Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to cover Obamacare? Localize it!

How should newspapers write about the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare? Tell the readers what it means specifically for them, Tampa Tribune health reporter Mary Shedden writes.

Also, don’t talk to advocates for or against Obamacare. Both sides provide inaccurate information to promote their agendas. Keep politics out of explanatory stories.

With the Oct. 1 launch of the online marketplace, gobs of money are being spent to attract an estimated 48 million uninsured Americans.

In response, IBM, Time Warner, Walgreens, K-Mart, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other major retail and restaurant companies are switching from insuring their employees to giving them money and forcing their employees to find and buy their own coverage.
ACA/Obamacare lumbers toward its biggest milestone Jan. 1 – mandatory health insurance for nearly all Americans.



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Headlines about Navy Yard mass shooting

Headlines from the Navy yard rampage that killed 12 people plus the shooter.

From the Bakersfield Californian, Boston Herald, Boston Metro, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Daily News, USA Today, Virginian Pilot and Washington Post.

Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor who had been discharged from the service after "a pattern of misconduct," murdered a dozen people at the Washington Navy Yard.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Jane Snow deals with tomato tornado

Jane Snow, perhaps the best food writer in BJ history, got her Savory Tomato Tart story and recipe on HGExpo.com, which also has articles on home remodeling and building projects.

The problem with tomatoes, Jane writes, is that they all ripen at the same time so you have an avalanche of those red, ripe vegetables (or are they fruits?) and you have to find a way to use a bunch of them quickly.

Being Jane, retired from the BJ since 2006 but still writing a good column on her JaneSnowToday blog, she concocted a recipe that includes five tomato species (or is that varieties?).

Here’s how the website describes HGExpo:

HGExpo is designed to inspire homeowners and connect them to qualified, professional home improvement contractors who can help turn those inspirations into reality.

To read Jane’s article, and get her recipe, click on http://www.hgexpo.com/blog/garden-to-table-savory-tomato-tart.html

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Scammers using Obamacare ploys

With Obamacare kicking in, scammers are busy trying to trick the elderly into giving banking or credit card information or Social Security numbers.

Some of the scams:

1.  You need a special card for Obamacare, and you are required to give the information or you won’t be covered. Don’t do it. There’s no such thing as a special card for Obamacare.

2.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $67 million in grants to community organizations to help you sign up for coverage through  health care exchanges (also called marketplaces) when open enrollment starts Oct. 1. Scam artists are posing as community “navigators” to gather your personal information -- such as your Social Security number -- to try to steal your identity, or to sell you phony health insurance. Don’t do it. And don’t click on their web sites either. YOU find a navigator in your area through your state’s exchange so you’ll know you’re dealing with a legitimate outfit.

3.  Medicare beneficiaries receive calls from insurance agents -- or people posing as insurance agents -- telling them that they’re going to lose their Medicare benefits or access to their doctors because of Obamacare and that they should sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan instead. They either steal the person’s premiums entirely or get a commission from the sale. Don’t do it. Ask your doctor if he/she still is participating in Medicare or your Medicare Advantage plan before making any changes.

Best tactic: Ignore all calls that YOU didn’t initiate.

Beacon Journal retirees keep their same coverage when Obamacare kicks in so they don't need to do anything to keep their usual coverage.

Tom Marvin still barn-building

Former BJ photographer Tom Marvin, when he isn’t traveling thousands of miles through Canada, Mexico and the United States or strumming the guitar for more than six decades, builds barns on his farm near Salt Fork State Park.

Tom Marvin (inset & on right at barn)

As for his third barn-building, on son Brian's property near Johnstown, Ohio, Tom explains:  
My two sons, Steve and Brian, and I did almost all of it. We had help from my son-in-law Craig Geese and my brother-in-law Bob Lecraft putting up the roof trusses.

“A real family affair, even my wife and daughter-in-law helped at times. This is the third barn that I have built, two of them on our farm near Salt Fork.”
Tom and wife Kay Ann Shaffer Marvin of Coshocton live on a farm in Guernsey County, just north of Salt Fork State Park, near I-77 and north of Cambridge, and is a former Monroe Township trustee.
They met when Tom was transportation supervisor and Kay was a school secretary for the same school district. They will celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary Oct. 1.

Tom and wife Kay have driven 3,000 miles along the Gulf Coast and up through Appalachia and another 10,000 miles, most of it in Alaska, by spending months in their campers. Tom retired from the BJ in 2001.

Tom and Kay have seven children between them.
His are Steve Marvin, a bank assistant vice president who lives in Cambridge; Brian Marvin, who lives in Worthington and is a Reynoldsburg police detective; Misty Bellon, a registered nurse living in Eunice, Louisiana, who is married with a son, Nick; and Beth Marvin Stevens, a Los Angeles attorney, from Tom’s marriage to former BJ staffer and former Hoover High School English and journalism teacher Pam McCarthy, with a son, Jackson Marvin Stevens.

Kay’s children are Tim Wilson, an electric company forester in Florida; Debi Geese, who lives in Fresno, Ohio and is married with two children; and Brett Wilson, a contractor in Coshocton.

Tom and Kay have 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Their neighbor is Mark Kovack, who handles computers for the BJ.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Catching Up With . . . Mark Price

Mark J. Price’s “This Place, This Time” articles in the Beacon Journal, along with Bob Dyer’s humor-tinged columns, are two of the brightest stars in what’s left of the BJ newsroom personnel.

At my urging, Kent State journalism graduate Mark provides information about his book, “The Rest Is History: True Tales from Akron’s Vibrant Past,” a publication of many of his articles:
Mark’s reply:

Thanks for the interest!
It's been an interesting year -- to say the least. I never thought that people would line up to hear me speak or have me sign books for them. As a committed social phobic, I couldn't believe it when I found myself standing behind podiums or being interviewed for local radio and TV. It's been fun meeting readers and talking about the past, or running into people I haven't seen in years. At every signing, readers suggest ideas for more stories about local history.

Mark Price
The title of my book is "The Rest Is History: True Tales from Akron's Vibrant Past." Sales have been good. The first three printings sold out. Granted, they were small printings, but the public response has been wonderful. I've heard so many nice compliments from readers.
 My book features 100 stories about local history. Since I've written more than 800 articles, we have plenty of material for a sequel if the UA Press is interested. Maybe next year.
I've been at the Beacon Journal since February 1997. Before that, I worked at the Repository for a decade. I've wanted to work here since childhood. The name of my sixth-grade newspaper was the Akron Beacon Juniors.
 A lot of readers don't realize that I am a full-time copy editor, not a reporter. I do my research and writing before and after my copy-editing shift at night. It's flattering that readers think I'm a full-time writer. My one story a week must have an impact!
 It was my idea to start the history feature in 1998. It was supposed to be a rotation of three or four writers. I never expected to be a weekly columnist. I didn't think I had the time! It just worked out that way, though. I could tell that readers liked these stories, and I didn't want to disappoint them by skipping a week when other writers weren't available. So I wrote more and more stories. I still feel guilty if I have to skip a week. I try to write features in advance for the weeks when I'm on vacation.
 Yes, I'm married to Susan Gapinski Price. We met on the copy desk. We sit across the desk from one another at work.
Thanks for reading my stories, John.
Keep up the great work on the blog.
 Mark’s book came out in March 2012. If you’re interested in the 225-page paperback version, it’s available on Amazon.com for $11.74 to $14.46.
Mark and Sue were married in 2010.

BJ prescription coverage meets Obamacare standards

The Beacon Journal's prescription coverage is considered "Creditable Coverage" under Obamacare, the BJ reports, and BJ retirees can keep the coverage and not have to pay a higher premium penalty if they later decide to join a Medicare drug plan.

The letters began arriving today to BJ retirees.

The 50 retired printers and Guild members who won the healthcare lawsuit against the BJ have different, better coverage -- $5 co-pay for the printers and $2 co-pay for the Guild retirees. They also have both Medicare and AARP Supplemental medical coverage for substantially better terms than retirees not benefitting from the lawsuit, saving most of the lawsuit winners thousands of dollars a year.

TV newscaster John Hambrick dies

John Hambrick, a former TV newscaster familiar to viewers in markets from New York to Los Angeles, died of lung cancer in Round Rock, Texas, on Tuesday. He was 73.

John Hambrick
Hambrick anchored WEWS in Cleveland from 1967 to 1975, where local ratings rose from third to first during his tenure. He once called his Cleveland stint his greatest success.

He also anchored news programs in San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Cincinnati and Beaumont, Texas, before his career ended in the 1990s.

His younger brothers, Judd and Mike, followed in his footsteps. At one time, all three were anchoring newscasts in major markets.

In Cleveland, Hambrick was succeeded on the WEWS anchor desk by Ted Henry, who called Hambrick “a friend, a colleague and a mentor.”

“He always had a word for me about how I could improve my skills. I learned enormously from him.”

Some notable events covered by Hambrick during his career of 30-plus years included meeting with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican in 1987 and urban riots in Cleveland and Cincinnati. In the latter, he and his cameraman were badly beaten by an angry mob, which also smashed their gear and news car. He also covered multiple presidential nominating conventions.

Hambrick studied at the University of Texas and California State College at Los Angeles, planning to be a teacher. But he was bitten by the acting bug and spent several years in Hollywood where he had supporting roles in various movies and TV shows before eventually landing a broadcast news job.

In every community where he served as a broadcast journalist, Hambrick was involved with a variety of charities and other causes. In Ohio, he chaired the American Cancer Society statewide campaign after his mother was killed by that disease.

Hambrick was honored with many professional awards over the years, including an Emmy in 1984 for co-anchoring the best newscast in New York with Chuck Scarborough.
Scarborough, who still anchors at WNBC, recalled that his former partner was a dedicated broadcast journalist: “He was thorough in his research, relentless in his pursuit of a story and, above all, a master of his craft with an intense, high-energy delivery that commanded attention.”

Beacon Journal staff report on Ohio.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dawidziak's wife does everything in 'Pirate's Life'

 Sara Showman, wife of PD entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak, who had the same job at the BJ before he was among two dozen BJ-ers who fled north to Cleveland, did everything except sell the tickets for The Largely Literary Theater Company’s newest touring show, “Under the Skull and Cross Bones: A Pirate’s Life for Me,” which will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Cuyahoga Falls Library.  

From left: Sara Showman, Alex Nine, Jim Fippin
Sara didn’t sell tickets because the show is free. Otherwise, she had a hand in about everything.

Writes Mark:
 “This one is a mighty effort on Sara's part. She researched it, wrote it, cast it, directed it and made most of the props and costumes. She's really in touch with her inner pirate.

“Under the Skull and Cross Bones”  mixes history and comedy with Showman, Alex J. Nine and Jim Fippin.  It spotlights such pirates as Blackbeard, Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts, Long John Silver and Captain Hook.

The Largely Literary Theater Company was founded by Mark and Sara in 2001 to promote literacy, literature and live theater. The troupe has toured its versions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and “The Tell-Tale Play,”  a collection of poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe, to Akron, Cleveland, Columbus and more than 40 other Ohio cities.

Fippin is the former artistic director at Akron’s Coach House Theatre who often appears in Weathervane Playhouse and Ohio Shakespeare Festival productions.

Akron native and University of Akron graduate Nine has acted or directed at most of the theaters in the greater Akron area.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Sue Kirkman Zake joins Kent State faculty

Susan Kirkman Zake
Susan Kirkman Zake, former managing editor for multimedia and special projects at the Beacon Journal, has been named assistant professor of journalism at Kent State University.

Susan was the first web advisor for KentNewsNet for its 2007 launch.

She began her 20-year BJ career as a photographer in 1986. Her BJ titles were assignment editor, picture editor, graphics editor, assistant metro editor and assistant managing editor.

Susan was part of two BJ Pulitzer-winning teams -- The Goodyear takeover attempt by Sir Goldsmith and the Question of Color series -- and a third Pulitzer for coverage of Hurricane Katrina by the Biloxi (Mississippi) Sun Herald.

She is married to Bruce Zake.

Her Kent State email address is
szake@kent.edu and her Kent State phone number is

Friday, September 06, 2013

Dunphy report: No new cancer cells

Former BJ reporter John Dunphy celebrated his birthday Aug. 30 and is playing golf – 8 over for 12 holes at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club -- while continuing to deal with his esophageal cancer.

John Dunphy, Rebecca Allen
John, contributing editor at Southland Golf and a former reporter for the Orange County Register in California, had Cincinnati Skyline Chili for his birthday, courtesy of his wife, Orange County Register deputy Features editor Rebecca Allen, in their Lakewood, California home. And white cake with chocolate frosting, his favorite.
 Rebecca’s latest report on John’s health status via Facebook: “No little free radical cancer cells running around .... Yahoo! Dunphy had an endoscopy today to stretch the opening of what he calls his ‘pie hole.’ All went well. He will see the oncologist to review the latest PET scan, which the surgeon said showed no sign of any new cancer.”

Writes John: “I am so lucky to have Rebecca in my life. She works so hard every day and can come home and whip up a dinner worthy of Gourmet Magazine.”

John was part of the late Pat Englehart’s crack team that brought the BJ a Pulitzer for its coverage of the 1970 Ohio National Guard shooting that killed four and wounded nine Kent State students. “I spent more than 7 years full-time covering all the investigations and trials,” John wrote. 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

U.S. attacks Syria, hackers attack America?

If the United States attacks Syria then the Syrian Electronic Army, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may launch another hacking attack on American web sites.

This is the same group that caused Internet users trying to access The New York Times website to be steered to servers controlled by the Syrian Electronic Army. The Syrian group tricked Domain Name System employees into giving up their passwords.

It’s a ragtap group, including teenagers, who plaster pro-regime propaganda across some of the Internet's most trafficked sites, a U.S. official told CNN.

In April, the SEA caused a brief panic and stock market drop when it hacked the Associated Press Twitter feed and sent a fake message:  "Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured."



Rockies, easy; backyard, not so much

Ann Sheldon Mezger hiking Glacier National Park, which is safer than her backyard
Apparently an Ohio backyard is more dangerous than traipsing through the wilderness – at least for retired BJ Features Editor Ann Sheldon Mezger.

Ann explains on her Facebook page:

After a week at Glacier and Waterton National Parks, hiking mountain trails, scrambling over rocks, sloshing though a marsh, I come home and sprain my ankle gardening in the backyard.”

Ann Sheldon Mezger, Roger Mezger
Ann and husband Roger Mezger, among about two dozen BJ folks who switched to the Plain Dealer, took a train trip to Glacier National Park, which covers a million acres in Montana, and roamed on some of the 700 miles of former Blackfeet and Flathead tribes’ trails.
Waterton is adjacent to Glacier, with part of Waterton spilling over into Canada in the land of the Rocky Mountains. The Blackfeet called Glacier, declared a national park 103 years ago, “the backbone of the world.”
 Ann’s backyard, and community garden, provide a visual feast of food and flowers. She often supplied her BJ co-workers with tomatoes and other eatings from her gardens.
Other than spraining her ankle, Ann also has to be concerned about corn-loving raccoons, which feasted on her plantings two years ago. And not just by looking at the corn.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

BJ publisher leaving

Andrea Mathewson
Akron Beacon Journal Publisher Andrea Mathewson, 54, an Akron native and Springfield High School graduate who joined the BJ when she was 18 as a classified ad-taker, will retire at the end of September after six years as the BJ’s first female publisher in its 168-year history.
Mathewson was named publisher in 2007 after Edward Moss unexpectedly resigned.

Rick O’Connor, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Black Press, which owns the BJ, said “We will start immediately to look for a replacement.” Bruce Winges is BJ editor and vice president and Jim DeLuca is BJ vice president for circulation.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Connie Bloom first at Peninsula Fabric Art Show

Former BJ Features Department editor/pet columnist Connie Bloom won first place for non-functional work at the Peninsula Fabric Art Show with fabric art of her dog, Lily.

Connie is known throughout the Ohio fabric art (quilt) world for her work.

Jim Carney enjoys 64th birthday

Beacon Journal reporter Jim Carney, far left, enjoys his 64th birthday with friends.

Jim is married to BJ reporter Katie Byard.

Jim’s son, Patrick Carney, is part of the hugely successful Black Keys Grammy-winning band.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Amish newspapers thrive in digital age

Saturday's Wall Street Journal carried a front-page story on newspapers that cover news from the Amish and Mennonite communities, including The Budget, which is published just down the road in Tuscarawas County.

The WSJ observed, "While many newspapers are struggling and competing with the Internet, the Budget isn't. Its 18,000 subscribers for the most part don't text, email, have computers or smartphones. They use the Budget, which is mailed to their homes, to keep them informed, post notices or exchange helpful hints."