Friday, November 28, 2014

Mary Lou Woodcock's husband dies

Richard T. Woodcock, 70, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on November 25, 2014.

His widow, Mary Lou Woodcock, was the Administrative Assistant to BJ publishers and presidents back to John McMillion.

He was born February 14, 1944 in Akron to the late Thomas and Marcia Woodcock.

Richard worked as a tire builder at General Tire, was co-owner of Glen Dot Security, also worked for Asarco Mining & Refining in Tucson, Ariz., serviced offshore oil rigs for Muchowich Offshore Oil Services, was a reporter for The Independent (Massillon), and was a member of the Akron Baptist Temple.

Richard is survived by his wife of 39 years, Mary Lou; sons, Richard (Celena) Woodcock II and Steve (Kristine) Woodcock; brothers, Thomas (Tammy) Woodcock and Michael Woodcock; sister, Lois (Thomas) Von Gunten; grandchildren, Savannah, Cody, and Richard III; and great-grandchildren, Ava and Athena.

Friends may call at Bacher Funeral Home, 3326 Manchester Rd., on Friday, November 28, 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., with service beginning at 10:30 a.m., Rev. Larry Knight officiating. A final military salute will be presented by Firestone Post 3383 in honor of Richard's service to his country. Interment at Greenlawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Haven of Rest Ministries in memory of Richard. Funeral home map, directions, and the Woodcock Family condolence book are available at the funeral home website.

Bacher - Portage Lakes


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tom wraps up 11th season in Florida

Tom Giffen (seated), Tom Moore (left), Mike Williams
Former sports editor Tom Giffen, the guy in charge, BJ newsroom retiree Thomas C. Moore and BJ advertising makeup retiree Mike Williams wrapped up the 2014 Roy Hobbs Baseball Series for older players in Fort Myers, Florida.

The diamond dandies cavorted Oct. 22-Nov. 22. 

Champions were crowned to 23 divisions, determined by the players’ ages.

Rick "Mac" McGalliard of Barberton and  Roger Begue of Uniontown must be pretty good at it because they were inducted into the 2014 Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame class.

Tom Moore wrote:
Wrapped up another year with the Roy Hobbs World Series (my 11th) and as usual it was great with more than 230 amateur baseball teams from all over the U.S, Canada, Russia, Dominican, Puerto Rico.

“It just shows there is a great life after retirement and the Akron Beacon Journal.”
For Tom and Mike, it’s a break from Akron weather on the Gulf Coast.
 In the photo are three guys with a combined 90+ years of BJ experience: 29 for Tom, 44 for Mike and 13 for Tom, who has more years with other Knight newspapers.
The league was named after the character played by Robert Redford in "The Natural," a 1984 movie based on Barnard Malamud's 1952 book. Roy Hobbs goes from obscurity to a hitting sensation at age 35, using his Wonderboy bat that was made from a tree struck by lightning.
Locally, where Giffen took over the Roy Hobbs League during his days as BJ sports editor, the Hudson Explorers clinched the 2009 Northeast Ohio AAA division by beating the Firestone Park Rangers, 9-8, in the double-elimination tournament. Later, Giffen bought the Roy Hobbs name from its California creator, took it to Fort Myers and has been enjoying luxury for its profits. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Forget D or R. Check million-dollar pre-buying of Senate and Congress

Former BJ labor writer and later union flak Curt Brown got me thinking with his email stating: 78 members of Congress have family members who are lobbyists working on contracts worth $2 billion.

It’s worst than that, Curt. Those who leave office are reaping millions of dollars as “lobbyists” to the companies they were supposed to protect the public against.
How profitable is it for Congress and Senate members to become lobbyists after they leave office: On average, their pay jumps 1,452%!

Former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) fought derivatives reforms for a year before he left office to become a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, a derivatives trading company.

Former Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA), who retired from Congress in 2005 after leading the passage of President Bush’s prescription drug expansion written by lobbyists, made $19.3 million in five years as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies.

Former Congressman Cal Dooley (D-CA) has made at least $4.7 million as a lobbyist for food manufacturers and the chemical industry from 2005 to 2009 after his retirement from Congress. His annual pay is up 1,357% over his last Congressional yearly paycheck.

Former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), hired as a Motion Picture Association of America lobbyist, makes $1.5 million a year – a 762% pay raise from his Senate paychecks.

Former Congressman and NFL player Steve Largent (R-OK) has $8.8 million as a lobbyist for a coalition of cell phone companies and related wireless industry interests, a 912% pay raise. 

Former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) makes $2.1 million as an unregistered lobbyist for  health insurance and medical device companies. That’s a 1,228% pay raise.

Former Congressman Richard Baker (R-LA), who helped loosen Wall Street regulations, got  $3.2 million as a hedge fund lobbyist, a 956% pay hike.

Former Congressman James Greenwood (R-PA) got $6.6 milion as a biotechnolog lobbyist, a 671% revenue increase.
Former Congressman Glenn English (D-OK), who diluted climate reform efforts, got $9.2 million from coal-dependent electric cooperatives. That’s a 1,504% pay raise.

 Former Congressman Steve Bartlett (R-TX) got $9.1 million as a lobbyist for investment banks. 1,770% pay jump.

Since current members of the Senate and Congress are well aware of this $$$ revolving door, who thinks that their votes today are not influenced by the visions of millions of dollars in their bank accounts tomorrow?

To read the entire Republic Report article, click on
White rage at play here?

Whenever events improve the African-Americans’ situation, white rage reacts to dilute the full power of the change.

So writes Carol Anderson in the Washington Post.

The white rage is more discreet and therefore more insidious, Anderson writes. 

Like gerrymandering districts to dilute black voting power, cutting government programs that help black employment or well-being, stricter voter ID laws.

The courts, police, legislatures and governors side with the white rage and attack black rage with rubber bullets and tear gas.

It happened after the Civil War, after Brown v. Board of Education shot down separate but equal schooling and with the ascent of African-American Barack Obama to President.

Republicans and conservatives couch it in language that pretends to espouse other values, but the goal is the same: Take back some of African-Americans’ advancements.

Uneasy with Obama becoming president, Anderson writes, “a rash of voter-suppression legislation, a series of unfathomable Supreme Court decisions, the rise of stand-your-ground laws and continuing police brutality make clear that Obama’s election and reelection have unleashed yet another wave of fear and anger.”

To read the entire article, click on
Riots a time-honored tradition in America

Rioting over grand jury or jury verdicts isn’t new in America.

In 1884 in Cincinnati more than 50 people died during riots because a jury found white German William Berner and African-American/white Joe Palmer GUILTY, but of manslaughter and not murder of William Kirk.

The outrage had nothing to do with race, but of political corruption. The riots toppled political bosses John McClean and Tom Campbell.

In 1921 in Tulsa when black Richard Rawlings was accused of “impudence and impertinence” to a white girl in an elevator, whites and blacks rioted against each other, killing 300 and injurying hundreds of both races and causing $5 million in property damage, which probably is equivalent to $50 million today.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s whites routinely lynched blacks they accused of crimes and destroyed property in black neighborhoods, usually without legal consequences.

After the 14th Amendment was passed in 1869, riots erupts over voting rights, with whites usually the instigators.

In 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina more than 30 blacks were killed and the black newspaper’s building burned down over voting rights.

In 1875 fifty black Republicans were killed in Clinton, Mississippi over voting rights.

In 1876 in South Carolina many blacks were killed over voting rights.

In 1906 hostility over voting rights in Georgia resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people, nearly all of them black, and legislation was enacted that kept blacks from voting.

It’s been been 145 years since the 14th Amendment guaranteed the same rights to everyone regardless of race, but America still has its Fergusons with regularity. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sure and Begorah, BJ and Kent State retiree Bob Springer will never lose his sense of Irish humor.

He posted a photo of an Arizona cactus taken during his current trip to probably Bob’s favorite state, judging by the number of times he goes there, with this Irish whisky-flavored post:

"Don't shoot," says the cactus whose head already looks a little blown apart. In the desert west of Wickenburg, Ariz., this afternoon.

Bob and wife Barbara Hipsman Springer, who retired from Kent State a year ahead of Bob’s August 2014 bailout, will be spending a month in Wickenburg, named after the Austrian prospector who extracted $30 million worth of gold from a nearby mine. It’s on the Hassayampa River.

To get to Wickenburg, Bob and Barb had to spring past Bentonville, Oklahoma, pretty much owned by the Walton family of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club fame, and visited Kato and Dustin in Fayetteville.

And then there’s the Enchanted State of New Mexico, where I enjoyed Navajo hospitality and Santa Fe art not long after my 1996 retirement from Ol' Blue.

The good folks of Wickenburg, with the help of the cavalry, had to slaughter thousands of Yavapei – the Battle of Salt River being the main killing ground -- and put the survivors on what Columbus ignorantly called “Indian” reservations to steal the land and give it to the settlers.

Chicago native Bob and Barb live in Kent. The Irish humor lives deep inside Bob.

Former BJ reporters Thrity Umrigar and David Giffels went to Miami for the Nov. 16-23 International Book Fair at Dade College . . . and found each other.

It wasn’t easy. There were 600 authors at the book fair.

David’s latest is his commentary in photographer Andrew Borowiecz’s “The New Heartland: Looking for America’s Dream.” It was an updated, wider- geography version of Chuck Ayers drawing and Russ Musarra commenting in their “Walks Around Akron” series in the BJ that became a book, too.

Andrew’s camera and David’s prose found that “The once rolling farmlands that used to surround Ohio’s cities and define Middle America were rapidly giving way to vast suburban housing developments of nearly identical, hastily built mini-mansions with enormous garages and fancy yards. Homogenization and conformity had won over the American dream.”

Thrity’s latest is “The Story Hour,” another novel set in her native India.

Her previous novels are “Bombay Time” (2002), “The Space Between Us” (2007), “If Today be Sweet” (2008), “The Weight of Heaven” (2010) and “The World We Found” (2012), and all set in the country of her birth, as was her memoir, “First Darling of the Morning”  (2008).

David’s previous works are “The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays From the Rust Belt,” “All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House,” “Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron” (co-authored by Steve Love) and “We Are Devo!: Are We Not Men?” about the Akron music group.

Quips Thrity of the BJ reunion photo op:

“What would I do without my buddy David David Giffels? At the Miami book fair authors party together.”

Thrity wasn’t sure she would make it to Miami because she was scheduled to take off from Cleveland Hopkins Airport at a time when Northeast Ohio’s on-again, off-again winter was looking bleak.

The eight-day book festival drew hundreds of thousands to downtown Miami.

Authors came from Argentina, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, England, France, Finland, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, Israel, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan and Trinidad. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Larry Walker and his First Night Akron button
BJ artist designs First Night Akron button

Larry Walker, who was in advertising and layout at the Beacon Journal for 11 years, designed the First Night Akron 2015 button. It was selected by a committee of past buttons artists.

The button will enable admission to 12 venues of entertainment on New Year's Eve from 6 p.m.-midnight.

Kent State graduate Walker, a graphic designer and artist, went from the BJ to J.C. Penney as advertising manager and art director. Then he changed career course, got his college degree and became an art teacher at St. Joseph's School, Cuyahoga Falls High School, University of Akron and Central Hower High School, where he remained until retirement in 1999.

The $10 button is worn by thousands of revelers for admission to 12 venues of entertainment on New Year's Eve. First Night Akron takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 from 6 p.m.-midnight.

There’s far more to the Larry Walker story. He helped former Falls High baseball coach John Anspach and worked in the Cuyahoga Falls Amateur Baseball Association program.

Larry and his wife also adopted several children who had problems in their lives or with their bodies. They lived on Portage Trail, just up the hill from the bridge that crosses over the Falls Freeway and Ohio Route 8.

Retired Sandy Bee Lynn met her husband, Glenn Lynn, at a summer meeting of a ski club that traveled to Port Clinton at a time when the only skiing possible was on the water.

Sandy was divorced and began her college life at age 30 as the mother of two children.

Sandy and Glenn were in the same ski club for about a year, but never went beyond a nodding acquaintance.

But something clicked in Port Clinton that summer. They married July 1, 1989. 

Since they belonged to a ski club, it seemed natural that they went skiing in the Tyrolian Alps of Austria the next year as a delayed honeymoon.
They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this year.

Sandy, who tacked on 8 years of experience at the Orrville and Wadsworth libraries, lives in Doylestown with Glenn.

Both are in the New Horizons Band in Cuyahoga Falls, Sandy on viola with the winds and Glenn on saxaphone with the main band.

Sandy’s father, Henry Fuller, parachuted into France on D-Day. He was among 126 survivors of the 792 who jumped with the 502nd on The Longest Day.
There’s an exhibit about Henry in the MAPS (Military Aircraft Preservation Museum) just off Akron/Canton Airport.  Henry and Arline Mitchell Fuller were Sandy’s parents.

Sandy told me about how she wound up with Glenn while we waited for Sunday’s New Horizons Christmas concert to begin in the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron.

We were reacting to the story on this blog about June Persons checking out the guy bagging groceries and liked what she saw, and wound up married to former bag boy Ken Wright, the late BJ Composing retiree, for 58 years and living in Wadsworth. That led to Sandy’s story about her and Glenn.

As for my how-we-met story:

I was sports editor of the Williamson Daily News and founded the Midget Baseball League in Williamson and covered its games. When 11-year-old Larry Turkette hit a baseball that rolled into the outfield, and through the legs of a waiting outfielder, I wrote it up the next day as “a hard single.”

A week or two later, Larry hit a pitch over the head of an outfielder. From the stands came this taunt: “I suppose you call that a hard single.”

I looked into the stands and saw Larry’s older sister, Monnie Turkette, of Cinderella, West Virginia. I turned to someone near me on the third base side and said: “I know how to shut her up.”

We dated for two years and we married for 48 more years. I never did shut her up because I loved what she was saying for a half-century until her 2004 death.

We have three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandsons because Monnie shouted her taunt.

What about YOU? How did you meet your spouse or live-in Significant Other?

Either click on No Comments at the end of this article, and leave the details of your first meeting, including full names, circumstances and how long you’ve been together and your hometown today. 

Or email John Olesky at 

Either way, I’ll use your How We Met story on this blog. If you want to add photos of you and your beloved, email them to John in jpeg format to the same email address. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

June Persons remembers when her sister and a girlfriend told her about this guy bagging groceries that they thought she should check out.

June said she really wasn’t looking, but the three girls somehow wound up at  the grocery store checking out the bag boy. Three days later, the bag boy called June for a date.

That led to a 58-year marriage that ended only because the bag boy, Ken Wright, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 18.

Checking out the grocery bagging guy also led to two sons, Keith Wright, married to Nicole, and Steve Wright, married to Heidi, and later, granddaughter, Hannah, 21, who is about to become a schoolteacher.

One son is in marketing in the Miami area. Ken and June loved to visit him in January, when Ohio winters are inhospitable.

Ken enjoyed traveling and had visited all 50 states with June.

Ken was New Processes Coordinator under Dick Coddington, who retired to Fripp Island, Georgia, during his 38 years at the BJ. Ken’s recent years were not pleasant, health-wise so his departure was not a surprise nor, considering the circumstances, without some relief.

As June said, “He’s with Jesus now.” Two nice guys in the same place. 

Ken and June were regulars at Grace Church in Norton, including the Bible Study Group for years.
Two printers, Dick Gresock and Al Hunsicker, were at Bacher Funeral Home in Norton for the calling hours.

Dick, who likes to hunt, and enjoys traveling to national parks, particularly in Arizona and Utah.

Al has been a Cuyahoga Falls resident for more than a half-century, before I came to the BJ in 1969 and moved into the Falls and even longer before Al’s daughter and my daughter attended Falls High School at the same time.

Pastor Bob Combs officiated at Saturday’s services. Private inurnment will take place at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman.

Hey, Joan Baez, thanks for Thrity Umrigar!
If you pay any attention to American literature and the local book scene, you probably know that Cleveland is home to an acclaimed novelist named Thrity Umrigar. Her new novel, The Story Hour, is receiving the rave reviews that Umrigar likely has come to expect. "This satisfying, psychologically complex story will appeal to a wide range of readers" —  Library Journal. "An impressive writer, Umrigar delivers another smart, compulsively readable work" — Kirkus Reviews. 
I was curious how she wound up in northern Ohio, so I looked at the interviews on Umrigar's official site. It turns out she wound up in Ohio because she likes to listen to Joan Baez.
No, really. Here's a bit of one of her interviews:
So you came to Ohio State? Why Ohio State?

Well, that's a funny story. It's indicative of how so many major decisions in my life have been made. I was sitting in my living room in Bombay, checking off a list of American universities that offered a M.A. in journalism, when my eyes fell on "Ohio State University." There was a Joan Baez record playing on the turntable and right then, her song, Banks of the Ohio, came on. I looked up and thought, "It's a sign", and decided to apply there.

Sandusky Register reporter Tom Jackson reviews and recommends local and national reading opportunities. You can read the other blog posts and follow this blog on Twitter.

Posted Thrity, the former BJ reporter who became one of India’s most famous novelists:
“Hands-down the strangest headline I have ever received.”
To paraphrase Joan Baez’ “No Man Is An Island”:
When I help my sister
Then I know that I
Plant the seed of adventure
That will never die
But perhaps it was this refrain from Joan that caused Thrity’s trail to wind up in Ohio:
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the old Ohio
Regardless, as the Sandusky Register headline blared:

Hey, Joan Baez, thanks for Thrity Umrigar!