Monday, October 28, 2013

U.S. seizing prescription drugs from Canada

The U.S. government is seizing prescription drugs that arrive from Canada. More than one million Americans fill their prescriptions by mail through Canada.

The Food and Drug Administration says it seizes prescription drugs that arrive from other countries because it can't guarantee their safety even though many are shipped from the U.S. to Canada by their U.S. manufacturers before being returned to USA patients in their original containers.

Canadian International Pharmacy Association general mananger Steven Smith said that his group dispenses only medicine approved by Health Canada, which regulates them.

Others suggest that the U.S. government is bowing to the powerful pharmaceutical lobby.

This year alone, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there were recalls of some lots of U.S.-made Marcaine, Cefepime, Albuterol Sulfare inhalation solution, Lidocaine, Bupivacaine, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, Estarylla, Enteric coated .81 mg aspirin (aka baby aspirin), Warfarin (oversized tablets, an overdose), Magnesium Sulfare, Methotrexate Sodium, Reumofan Plus tablets (undeclared drug ingredients), Ferrous Sulfate 325 mg tablets (may contain Meclizine HCL 25 mg), Mitosol (mitomycin), compounds for renal patients, pharmaceuticals repackaged by Aidapak, ApotheCure, Clinical Specialities Compounding and Green Valley, and dozens of others over sterility assurance concerns.

Also Avastin syringes and Metoclopramide, Cubicin (Daptomycin), Benztropine Mesylate, Vecuronium Bromide, Piperacillin, Tazobactam, Sodium Chloride, Benztropine Mesylate, Omontys (peginesatide) and Vistide (Cidofovir), Vecuronium Bromide for injection.

Most drugs approved in the U.S. are based on information provided by the pharmaceutical firms from their drug trials. The FDA does little or no testing of drugs before they hit the U.S. market.

BJ newsroom retiree John Olesky, after he hit the dreaded donut hole, saved $1,000 to $1,500 a year by getting his prescriptions from Canada. Prescriptions via that route cost half to one-tenth as much as the identical medication purchased in the United States.

This year, after being among the 50 Composing and Newsroom retirees who won their healthcare lawsuit against the Beacon Journal, Olesky pays only $4 for each 90-day prescription, brand name or generic. Previously, the brand name drugs cost Olesky up to $300 for each prescription once he hit the donut hole.

To read the entire article, click on

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Harry Liggett moved to Copley Health Center

BJ Guild retiree Harry Liggett has been moved to Copley Health Center, 155 Heritage Woods Drive, Montrose, Room A203. I visited him Sunday.

Harry's son, Tom, sent this missive:

"Hello John : My dad was moved to Copley Health Care Friday night. He does not eat much so he has a feeding tube. His immediate physical status is as good as we can expect after all he has been through. we are not even looking at treating the cancer issue at this point . He is too weak. His mental status is better some days than others. Dementia is starting to take over."

Harry went from Akron General surgeries and ICU to Select Speciality Hospital on West Market Street to Copley Health
Center, 155 Heritage Woods Drive in Copley.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Harry Liggett very seriously ill

BJ Alums blog founder Harry Liggett, BJ newsroom retiree, has been hit with cancer and dementia, according to his son.
The reply from Bob Liggett, Harry's son, to my inquiry when I didn't hear from Harry for nearly two months:
"Dad is at Select Specialty Hospital on West Market Street near downtown. Across the street from Haven of Rest. He has had two surgeries. Had cancer. They might move Dad to a rehab place in Copley today or early next week. Dad also came down with a case of dementia. Currently his room is 211. Thank u for asking."
Harry had surgeries at Akron General Hospital in late August.
Ohio State graduate Harry attended his Dennison High School reunion in July. He was assistant news editor at the BJ but is better known for being a part of the crack 1970s State Desk team under the whip of the late Pat Englehart, who died in Florida in 1995. Pat was the whirlwind commander; Harry came along and reorganized the debris.

John Olesky was the third member of the terrific triumvirate. John joined the BJ at the age of 38, but Pat and Harry in less than a decade taught John more about how to be a good newspaper editor than John had learned in all his previous years combined.
 Harry is a long-time member of St. Paul Catholic Church on Brown Street in Akron and lives on Firestone Boulevard.
The great love of Harry's life is Helen Smolak Liggett, daughter of Czech immigrants. She passed away June 26, 2010. She was born Nov. 15, 1930 in Perry Township in Carroll County. Helen was a 1948 graduate of Immaculate Conception High School in Dennison. She is buried in Akron's Holy Cross Cemetery.
Harry and Helen were married in the Immaculate Conception Church in 1956. They moved to Akron when Harry was hired by the Beacon Journal in 1965. 

Since Helen's death, Harry's Facebook page has been adorned with photos of Helen and her beloved flowers on the Liggett property and tributes to her from Harry.
Harry and Helen have two sons.

Harry Liggett, John Olesky in retirement
Tom Liggett is Community Pregnancy Center director of development and a graduate of Hoban High and the University of Akron. He is married to Susan and lives in Akron.

Bob Liggett works at KeyCorp. He also is a Hoban and University of Akron graduate, in accounting. Bob lives in Akron. 
Harry dotes on his granddaughters, often skipping BJ retirees lunches at Papa Joe's on Akron-Peninsula Road to be with them.

Harry attended granddaughter St. Vincent-St. Mary freshman Anna Teresa Liggett's performance at a St. V-St. M summer camp production of "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Ring" in July. Erin Catherine, Anna's sister, is another granddaughter. Their parents are Tom and Sue Liggett.

Harry's passion for accurate, concise reporting was legendary. Hopefully, this article meets Harry's standards.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cincinnati native new BJ publisher

Cincinnati native Mark Cohen, 57, chief operating officer and vice president of operations of Seattle-based Pioneer Newspaper Group, will become Beacon Journal publisher Nov. 18.

Mark Cohen
Cohen started his career as a sales executive with the Cincinnati Enquirer before becoming a Thomson Newspapers division manager and vice president, Florida Times-Union advertising and marketing director in Jacksonville and vice president of advertising for more than 100 weeklies and six dailies in the Boston market for GateHouse Media.

Cohen and wife Michelle have two adult children who live in Indianapolis and Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

Cohen replaces Andrea Mathewson, who retired in September after six years at the helm of the newspaper and She had a 36-year career at the newspaper and was its first female publisher, succeeding Edward Moss.

The BJ’s first publishers were C.L. Knight and his son, John S. Knight, who founded Knight Newspapers, Inc.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sheldon Ocker to retire at end of year

Sheldon Ocker, who has been covering Cleveland Indians baseball since the late Bob Nold got tired of being on that treadmill, will retire from the Beacon Journal at the end of the year.

Sheldon’s email:

Sheldon Ocker
I'm retiring at the end of the year, but there is no mandatory retirement age. I'm a little tired of working 68 hours a week from mid-February to the end of baseball season, but I will be looking for part-time work, since I've seen all the episodes of “Housewives of Orange County” on TV.

I had hip replacement surgery four weeks ago, and everything is progressing well.

I am married and have two children, neither of which lives in the area.
Bob Nold passed away in 2009. Sheldon and Bob formed an elite group in the BJ Sports Department with Tom Melody, Jack Patterson, Dick Shippy, Larry Pantages and Dan Thom.
There had been reports that the BJ and the Guild signed a contract setting a mandatory age limit of 70 for retirement. Sheldon says there’s no mandatory retirement age at the BJ.

Sheldon covered Saturday’s Ohio State football victory over Iowa. Although the BJ, with its downsized staff, also relies on Buckeyes  coverage by the Associated Press’ Rusty Miller.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Benefits keep piling up for BJ lawsuit winners

Starting in April, the Beacon Journal payment for the AARP secondary coverage to Medicare to the 48 people who won the healthcare lawsuit against the BJ will increase to $154 a month. That's an annual savings of $1,848 for lawsuit retirees.

Medicare pays 80% of what it allows for medical costs. AARP pays most of the other 20%. The yearly savings in this category are in the thousands for many lawsuit retirees.

Retired printers pay $10 for 90-day prescriptions. Guild retirees pay $4 for 90-day prescriptions. This category is saving lawsuit retirees thousands of dollars a year in medications.

The prescriptions, premium payments and medical costs payments add up to a tidy sum for those who won the lawsuit.

Lawsuit winners also received reimbursements in the thousands of dollars for medical expenses caused by the BJ changing the coverage despite retirement letters prohibiting such changes.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009 and settled in late 2012. The changes were effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Benefitting are Gina White, of Venice, Florida, who with the late Dave White, her husband, began the lawsuit on behalf of the printers; Bob and Linda Abbott, Massillon; Ruth and Tom West, Rittman; Sid Sprague, Loveland, Colorado; Hugh and Sharon Downing, The Villages, Florida; Larnie and Stephanie Greene, Hartville; Joe Catalano, Akron; Lloyd and Claudine Bigelow, Cuyahoga Falls; John Costello, Akron; Dick Gresock, Medina; Henry and Kathleen Heinbuck, North Canton; Denzil Parker, Wadsworth; Rita Reeves, Akron; Bob Walker, Medina; Cecil and Josephine Santaferro, Akron; Isabel Watson (Blanton’s widow), Naples, Florida; Janice Hogg (Trammel’s widow), Waynesville, North Carolina; Russ and Martel Bendel, Wadsworth; Eunice and Bonnie Collins, Copley; Richard and Patricia Fair, Akron; Marjorie Hanna, Wadsworth; Bob Kendall, Berlin Center; Harriet Ledbetter, Canton; Norm and Naomi Mattern, Wellsville; Charles O’Neill, Akron; Fred Pollack, Akron; Don Reppart, North Canton; Ron Sanderlin, Canton; Charles Stadelman, Tallmadge; and Ray and Amaryllis Wolfe, Greentown.

Guild lawsuit retirees are John Olesky, of Tallmadge, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Guild retirees; retired reporter Dick McBane, Lilburn, Georgia; maintenance retiree Harold Bailey and wife Elizabeth, Kent; copy desk retiree Dick McLinden, North Canton, and retired photographer Don Roese, Cuyahoga Falls.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cuyahoga Falls among 150 Patch sites losing local staffs

Cuyahoga Falls Patch and the other 16 Ohio Patch sites, along with about 150 of the 900 across the country, are being downsized by their owner, New York-based AOL. Gone will be the local staffing, reports editor John Deike. AOL laid off about half of its 1,000 employees in New York.

Coverage in recent weeks has shifted from local news to Northeast Ohio and national Patch items, defeating the original purpose of the Patch site, which was to provide intense local coverage that mainstream newspapers like the Beacon Journal, which beat Patch to the downsizing game, didn’t have the personnel to handle. And hope to lure advertisers from the mainstream papers to the Patch sites.

Deike wrote that Cuyahoga Falls Patch will remain open to anyone in the community who wants to share a blog, post an event, celebrate an announcement or promote a small business. Just don’t expect a news staff to be there to respond.

Dave Wilson, who had been downsized in 2006 after 18 years at the BJ, was the first Cuyahoga Falls Patch editor.

Former BJ reporter Kymberli Hagelberg was editor of the Fairlawn-Bath Patch.

Monday, October 14, 2013

4th name for former International Herald Tribune

Today, the International Herald Tribune. Tomorrow, the International New York Times. The New York Times’ Paris-based international paper will change names, not uncommon for that newspaper.

It started in 1887 as the Paris Herald, the European edition of the parent New York Herald.

The newspaper was sold in 1924 to the New York Tribune and became the Paris Herald Tribune.

In 1966 the New York Herald Tribune merged into the short-lived New York World Journal and ceased publication, but the Whitney family kept the Paris paper going in partnership with the Washington Post.

 In 1967 the New York Times also became a joint owner and the name changed to the International Herald Tribune.

And now the newspaper has its fourth name in 126 years.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Think Pink. And think again.

Don’t just Think Pink. Think about whether your money will go into breast cancer research.

Buying pink merchandise in October is not a guarantee that your purchase will help the fight against breast cancer. Look for products that name a specific charity.

Just donate directly to an organization like Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), National Breast Cancer Foundation, or the American Cancer Society.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Foods that fight the flu

7 flu-fighting foods, according to the October AARP bulletin:

1. Black-eyed peas. Rich in zinc, as are pinto beans, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds and wheat germ.

2. Carrots. Contains beta-carotene, which wards off respiratory infections. So do dark-green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.

3. Tea. Green, black and oolong. Contains quercetin and L-teanine. Herbal teas don't.

4. Yogurt. Contains probiotics. So do cottage cheese, Korean dish kimci and sauerkraut.

5. Tomatoes. Rich in Vitamin C and selenium.

6. Mushrooms. Boosts natural killer cells to ward off viral infections.

7. Almonds. Contains Vitamin E. Works best as chopped almonds, almond butter or almond oil.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

John Dunphy's brother, Paul, dies

Paul Dunphy, brother of former BJ reporter and Orange County (California) Register retiree John Dunphy, passed away Oct. 3.

Paul Dunphy
Cincinnati St. Xavier University graduate John, battling esophageal cancer for more than a year, and wife Rebecca Allen flew from their Lakewood, California home to Cincinnati for Paul's funeral.

John's other siblings (and their spouses) are Harry (Verity), Stephen (Mary Elayne), Sister Pat, Maureen Welling (Mike), Peter (Patty), Dennis (Wendy), and Christine Barnett (Mike).
Their father, Harry Dunphy, died in Cincinnati in 2011 at the age of 95. Their mother, Angela Dunphy, predeceased Harry.

Teacher Paul's funeral home web site was filled with tributes from his students at St. Gertrude's in Cincinnati, a Dominican school.

Paul's obituary:

DUNPHY Paul Thomas, devoted husband of Mary (nee

Fugazzi), beloved father to Julie and Katie Tranter (Chris),

and adored grandfather of Alyssa. Loving brother to Harry

(Verity), Stephen (Mary Elayne), Sr. Pat, John (Rebecca),

Maureen Welling (Mike), Peter (Patty), Dennis (Wendy), and

Christine Barnett (Mike). Fun loving uncle to many nieces

and nephews. Dear friend to many. Inspirational teacher to

his students. His passions included family and friends,

teaching, golfing, gardening, and watching THE Ohio State

Buckeyes. Joined the Lord on October 3rd at the age of 63.

Visitation will be held at the St. Gertrude's Parish Center on

October 7th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm; 7630 Shawnee Run Road,

Cincinnati, OH, 45243. Funeral services at St. Gertrude's

Church will be held on October 8th at 9:30 am. In lieu of

flowers, memorial donations can be made to St. Gertrude's


Saturday, October 05, 2013

Derf, Batiuk at KSU Comics Festival

John "Derf" Backderf
Former BJ artist John “Derf” Backderf and Tom Batiuk, who produces “Funky Winkerbean” and “Crankshaft” comic strips with another former BJ artist, Chuck Ayers, will give graphic story presentations at the first Kent Comic Arts Festival Oct. 19 in the Kent State University Student Center.

Batiuk will discuss 40 Years of Funky Winkerbean at 11 a.m. Backderf will talk about My Friend Dahmer at noon.

There also will be a VIP party from 7 to 10 p.m. in Kent’s Zephyr Pub for mingling with the festival’s celebrity guests.

Kent State graduate Batiuk spent several years as a middle school art teacher before creating his comic strips with Ayers, a 1971 Kent State grad.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Dawidziak adds Civil War to his repetoire

       PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak and wife Sara Showman, who have toured the area with Largely Literary Theater Company productions about Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, have added the Civil War to their presentations.

Sara Showman, Mark Dawidziak
        Company co-founders Sara and Mark will present their new touring show, “Shades of Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War,”  at the Nordonia Hills Branch of the Akron-Summit County Library and the Cuyahoga Falls Library.

Performed by Showman (from the South) and Dawidziak (from the North), this hour show blends literary selections with ghost stories from Ohio and other states. The literary interludes include poetry by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, as well as a terror tale by Ohio native and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce. The show also features a special section about Abraham Lincoln.

The free “Shades of Blue and Gray” performance at the Nordonia Hills Branch Library at 9458 Olde Eight Road in Northfield will be 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. For additional information, contact the library at 330-467-8595 or go to 

The free performance at the Cuyahoga Falls Library  at  2015 Third Street  will be 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. For information, contact the library at 330-928-2117 or go to

Another stop for “Shades of Blue and Gray” will be the historic Kelton House in Columbus on Sunday, Oct. 20.

The duo also is touring “Ghosts By the Tale,”  its two-part presentation that 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. Showman’s segment ends with a cautionary tale about three old witches who selfishly deny aid to a stranger – and live to regret it.  Dawidziak shifts to 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 also performs “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 version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” 

The company’s managing director, Showman performs several storytelling programs, including “Animal Tales,” “Earth Tales” and “Holiday Stories with Mrs. Santa Claus,” at area schools and libraries. She 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.” 

The company’s artistic director, Dawidziak plays Mark Twain and Charles Dickens in Largely Literary productions. He 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 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”. And he has penned horror short stories and comic book scripts.

 For information about bookings and other shows, call 330-923-8350 or go to