Monday, March 30, 2015

RadioShack selling out customers

RadioShack is trying to sell you out, all 117 million customers. 

The names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and some purchase history are on the auction block as part of RadioShack’s bankruptcy reorganization.

Attorneys general from several states have filed suit to prevent that, saying it violates the promises RadioShack made to its customers before its bankruptcy.

The privacy policy displayed in stores and on its web site said, "At RadioShack, we respect your privacy. We do not sell our mailing list."

Apparently, unless RadioShack can make money while bailing out.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Little leaving newspapers association

Caroline Little

After four years in the position, Caroline Little is stepping down as CEO and President of Newspaper Association of America at the end of August.

Little is a lawyer who was publisher/CEO of Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive and CEO of the Guardian’s North America operations.

She succeeded John Sturm, a lawyer and lobbyist who ran NAA for 16 years.

She’s moving to Sante Fe, “where I have a husband, a child and a dog — in that order.”

NAA went from more than 100 to 13 employees as newspaper fortunes freefell. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

63 years later, media better or worse?

On this day – March 27 -- in 1947 the Hutchins Commission report worried that print and broadcast media and motion pictures were being concentrated among too few corporations.

The report chaired by University of Chicago president Robert M. Hutchins concluded that freedom of the press was in danger.

The commission cautioned against ownership concentration, rising costs and the media’s preoccupation with sensational news.

It said technology advances made information available to far more people, but control of the information was getting into the hands of fewer entities. And that those firms are not providing service adequate to the needs of society, even engaging in practices that society condemns which could lead to regulation or control of society.

Who thinks today that America is not under the control of a wealthy and powerful few?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

On the Mark -- twice

PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak, who is approaching antiquarian status, both wrote and designed this cover for his book, “Mark Twain in Ohio.”

Quips Mark:

“If you like the cover for ‘Mark Twain in Ohio’ published by Rod Serling Books, well, I designed it. If you don't like, keep it to yourself.

“This book will be debuted Saturday, April 4, at the 33rd Annual NOBS Akron Antiquarian Book & Paper Fair. Sara and I will be presenting our two-person play of Twain material, "Twain By Two," at 1 p.m.

For those not in the know, that’s the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society.

The fair will be both Friday, April 3rd and Saturday, April 4th, at the John S. Knight Center, 77 East Mill Street, Akron. Friday 3-8:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission $5 for non- NOBS Members and $3 for students.
Dandi Daley Mackall, Edgar-winning author of books for children, teens, and adults, will procede Dawidziak at 11 a.m., giving a talk entitled “Frozen Moments: My Life in Books.”
At 1 p.m. Mark and wife Sara Showman will give their umpteenth performance of “Twain by Two.” After that, Mark will hawk sales of his book and sign for those willing to cough up the dough.
I visited Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ grave in Elmira, New York (I have visited gravesites, birth sites and worksites of authors during my trips to 52 countries and 43 states; it’s my shtick as a 43-year newsroom veteran).
And I know Sammy was born in the town of Florida, Missouri and died in Redding, Connecticut. And grew up mostly in Hannibal, Missouri. And, later, prowled Nevada and California. And that he did a lot of traveling, in America and in Europe.

But I guess I’ll have to buy Mark’s book to see where Mark Twain was in Ohio.
’Dam, Sarah, don’t get stuck at the airport this time!

BJ retiree Sarah Vradenburg is enjoying the charms and flowers of Amsterdam till April 1, or later if she gets stuck in an airport again the way she was with Firestone High grad Cheryl Miller and BJ reporter Katie Byard for three days on a previous European trip that began with a tour of Italy.
Sarah Vradenburg

Katie, former Editorial Board retiree Sarah and Cheryl, once at Akron Children’s Hospital, who lives in Canal Fulton, were flying from Paris to America, but engine trouble east of Iceland caused the plane to turn back to Paris, three to four hours away. 

When they finally got to America, their flight to Ohio from Atlanta was too full so they had to wait again, but not for days.

Sarah retired from Ol’ Blue Walls in 2006 after 22 years in the saddle. 264 years of newspaper experience left the BJ that September day.

Diane Evans, 32, columnist who was on leave.

Debby Stock Kiefer, 28, Recipe Roundup and copy desk slotter.

Jane Snow, 28, food editor extraordinaire.

Mike Needs, 25, design editor and former public editor, off to a national parks career.

Kathy Spitz, 22, health.

Sarah Vradenburg, 22, editorial staff.

Gloria Irwin, 21, business.

Jocelyn Williams, 19, photographer.

Mary Ethridge, 18, business.

Dave Hertz, 15, business editor.

Robin Sallie, 12, photographer.

Andale Gross, 9, reporter and Guild Unit chairman.

Kim Profant, 7, copy editor and design editor.

Tim Good, 6, copy editor and design editor.

It wasn’t the last mass exodus, which explains why the 250 in the BJ newsroom at my 1996 retirement has plummeted to about 60 today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gene McClellan, Cal DeShong, Al Hunsicker at Papa Joe's

Al Hunsicker, John Olesky
Al Hunsicker passes away

Al Hunsicker, one of the most faithful attendees at the BJ retirees lunches at Papa Joe’s in the Merriman Valley, passed away Tuesday, March 24.

I’ve known Al as a BJ printer and as a Cuyahoga Falls resident for more than four decades.

His daughter, Pam Hunsicker Coy of Norton, and my daughter, Monnie Ann Olesky Johnston of Brunswick, attended Falls High together.

Pam’s father-in-law, the late Al Coy, and I were involved in the Cuyahoga Falls Amateur Baseball Association, often at CFABA board meetings when Al and his best friend, the late Glenn Winsett, were on the CFABA board and in charge of cooking hamburgers during Falls High baseball doubeheaders at Waterworks Park.

In 2011 Pam’s son was in a BJ article because, while a Navy Reservist in Afghanistan, via Skye he watched his daughter, Kaylie Elizabeth Coy, being born April 3 to his wife, Sarah, who was at TriPoint Medical Center in Lake County.

The Papa Joe’s lunches died out because, well, too many who attended died. 

Maybe Al can have a Heavenly lunch with former BJ printers Cal DeShong, Gene McClellan, Watson Blanton, Joe Catalano, Ken Wright and Bob Pell, other Papa Joe’s regulars.

That’s WAY too long a list of dearly departed BJ printers who shared food and laughter at Papa Joe’s.

RIP, Al, Mr. Nice Guy.

Al’s obituary:

Alfred W. Hunsicker

CUYAHOGA FALLS -- Alfred W. Hunsicker, 80, was called home to be with his Lord on March 24, 2015.

He was born in Akron and resided in Cuyahoga Falls for the past 60 years.

Alfred retired from the Akron Beacon Journal after 32 ½ years of service. He was an avid musician, played in a polka band and was a member of St. John St. Paul Lutheran Church where he sang in the choir most of his life.

He is survived by his wife, Lillian, of 59 years; children, Brenda (Dale) Hoover of Springfield, Pamela (Donald) Coy of Norton and Thomas Hunsicker of San Antonio; grandchildren, Jillian Coy and Ryan (Sarah) Coy and great-grandchildren, Kaylie and Brayden Coy.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 27 in the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home, 1930 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221, where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, led by Pastor Rick Gordon. In lieu of other remembrances, memorials may be sent to the Haven of Rest, 175 E. Market St., Akron, OH 44308 or Moody Bible Institute, 820 North LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60610.

To view tribute video, send condolences or sign the guest book visit

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Expen$ive body$lam

The huge wave off Saint Barth’s in the Caribbean that bodyslammed Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney onto the ocean floor on Jan. 3 is costing the band millions of dollars in canceled appearances.

The Black Keys have cancelled their upcoming Australian tour, just one week before they were set to begin travelling the country, while retired BJ reporter Jim Carney’s son’s dislocated and broken shoulder recovers from its latest setback.

The blues rock duo – former Firestone High classmate Dan Auerbach is Patrick’s bandmate -- was forced to axe a 17-date European tour earlier this month. Shows in New Zealand and Tokyo next month also went bye-bye.

Drummer Patrick has been undergoing rehab in Nashville.

Monday, March 23, 2015

36th wedding anniversary for Mike & Jane Williams

BJ Advertising Art retiree Mike Williams (BJ 1968-2012) and Jane Williams, who know how to enjoy life in North, Central and South America, celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary March 19.
Jane & Mike on wedding day

They spend a lot of time in Ecuador, where Jane became familiar with the country and its people before she met Mike. Usually two to three months each stay.

Jane is Mike’s interpreter for the Spanish because “she speaks it much better than me,” Mike said.
Among the places they languished in was Cuenca, Ecuador at an altitude of 8,400 feet and looking at scenery that's up to 13,000 feet.

Mike and Jane have two sons, independent trucker Nathan Williams (they keep track of where he is via SmartPhone’s locator) and chemical engineer Trevor Williams. Mike retired in December 2012 after 44 years, including coming under whimsical John Grimm’s wing in 1976.

Mark started in Advertising part-time in 1968 after bugging Ben James for a job during visits home from a freshman year at Ohio State. Retail Ad Mgr. Jim Muckley hired Mike full-time in 1971 in the Ad Services department. 

Jane & Mike today
Mike’s sister, BJ information technology retiree Linda Williams Torson, is married to Akron-Summit County Metroparks retiree Tim Torson. Linda was with the Beacon Journal for 42 years.

Another sister, former clinical dietician Cindy Williams Chima, worked in the BJ classified phone room in the 1970s and writes fiction novels for young adults.

Linda started in the Beacon Journal classified phone room in the summer at age 16 before her senior year in high school (1969). Helen Becton, manager in the phone room at the time, got a two-fer:  Linda's twin Cindy Williams started at the same time.

Hugh Downing, Paula Stone Tucker, Sharon Downing
Happy housewarming!

Retired BJ printer Hugh Downing and wife Sharon Downing, who have lived in their home in The Villages, Florida for a dozen years or so, congratulate 1970s BJ State Desk reporter Paula Stone Tucker on the new purchase of her home in The Villages, on Bonita Drive.

Paula and her former State Desk editor, John Olesky, have been renting in The Villages for three months on Rainbow Drive.

To get to the Bonita home, you drive down Rainbow in your car or golf cart and turn left onto Bonita.  So Paula found her new home somewhere over the Rainbow. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Paula and John live in a home they own in Tallmadge, within smelling distance of the restaurants on Howe Avenue and Chapel Hill.

The car in the background is John’s Honda Accord, which accompanied him to Florida via the Amtrak auto-train.

Paula looked at ONE HUNDRED homes before she settled on the Bonita beauty. And she has a spreadsheet listing every one of them to document her intense, successful search.

To savor the happy home purchase fully, John took all four of them out to dinner at the Orange Blossom Country Club.

So far John has played golf 35 times since their Jan. 1 arrival and found THIRTY EIGHT golf balls in the backyard of their Rainbow Drive rental, which is 110 yards from Silver Lake golf course’s No. 2 tee.

Slicers contribute heavily to John’s collection, even though he doesn’t gather the golf balls up till the next morning, giving the errant duffers a fair chance to find their bad shots.

All this and outdoor concerts available free every night of the year, and a reunion with Paula’s former Kent State roommate and another with a fellow Akron St. Mary’s graduate plus John’s reunion (and nine golf outings) with Hugh and John meeting 200 to 300 West Virginians (so far).

Mountaineers permeate The Villages and Florida.

Plus Paula plays her flute with the New Horizons Band (the same name of the band she is part of in Cuyahoga Falls since New Horizons bands are all over America) and the Flute Fanatics and takes colored pencil drawing lessons.

And both swim when the temperature hits 80, which is pretty much every day in March and even sometimes in February in The Villages.

Congratulations, Paula, on your new home purchase!

And to John’s alma mater, the West Virginia University Mountaineers, reaching the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA’s basketball March Madness.

John knows 200 to 300 West Virginians in The Villages who share his euphoria.

John and Paula, two happy people.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BJ retiree Hugh Downing and a lass wearing green and a grin
Tis the wearin’ of the green grin

Retired BJ printer Hugh Downing got into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day on El Diablo golf course in The Villages, Florida, where every day is a playday and a holiday for 100,000 people with 50,000 golf carts roaming the streets and golf cart paths alongside the roads.

Hugh and BJ newsroom retiree John Olesky got together in 85-degree weather under blue skies for their ninth weekly golf outing since John and Paula arrived for the three-month stay in Disneyland for Adults.

To see photos of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in The Villages, Florida with senior citizens enjoying life to the fullest, go to 

The women of The Villages prove that age is no barrier to enjoying life in Disneyland For Adults community

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ted Schneider aka Ann Hill & Tom Moore
BJ reunion re-stokes the legend of Ann Hill

BJ newsroom retiree Tom Moore, who’s a conductor on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad when he isn’t spending his autumns in Fort Myers, Florida helping former BJ sports editor Tom Giffen run the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series for old guys who can’t give up the game, had a BJ reunion on the tracks.

Ted Schneider, former BJ photographer and line drawer, popped onto the train.

Tom said they had a good conversation about their fun days at the BJ.

Ted’s main claim to fame was looking up Ann Hill, the famous BJ job applicant who left in disgust because “I didn’t come here to do shit work,” in California and telling her about how she had become a legend in BJ lore.

He tried to entice Ann to return to the annual BJ Christmas parties that featured a reading of the Ann Hill letter for three decades, and read it herself on the 25th anniversary of the writing of the scathing memo, but she declined.

Ted has done the Ann Hill letter in nun habit and in rap style and is the most memorable Ann Hill letter performer.

Ann Hill was an Ohio State University magna cum laude graduate with a masters in journalism/PR who came to the Beacon for a one-day tryout. 

After wading through enough work to bog down Woodward and Bernstein, the last straw was being sent to cover a Canton sewers meeting.

The only thing Ann wrote was her memo to Managing Editor Bob Giles complaining of the Army-like discipline and "shitwork" and reminding B.G. that she was a superstar at OSU.

And thus the legend began.

Ann's biography says that she was a feature writer and investigative reporter with the Dayton Daily News and other daily newspapers and founded her first marketing and public relations agency, Hill & Zoog, in Columbus in 1978, primarily as a political consultant for Ohio politicians.

Ann went to California and started the Ann Hill Communications company in 1985 in San Rafael. She is the principal owner.

As he has for years, after the readings of the Ann Hill letter former State Desk assistant editor John Olesky stands up in reference to the Canton sewers assignment and exclaimed: "Englehart made me do it!"

That would be another legend, the late Patrick T. Englehart of Mogadore, who was State Desk Editor when Ann Hill strolled into and stormed out of the Beacon Journal.

Maybe what made Ann – and Ted in his skits while reading her letter – strike such a chord is that we all wished we had done that.

Ted’s daughter Tanya lives in Oregon, Renee in Wooster, Stacy in Florida and Ted III in Akron. Rose, Erik, Rick, Jess O. Dore, David and Stacy fit into the family fabric, too.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cathy Robinson Strong, a 1970s BJ State Desk reporter who has spent several decades in New Zealand, is doubling back to Dubai – this time for a wedding.

She spent three years in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, teaching journalism, mostly to daughters of Arab royalty.

Posted Cathy:

“Yeah, going to Dubai next week for Hessah's wedding. I'm going from Middle Earth to Middle East. Hope to see lots of UAE friends.”

UAE is short for United Arab Emirate

Middle Earth is where the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was filmed. You know, the Shire of the Hobbits like Bilbo Baggins and Frodo, a favorite of Roger Mezger and Ann Sheldon Mezger who both used Frodo for their passwords when they were in the BJ newsroom, and the wizard Gandalf. And – shudder! – Mordor.

“The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand:  Matamata, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Mackenzie Country, Southern Lakes, Fiordland, Hutt River, Harcourt Park, Kaitoke Regional Park, Queen Elizabeth Park near Paraparaumus and Waitarere Forest.

Going to weddings is old hat to Cathy, but usually it’s in New Zealand to marry off a daughter: Penelope to John Pint, originally from Minnesota; Rebecca, to Dion; and Amanda, to Jeff Shima.

It wasn’t that long ago that Cathy flew to Washington State with Rebecca and Dion’s daughter to visit Cathy’s sister, Janet Mullins, on Bainbridge Island in the state of Washington.

Cathy lives about an hour away from Wellington on the Kapiti Coast’s Te Horo Beach. She has taught snowboarding down New Zealand mountains, given journalism lectures in Japan, water-skiied, kayaked and flown to Boston to jump in a hot tub with friend Pam McCarthy, retired North Canton Hoover High teacher.

Cathy is a senior lecturer at Massey University's Wellington campus, setting up Massey’s multi-media master’s program.

If you want to visit or phone Cathy, her New Zealand office number is  021 2172112.
If you catch her at home, you’ll hear the ocean roar because she lives about an hour away from Wellington on the Kapiti Coast’s Te Horo Beach. 

New Zealand is midway between Australia and Fiji with the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Mostly, if I remember my geography right.