in Akron.

Harry returned to Akron General Hospital Monday night from Copley Health Center, 155 Heritage Woods Drive, Montrose. He is dealing with cancer and other health problems.

Bob Liggett is a Hoban and University of Akron accounting graduate who lives in Akron. 
Harry’s other son, Tom Liggett, also a University of Akron and Hoban graduate, is Community Pregnancy Center director of development. Tom and wife Susan live in Akron.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Harry Liggett back in hospital

BJ newsroom retiree Harry Liggett returned to Akron General Hospital.

Harry Liggett
Email from Harry’s son, Tom Liggett:

Hi John

Just to keep you updated my dad was moved back to Akron General Hospital Monday night. Had some very critical labs so the Dr. wanted him back.

A few days later, Harry's other son, Bob Liggett, wrote:

Some bloodwork tests came back bad. Dad still needs to eat more so he can have strength for rehab.

Harry had been in Copley Health Center in Montrose.

He has cancer and other problems. Ohio State graduate Harry has had several surgeries to deal with his health situation.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Brian Windhorst's dad inducted into Hobbs Hall of Fame

Pittsburgh native and former Akronite Todd Windhorst, deceased father of former BJ sportswriter Brian Windhorst, was in the first induction class of the Roy Hobbs Baseball Hall of Fame.

Former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen, who runs the Roy Hobbs Baseball World series in Fort Myers, announced the HOF members.

Todd Windhorst, who passed away in 2012, was an umpire for the Roy Hobbs World Series that draws about 400 teams from around the world.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Tom-Toms Moore & Giffen together in sunny Florida for 10th year

BJ newsroom retiree Tom Moore is in Florida for his 10th year of helping former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen on the 25th anniversary of the Roy Hobbs World Series for older baseball players.
The games are played in Fort Myers, Florida. Tom provides interviews and game information in a daily newspaper for players from about 200 teams around the world.

The series is divided into age divisions---youngest group is 28-plus and oldest is 70-plus. The teams play on the fields the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins use for spring training. 

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.

For several years, Giffen ran Roy Hobbs Baseball out of his basement and continued to work at the Beacon Journal. In the mid-1990s, as the organization brought in more and more teams, Giffen resigned from the BJ to work full time at his Roy Hobbs enterprise.

Roy Hobbs is the fictional hero of Bernard Malamud's novel, “The Natural,” and the movie with Robert Redford as Hobbs.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Akron once had 22 newspapers

B.F. Goodrich, 1871 -- Akron's first rubber factory
There were 22 newspapers in Akron from 1836 to 1854.

They were:

1836 The Akron Weekly Post.

And the following...

The Akron Journal
The Era
The American Balance
The Buzzard
Glad Tidings
The Flower of the West
The Pestalozzian
The Cascade Rourer
The Summit Beacon, (Now is the Akron Beacon Journal)
The Flail
The American Democrat
The Casket
Free-Soil Platform
The Akron Eagle
The Free Democrat
True Kindred
Akron Offering
The Free Democratic Standard
The Sockdelager
The Whip

The School-Mistress

There’s a marvelous web site with old photos of Akron landmarks, too many of them gone today. To see dozens of photos of Akron’s past on Mr. Ed’s website, click on