Sunday, March 30, 2014

College kids help BJ investigate charter schools that hide information 

So what is this NewsOutlet that provided Sunday’s BJ story about more than 100 publicly funded charter schools that refuse to disclose who is in charge of using taxpayers’ money?

Founded in 2009 and operated at Youngstown State University, The News Outlet seeks to give students experience in reporting and producing investigative and enterprise stories. Interns from Youngstown State University, the University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College produce stories for regional and statewide media partners, including its two founding media partners, WYSU-FM Radio and the Youngstown Vindicator, the BJ and Rubber City Radio.
The project began with a grant from the Raymond John Wean Foundation, and support from WYSU-FM, The Vindicator and the YSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded the News Outlet two Community Information Challenge national grants.
The content the students produce is offered first to its media partners, but then made available for use by any media organization.
The Ohio Board of Regents asked directors of NewsOutlet and Youngstown State University about ways the program could be expanded throughout the state and across the nation.

Beacon Journal staff writer Doug Livingston was the lead reporter on the charter schools project. NewsOutlet reporters who contributed to this project were Karen Bell, Harry Evans, Lee Murray, Natalia Fenton, Rachael Kerr, Ashley Morris, Max Kalik, Rachel Salyer and Matt Hawout.

To read the BJ article on the charter schools going after taxpayer money but not wanting to reveal who is benefitting and who is running the show, click on

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kent State journalism grads angry at presidential search stonewalling 

Kent State journalism graduates are outraged that the school refuses to open its records to prove that spending $250,00 on its search for a new president was legal.

Former BJ and PD editor Roger Mezger posted: “So sad to see a veteran former newsman like Eric Mansfield go over to the dark side in trying to defend Kent State's lame attempt to get away with breaking state law on open records.” Mansfield is a KSU spokesman.

Former BJ Managing Editor Tim Smith, who opened a law office after he retired from Kent State’s Communications faculty, writes:  “Their hope is that no one will sue and then they can continue to thumb their noses at the law and the public.”

Kent State named Beverly Warren, provost of Virginia Commonwealth University, as its new president. She succeeded Lester A. Lefton, who retired. Lefton began his KSU presidency in 2006.

In contrast, the University of Akron released the names and applications of 19 candidates who seek to replace Luis Proenza, who will step down to return to teaching in June. 

To read Carol Biliczky’s latest article on Kent State’s stonewalling, click on

Dunphy rocked by La Habra quake
Former BJ reporter John Dunphy got rocked by a magnitude-5.1 earthquake that struck the Los Angeles area Friday night. Its epicenter was in Orange County, one mile east of La Habra and four miles north of Fullerton. John and wife Rebecca Allen live in Lakewood, California.
More than 30 aftershocks were reported through the night. John reported a 3.6 aftershock Saturday morning.
John Dunphy's reaction  
  to La Habra earthquake 
with help from PhotoDraw
Southern Californians felt the shaking in Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties. The quake was about 5 miles deep and 10 times larger than the March 17 magnitude-4.4 quake near in energy released.
Fire officials reported several small water main breaks and gas leaks in La Habra, Fullerton and La Mirada. Southern California Edison reported at least 2,000 customers without power.
The earthquake caused a rockslide in Carbon Canyon in Brea, overturning a car causing minor injuries to one person. Carbon Canyon Road was closed. 83 people were displaced from their homes in Fullerton. Twenty apartment units in Fullerton were evacuated. Three homes in Fullerton suffered major damage. Disneyland visitors were stuck on the Matterhorn ride.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Change font, save millions 

A 14-year-old has come up with a way for the federal and state governments to save $370 million a year: Change fonts on the stuff it prints.

Garmond, with its thinner letters, requires less ink.

Suvir Mirchandani first discovered the savings when, for his science project, he tested his Pittsburgh area Dorseyville Middle School middle school 's handouts from teachers. 

Chanel No. 5 perfume costs $38 per ounce, while Hewlett-Packard printer ink is $75.

Gary Somerset, media and public relations manager at the Government Printing Office, describes Suvir's work as "remarkable." But he was noncommittal on whether the GPO would introduce changes to typeface, saying the GPO's efforts to become more environmentally sustainable were focused on shifting content to the Web.

To read the entire article, click on

Sold! BJ equipment auction takes in $23,500

Top-seller: JET milling machine

The online auction of machines, tools and other equipment from the Beacon Journal Mechanical Services department concluded Wednesday with just under $23,500 in bids.

Six items brought in about one-third of the total, with a JET milling machine commanding the top price at $3,700. Next came a Birmingham lathe ($2,300), a Delta vertical band saw ($1,000), a large work cabinet ($750), a Craftsman stack tool box ($650) and a steel work bench with vise ($550).

Every one of the 270 lots sold, with more than three-quarters of them going for under $100. The lowest winning bid was 5 cents for a debri net. Other bargain bids were 35 cents for a Rubbermaid cabinet and 70 cents for a roll-around computer station.

Each item and the winning bid is available on the Kiko Auctioneerswebsite.

Winning bidders are required to pick up their items at the Beacon Journal on Saturday, March 29, between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

BJ connection to air museum near A/C Airport

Former BJ reporter Barbara Mudrak passes along this photo with a BJ connection that she saw when she visited the Military Air Preservation Society (MAPS) Museum in Green.

Hi, John, 

Saw this in the MAPS military air museum in Green - Alliance High sophomores went on a field trip - and thought it was cool. 

It's a photo of the Goodyear Aircraft plant during the war, when 50 percent of the employees were women. It's part of the Rosie the Riveter exhibit. 

Anyway, some of them are holding up Beacons with the headline "TOKYO PLANTS AFLAME." No doubt taken by a BJ photographer.

Take care,

Barbara Mudrak

Paula and I visited the MAPS Museum in 2013 when former BJ Reference Librarian Sandy Fuller Bee Lynn and her siblings helped dedicate the MAPS display of their father, Henry Fuller, who was a World War II paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division (the famous Screaming Eagle) that jumped over Normandy on D-Day.

791 made the jump with the 502nd regiment. Henry was among the 126 survivors. 

It's an impressive collection of airplanes and separate displays of specific individuals involved in America's air wars. 

The MAPS Museum address is 2260 International Pkwy. You can see planes take off from nearby Akron/Canton Airport from MAPS. The phone number is (330) 896-6332 if you want to visit. It's worth the short hop to get there.

After leaving the BJ, Sandy worked for the Orrville and Wadsworth public libraries and lives in Doylestown. 
Composing’s Charles Stadelman dies

TALLMADGE -- Charles A. Stadelman, 90, passed away March 25, 2014. Born in Akron, Charles had lived in Tallmadge since 1972.

Charles Stadelman
He was proud to have served in the U.S. Navy and retired in 1987 from the Akron Beacon Journal after 31 years of service.

Charles was a kind and loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was the loving caregiver for his son Tommy for 60 years. Pop Pop adored his five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and his great-grandson to be born in July 2014. We will all carry your memory and your love in our hearts.

A special thank you for his caregivers at Heather Knoll.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Marie; sisters, Rita King, Margaret Stadelman and Marie Macdonald; brothers, Albert, Joseph and Edward.

He is survived by his daughter, Christine (Zavin) Miktarian of Tallmadge; sons, James (Diane) of Kent and Thomas of Stow; grandchildren, Bryan (Jenny) Stadelman of Alpharetta, Georgia, Matthew (Joanna) Stadelman of Columbus, Katie Thompson, Keegan Miktarian, both of Tallmadge, Kara Stadelman of Alexandria, Virginia; great-grandchildren, Kaylee Thompson, Anneliese Stadelman, and great-grandson to be born soon; sisters, Phyllis Nassos of Akron and Janet (Gary) Jenkins of Florida.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Saturday, March 29, 2014 at Our Lady of Victory Church, 73 North Ave., Tallmadge, with Rev. Michael Matusz officiating. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery. Visitation will be 5 until 8 p.m. Friday at the Donovan Funeral Home, 17 Southwest Ave. (on the Historic Tallmadge Circle).

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Special Olympics, 1133 19th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036 or to the charity of your choice.

Those we hold most dear never truly leave us. They live on in the happiness they showed, the joy they shared, and the love they brought into our lives. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

 The day the BJ music died
The beginning of the BJ newsroom decline began in 2001, when buyouts removed 492 years of experience.

The Beacon Journal was 175 years old on that sad day.

The horrific numbers:

Tom Melody, Jan 3, 1961                 40 years
Art Krummel, Sept. 10, 1962        
39 years
Sandy Levenson, March 14, 1966  35 years
Mickey Porter, June 20, 1966      
35 years
Joan Rice, Feb. 14, 1966           35 years
Bill Bierman, June 26, 1967       34 years
Diane Lynch, Nov. 4, 1968             33 years
George Davis, Nov. 24, 1969      
32 years
Tim Hayes, Nov. 29, 1971             30 years
Bill Canterbury, July 12, 1971    
30 years
Bob Hoiles, Jan. 8, 1973             28 years
Dennis McEaneney, Jan. 15, 1977 24 years
Mark Braykovich, Aug. 30, 1998  3 years
Barb Mudrak Galloway, Jan. 16, 1978      23 years
Steve Love, May 29, 1979          
22 years
Jim Quinn, June 29, 1981           
20 years
Laura Haferd, Feb. 22, 1982        19 years
Terence Oliver, Feb. 18, 1991    10
   Total               510 years 

As it has in newspapers all over the nation, the newsroom reductions, by whatever name you want to give them -- buyouts, layoffs -- continued.

In 2006 more than 40 said goodbye to Beacon Blue.

In 2008 another 350 years of experience walked out the door, packaged with a 15% across-the-board pay cut for those who remained.

This month the BJ notified the Guild that it wanted to pare five more newsroom bodies through buyouts.

In the Features Department alone, no longer do David Bianculli, Mark Dawidziak, Joan Rice, Jane Snow, Polly Paffilas, Don Rosenberg, Bill O'Connor and John Olesky show up. Only their ghosts remain, to chat across the room with icons Fran Murphey, Pat Englehart and Harry Liggett.

In what once had been a newsroom with maybe 250 dedicated workers, if you included reporters, editors, interns and secretaries, the total will be perilously close to 60 once the March reduction is put into place.

When Bluefield, West Virginia native John S. Knight died, his newspaper empire was worth $1 billion and his personal wealth was $200 million.

Today, looking at what has happened to the Great Depression era in-debt newspaper that he expanded into a newspaper chain, JSK may be setting the record for grave revolutions per minute. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Computers replacing reporters 
to write the stories

And now comes the ultimate downsizing, according to Professor of Computer Science Dr. Kristian Hammond.

By 2030, computers will write newspaper stories, not humans.

Impossible? Well, the Los Angeles Times published a story about a California earthquake three minutes after it happened because the whole story was artificially generated by Hammond and reporter and programmer Ken Schwencke’s computer algorithm.

Hammond said that “a computer could write stories worthy of a Pulitzer Prize by 2017.”

While the L.A. Times is open about using a computer to write stories, other newspapers are doing the same thing without revealing that no humans were involved.

Computer-written stories are feasible, the article says,  "because mainstream news reporters working for the corporate press have increasingly abandoned their role as adversarial checks against government."

To read the article, click on

Later, the PD wrote about the earthquake-story-by-computer feat, and said the PD isn't using robots yet. To read the PD reaction, click on

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BJ story on new single, album by Black Keys

The Beacon Journal story on the new single and album by The Black Keys, which includes BJ reporter Jim Carney’s son, Patrick Carney, that was reported four days ago in the BJ Alums blog.

The Black Keys, the Akron-born rock duo of drummer Pat Carney and singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach, on Monday released the lead single, Fever, from their upcoming eighth album, Turn Blue.

John Lanigan
John Lanigan retiring after 50 years on radio

Legend John Lanigan is retiring after 50 years on morning radio, including 40 in Ohio. Lanigan has been on WMJI (105.7-FM) and, before that, WGAR with a brief, unsatisfactory stint in Florida in between.

Lanigan has homes in Florida (“for when it snows”) and Colorado (“for gorgeous summer scenery”) to look forward to in his retirement. He is in his 70s.

Lanigan had a tough act to follow at WMJI – an even more legendary Don Imus, who began his New York radio splash in 1971 with Imus in the Morning. The Imus family has a cattle ranch in California, which Imus and wife Deidre still run to benefit children with cancer.

Mark Nolan will replace Lanigan. Kat Jackson will take over Nolan’s midday slot (while still working for WGAR-FM).
Cleveland radio won’t be the same without Laningan in the morning.

To read Rich Heldenfels’ excellent story on Lanigan, click on

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Russ Musarra
Musarra home from hospital

BJ newsroom retiree Russ Musarra is home after six days in the hospital. 

Reports Russ:

"My kidneys are functioning closer to normal. Thanks to everyone for their concern and prayers. Keep 'em coming."

Russ was a BJ City Desk reporter and succeeded the late Polly Paffilas as the BJ's About Town columnist. He retired in 2000. 

Russ and wife Bev will celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary April 4. They have four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren,

They moved to Streetsboro in 2003 after living 15 years in Northfield Center and 22 in Macedonia. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Carney’s Black Keys kid: New single in March, new album in May

The Black Keys, which includes BJ reporter Jim Carney’s son, Patrick Carney, will release their first single since 2011, “Fever,” on Monday, March 24. And a new album, "Turn Blue," on May 13.

Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney
It’s not that Carney and Dan Auerbach, who went from Firestone High to winning Grammy Awards for their music, haven’t been busy. 

Patrick produced Tennis’ “Young and Old” and co-produced the Black Lips' recent album, “Underneath the Rainbow.” Patrick and Auerbach toured with the Flaming Lips, hung out on "The Colbert Report" cable show and performed at the soon-to-close Roseland Ballroom in honor of Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Black Keys won three Grammys in 2013: two for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Lonely Boy” and one for Best Rock Album for “El Camino.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It’s more than over

If language is misued long enough, the "wrong" word becomes acceptable.

The latest: AP Stylebook editors decided that "over" can become interchangeable with "more than."

Merriam-Webster dictionary doesn't give that description of "over" yet. Give M-W time. 

"Further" was misused so much to describe distance, rather than "farther," that they today are used interchangeably. Bob Dyer did a recent BJ column on misuse becoming so consistent that it becomes acceptable.

Ford Motor, for example, has its latest commercials talk about "Go Further." 

Former BJ language purists Hal Fry and Art Cullison probably are spinning in their graves.

Language is not set in concrete. In dictionaries, maybe. But even the dictionaries change what is acceptable.

Long ago, gay meant a joyous, happy person, as in the Gay 90's. Today it also refers to homosexuals. 

Those who use the Bible to prove their points often overlook that the original meaning of the Jewish words have changed over the centuries and don't mean what they did when they were written. That sometimes means that today's interpretation of the Jewish word doesn't match what it meant the day it was written.

I guess the sports betting term over/under can be changed to more than/less than, huh? 

To read the entire article, click on  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Clarissa Dickson Wright
It’s all over when The Fat Lady no longer zings  

Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright passed away. You might know her better as half the hosts of TV's "Two Fat Ladies," specialists in cooking and mischief. 

Wright and co-host Jennifer Paterson drove around the countryside in a motorcyle and a sidebar. 

Wright plowed through her 2.8 million pound inheritance on gin, champagne, yachts and private plane travel when that much money could buy 10 times more of g, c, y and ppt.

She was the youngest woman barrister admitted to the English bar and out-ranked future prime minister Tony Blair at their law firm. 

Wright once had sex with an MP she refused to name behind the Speaker's chair in the House of Commons.

Happy, crazy BJ photographers of yore 

Retired BJ photographer Don Roese resurrected this great 1972 photo of the BJ camera guys in a day when they were a bit crazy and everyone was a bit happier about working at the BJ.

With the help of Don, I think they are, sitting on the floor, Ted Walls, Ron Kuner, Julius Greenfield, Ted Schneider; standing, Paul Tople, Don Roese, Hal Bailey, Bill Hunter, Lew Henderson, Tom Marvin and Ott Gangl.

Bill Hunter later headed the department after Greenie retired.

Harry Liggett’s granddaughter

continues acting career at V-M

Anna Teresa Liggett
The late BJ Alums found Harry Liggett's granddaughter, Anna Teresa Liggett, continues her acting career. Her latest will be at Princess Belle in the St. Vincent-St. Mary High production of "The Beauty and the Beast" April 10-13. BJ newsroom legend Harry's son, Tom, is Anna's father. 

Anna also did the St. V-St. M summer camp production of "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Ring" and a St. Vincent-St. Mary High School dinner murder mystery play

Erin Catherine, Anna's sister, is another granddaughter. Their parents are Tom and Sue Liggett. Tom is Community Pregnancy Center director of development.

Harry's other son, Bob Liggett, of Copley, performs with area bands.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Albrecht matriarch dies

Francia Adelaide Albrecht, born December 4, 1918, passed away peacefully in her sleep after a short illness on March 15, 2014.  She was married to Fred Albrecht, founder of the Acme/Click food markets.

To read her obituary, click on

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kissing sailor in famous photo dies 

Glenn McDuffie, identified by Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson as the sailor who kissed a nurse in the famous photo of the celebration of the end of World War II in New York City, died March 9 in Dallas. He was 86.

The photo was taken Aug. 14, 1945, by Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

McDuffie told the Associated Press that he was changing trains in New York when he was told that Japan had surrendered.

"I was so happy. I ran out in the street," said McDuffie, then 18 and on his way to visit his girlfriend in Brooklyn. "And then I saw that nurse," he said. "She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face. ... I just went right to her and kissed her. We never spoke a word. Afterward, I just went on the subway across the street and went to Brooklyn." 

There's a 26-foot-tall sculpture of that moment in downtown Sarasota, Florida. Paula and I, as have many others, had ourselves photographed in the same pose in front of that copy of the World War II-ending moment.

The "Unconditional Surrender" statue on Sarasota's bayfront on U.S. 41 went up in 2005. World War II veteran Jack Curran put up $500,000 to buy the statue, on the condition that it stay out front of city-owned Marina Jack.

Curran, a former signalman who served in the Pacific and European theaters, says he bought the statue for all the other guys out there like him, who were raised in the Great Depression and served their country in World War II and came home to their sweethearts. 

Gibson is in the 2005 Guinness Book of World Records for helping police identify more suspects than any other forensic artist.

After Gibson identified McDuffie as the sailor kissing the nurse, he began a whirlwind lifestyle of going to air shows, gun shows, fundraisers and parties to tell his story. Women would pay $10 to take a picture kissing him on the cheek.

McDuffie is survived by his daughter and two grandchildren. His funeral will be March 21 at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

To reach the entire article, click on