Monday, August 31, 2015

Connie Bloom with her quilt art
Connie will have Brecksville in stitches

Former BJ Features Department editor/columnist Connie Bloom will be at the Brecksville Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2 to discuss “If Quilters Ruled the World.”

Connie is Ohio’s fabric art (quilts) guru. She is publisher/editor of QSDS (Quilt Service Design Symposium), a quarterly online magazine about fabric art.

The presentation is for Western Reserve Quilters Anonymous.

But Connie says non-WRQA members are welcome to show up, too.

Connie has a 350 square foot studio as the resident quiltmaker in Summit Artspace on the third floor at 140 E. Market Street, next door to the Akron Art Museum.

The photo is of Connie and a fabric art she’ll be toting to Brecksville for the Talk & Trunk Show.

Connie was part of the 2008 BJ exodus that saw more than 400 years of experience walk out the door.
She is married to Bob Shields.The presentation is for Western Reserve Quilters Anonymous but I bet they wouldn't mind a few random visitors. The address is 9089 Brecksville Road.

Freddy Krueger’s daddy dies

Cleveland’s Wes Craven, who put the capital H in Horror movies, died Sunday at the age of 76.

This is the guy who unleashed Freddy Krueger onto a terrified audience in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” in 1984, leading to a plethora of sequels.

Wes Craven
The former Clarkson College professor in Potsdam, New York, also released “Last House on the Left” in 1972, about a Manson-like group raping and torturing. In 1977 came “The Hills Have Eyes” about a family terrorized by cannibalistic mutants.

It was only two months ago that Jeff Rice, who concocted “The Night Stalker” starring Darrin McGavin, also passed away. That’s frightening.

To read PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak’s brilliant article about Craven, click on

Word spreading of 50-year AF reunion

Charlotte Sun Editor John Hackworth (Hackin' Around) on this morning's front page featured a story about Kent State graduate and former WKNT news director Bob Carpenter’s Vietnam Air Force buddy USAF finding him on Facebook after 50 years, leading to their Florida reunion, as was reported July 30 in this BJ Alums blog.

Here’s the Charlotte (North Carolina) Sun article by Hackworth:

His band of brothers
They were some of the best in their class. Bob Carpenter, of Punta Gorda, Dennis Maki and Richard Kozlowski all graduated from Air Force intelligence training with top honors — and a camaraderie that would transcend the years.

Carpenter, the former executive director of the Punta Gorda Business Alliance and an award-winning public information officer with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, spent some time with me recently describing the work he and his two close buddies did for the United States Air Force Security Service in a period that included the Vietnam War.

They were overwhelming memories that came to the front during a recent reunion with Maki — whom he had not seen for 50 years.

“Dennis now lives in Fremont, Neb., and he found me on Facebook,” Carpenter said. “We started communicating and his wife, Diana, bought him a ticket to come visit me in Florida. She wanted him out of the house while she packed to move.”

The days together were spent reliving the past.

“Dennis was heavier and he had a gold tooth replaced. I would not have known him if I passed him on the street.

“We went all over the place but we sat and talked so much, too. I’m not sure how many times we said ‘remember when.’ We went over the good, bad and ugly.”

Carpenter said the visit gave him some closure since he had attended Kozlowski’s funeral a year or so ago.

The three friends spent years gathering intelligence in places like Crete and Vietnam. While they often took different paths in their duties, they always stayed together, usually working out of the same building.

“When we got out of tech school they sent us to Greece,” Carpenter said. “We were all trained as Soviet analysts. Maki, though, was the only one that continued to monitor the Soviets. I became a Turkish analyst. I went downtown and bought two Turkish language books to learn the language and became a self-appointed Turkish linguist.”

One of Carpenter’s first big discoveries earned him a commendation when he translated a message about a bomb planted at the American embassy in Nicosia.

“They got everyone out, but the building blew up. That was in 1964. Generals flew in and gave me a commendation but it was all secret — like spy stuff. I guess 50 years later I can talk about it.”

When sent back to the U.S., the trio of friends became even closer as they spent weekends in Corpus Christi, Texas, doing things young men do.

Carpenter said he became bored with the job of counting Soviet aircraft coming into Cuba. So, all three volunteered to go to Vietnam, just as the conflict there was expanding.

“That mission was out of this world,” he said. “We sent out drones over China and did some great reconnaissance.”

When that assignment ended, and the three returned to the U.S., Carpenter volunteered to extend his enlistment and return to Vietnam.

“I was flying in EC47s and locking the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit and telling them where I had to go to monitor ground communications. We’d find a target and called in the bombers.”

Carpenter’s life after active duty took him back to the U.S. where he earned a degree at Kent State University. Ironically, he was there during the infamous protests that led to National Guardsmen killing four students and wounding nine on May 4, 1970. He was one of 1,500 or so Vietnam vets on a campus of 20,000 students. It was an odd time as demonstrators against the war often clashed with the ex-military men — including Carpenter, who had his own radio show.

His experiences there are enough for a whole new column someday.

When he retired from the sheriff’s office, Carpenter spent a lot of time traveling with wife Kaye. Those trips led him back to countries he first experienced as a young Air Force analyst.

“We went to Crete and I showed her some places we were. I took another cruise to Beijing and Singapore and I had two days in Saigon. Some veterans wouldn’t get off the ship and go to Saigon, but I enjoyed it.

“We went to this one hotel where I used to sit and drink Coca-Cola and the general manager came out and welcomed me back to his country. You would never know that Vietnam was a communist country the way people acted.

“They called the war the American War and the presidential palace is like a museum with American Jeeps and aircraft displayed.”

A lot of memories.

And seeing Maki made them all real again.

“You never lose that camaraderie,” Carpenter said. “Those guys are my brothers.”


Thrity to do children’s book

Former BJ reporter Thrity Umrigar, a national sensation as the author of six novels and a memoir set in her native India, is branching out. She will be putting together a children’s picture book.

Thrity Umrigar
Let Thrity, who has been teaching creative writing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland since 2002, explain it:

Friends, I am writing with some incredibly good news. I have just accepted an offer from a publisher for my very first children's picture book. I love kids and have wanted to write children's books for a long time, so I am very happy to be able to finally do so. My editor seems very excited, also. More news to come.”

Bombay native Thrity’s previous novels are “Bombay Time” (2002), “The Space Between Us” (2007), “If Today be Sweet” (2008), “The Weight of Heaven” (2010), “The World We Found” (2012) and “The Story Hour” (2014), and all set in the country of her birth, as was her memoir, “First Darling of the Morning”  (2008).

Thrity began her reporting career with The Lorain Journal. Two years later, in 1987, she came to the BJ.

She left the Beacon to attend Harvard on a Nieman Fellowship, wrote “Bombay Time” and her author career took off.

Thrity left India at the age of 21 to attend Ohio State University.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Don & Mary Ann Roese
in Arches National Park in Utah
McDonald’s not the only place for golden arches

Retired BJ photographer Don Roese and wife Mary Ann, married for 54 years, added The Arches National Park in Utah to their travels.

They may be there a while.

There are more than 2,000 natural stone arches in Arches National Park.

I’ve been there with my late wife, Monnie, in 1997.

Postcard pictures at every turn.

It was part of our 21-day, 1,200-mile circle of Arizona and New Mexico, through Navajo country and national parks, including the big daddy of them all, the Grand Canyon.

Don and Maryann go to Alaska so often that the Inuits think they are one of them.  New Zealand, Sint Marten in the Caribbean, Florida . . . been there, too.

Sometimes they even are in Cuyahoga Falls, where they live.

But life is not all fun and games for Don and Mary Ann, not that they aren’t big on it.

When they’re home, they go among Akron area people living outdoors in tents, under tarps at camps, under bridges, in doorways or inside abandoned buildings and vehicles.

Roese is among at the Peter Maurin Center volunteers who go out one evening each week to bring food, clothing and blankets to them.

The center at 1096 S. Main St. is a gathering place were the homeless can go to find food, clothing, friendship and respite from the bitter cold. 
But, for now, someone else is handling those humanitarian chores.

Don and Marian have about 1,998 more arches to check out.

From left: Meredith Roese Grom, Don Roese, Mary Ann Roese 
at Gemini Bridge in Moab, Utah  
Dennis Balogh & John Olesky at Hudson's Art on the Green

Balogh heading to Brooklyn for a wedding

Retired BJ chief artist Dennis Balogh will be heading to Brooklyn in September for his daughter’s wedding. She lives there.

Dennis and wife Patty’s daughter Lori is in New York City as a designer for a graphic design firm. Dennis and Patty also have two sons.

But Saturday Dennis was ensconced in his usual August hangout, Hudson’s 35th annual Art on the Green where Darrow Road (Ohio 91) and Ohio 303 meet.

Balogh has been a regular at Art on the Green, missing a year here and there.

In other years, it was retired BJ photographer Denny Gordon’s wife, Bonnie, and her sculptures, former BJ chief artist Art Krummel with his paintings and former Features Department editor and columnist Connie Bloom with her fabric art (formerly know as quilt art) as Ohio’s fabric art guru. 

Dennis’ art pedigree is impeccable.

Balogh’s illustrations have graced such magazines as the Saturday Evening Post (the cover), Kiplinger Financial, New York Stock Exchange, St. Louis Magazine, Success Magazine and  Harvard's HBS Magazine.

The National Association of Black Journalists, National Headliner Awards and Creativity Annual are among his awards. He did portaits of the past presidents of Samford University in Alabama that hang on the campus walls. He has illustrated the top CEO's of the year for New York Stock Exchange Magazine.
He got his training wheels by doing Channels magazine cover illustrations for me during my days as television editor at Ol’ Blue Walls.

I was the midwife at Channels’ birth in 1980 and left by baby in others’ hands when I retired in 1996. Today there is no Channels, obliterated by the plethora of cable channels and on-screen TV guides that can be changed by the hour.

Balogh went from Cooper School of Arts in Cleveland to the Cleveland Press to the Columbus Dispatch to the BJ. Today, he and his wife live in Broadview Heights.

After 21 years at the BJ, starting in 1985, Balogh was part of a major exodus in 2006 when 335 years of experience walked out the door. 

In 2000 the Beacon art staff included Terence Oliver, John “Derf” Backderf, Art Krummel, Rick Steinhauser, Phil White, Dennis Earlenbaugh and Balogh. It used to be if you said, “Come here, Dennis,” when Dennis Haas also was there, a crowd would show up.
Fifteen years later, they’re no longer at Ol’ Blue Walls.

Terence Oliver added this note after reading this original article:

“Hey John,

“I just saw your nice story on Balogh. Good job! Just wanted to let you know a few other awesome folks were in the Art Dept. in 2000, too. Kathy, Deb and Jemal were there, too. We also had Brian Shelito  before he was transferred to sports to avoid being part of a layoff. And I think technically, Art had moved up as a Technology manager. 



The BJ did, indeed, have an awesome art department. Including the late Clyde “Bud” Morris, Joe Grace and Walt Neal before the 2000 crowd took over.

Finally, after recovering from jet lag and whatever else hit me, I put together an online photo album of the Aug. 14-21 Danube River cruise by Paula and me.
One of the highlights was the Passau, Germany organ in St. Stephan Cathedral, the largest church organ in the world.

The 17,774 pipes were divided into five groups so that you had sound coming from the front, from the back, from the left, from the right and from above.

It was the most astounding church sound I’ve ever heard, and I’ve been to the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, which has the best acoustics in the world. To demonstrate, a woman at the altar dropped a pin, which we could hear clearly in the back row of pews.

The Passau concert was pretty close to feeling like you died and went to Heaven.

If you are interesting in looking at the online photo album of our Danube River cruise, click on

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Willie Nelson, eat your heart out

Singer Willie Nelson, whose trademark concert song is “On the Road Again,” has nothing on Sandy Bee Lynn and husband Glenn Lynn who, fittingly, are musicians in the Cuyahoga Falls New Horizons Band.

BJ Reference Library retiree, who later put in about 15 years at the Orrville and Wadsworth public libraries and lives in Doylestown, and Glenn are headed for Canada after stops in Madison, Wisconsin, Minot, North Dakota, Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Madison was the first day of their trip, and covered 573 miles.
Glenn temporarily a Mountie

In Eau Claire Sandy and Glenn saw 4½ miles of sunflowers planted by a widower to honor his wife, killed by cancer. He sells the seeds and gives money to charity.

Why stop at Fergus Falls? Sandy’s nonchalant response: “Not much. Seemed like a logical place to stop. It's pretty.”

Fergis Falls has 13,138 people. The Falls were discovered in 1856 by Scottish trapper Joe Whitford, who was killed in 1862 in a Sioux uprising. He named them after his boss, James Fergus, who never set eyes on the place.

Cruising, as on a large ship, also is in their travel history.

This is a lot of traveling for a great-grandmother who narrowly survived an auto accident in 2010 that resulted in intestinal surgery, fractures in her left hand, spine and right foot. The drunk who hit her is in the Ohio Penitentiary.


Sandy plays viola and Glenn plays the saxophone in the New Horizons band. They’ve been married almost three decades. They honeymooned on a ski trip to Austria.

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, a letter carrier in the U.S. Postal Service for more than 30 years, in the MAPS (Military Aircraft Preservation Museum) just off Akron/Canton Airport.  

Sandy and siblings Ron and Timothy, who attends Sandy's concerts often, lived on North Hill for 10 years, till she was 14.

Sandy retired from Ol’ Blue Walls after 18 years, then worked at the Orrville Public Library before winding up her librarian career at the Wadsworth Public Library in 2008.

Thursday, Aug. 27 they were in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Then on to Calgary, the airport Paula and I used before we enjoyed Banff and the elk, where Glenn donned a Canadian Mounties cap ... sort of.

Today, Sandy and Glenn are leaving Canada to return to their Doylestown home. Ah, but the memories will follow them forever. And what tales they'll have to tell to their fellow New Horizons Band members!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More national acclaim for Dawidziak

PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak is gaining so much national fame that I’m glad he’s the kind who won’t need a larger hat size.

I was Mark’s editor at Ol’ Blue Walls, and he easily was my best entertainment reporter.

Mark Dawidziak
And I had a great trifecta in David Bianculli, who went on to greater fame at the New York Post; Rich Heldenfels, still at the BJ; and, of course, the New York City guy living in Cuyahoga Falls after a stint in Tennessee journalism who impersonates Mark Twain better than Samuel Langhorne Clemens and, in my opinion, Hal Holbrook, does a wickedly terrifying Edgar Allan Poe show, regurgitates Charles Dickens like the dickens, should wear a rumpled raincoat for his work on his “Columbo” book that Peter Falk loved; and has reincarnated the Civil War in his productions with his wife, Sara Showman.

He has performed his show at the Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut and the famous Barter Theatre in Virginia (admission was groceries, including ham for the hams). And teaches a class at Kent State, to avoid boredom, I guess.

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has been effusive in his praise of Mark’s writings, which include 12 books and insightful entertainment columns in the PD. Losing Mark and Terry Pluto may have been the BJ’s greatest losses to the PD.

Mark is justifiably in the Cleveland Press Club’s Journalism Hall of Fame. In mine, too.

Mark’s latest national acclaim comes from Las Vegas, land of Elvis and casinos every 10 feet.

That article:

Rice's reach exceeds genre


By John L. Smith
Las Vegas Review-Journal

"Night Stalker" author Jeff Rice probably would have appreciated a little more mystery associated with his July 1 death in Las Vegas.

When you live in a creative world riddled with blood suckers and neck crushers, an ordinary death seems just a little tame. But the results of an autopsy by the Clark County coroner's office reveal Rice's demise was accidental: renal failure possibly related to heat exposure. He was 71.

Readers of horror and fantasy novels will remember longtime local Rice as the creator of the character Carl Kolchak, the rumpled newspaper reporter who found a vampire using Las Vegas as a blood bank in "The Night Stalker," a novel that became the influential movie and television series starring Darren McGavin.

Word of Rice's death has been slow to circulate after it broke last month in this column, but author and undisputed Kolchak expert Mark Dawidziak penned an insightful essay on Rice's influence that you'll find on Author of "The Kolchak Companion" and many other books, Dawidziak is also the television critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The two were close friends.

"I thought the world of Jeff," Dawidziak said in a phone interview from Cleveland. "He was one of the most honorable men I've ever known."

In his appreciation, Dawidziak detailed Rice's influence on the horror and fantasy genre and some working journalists, too.

"And when you consider the incredible rolling influence of his character, we've all probably been touched by this writer in some way or another," he observed. "If I could write one last scene for Carl, he'd be tipping his pork-pie straw hat in tribute, and he'd be tipping it to Jeff Rice."

To read Mark’s fascinating article about Jeff Rice, whose work begat so many classic horror genre tales by those who were influenced by him, click on

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It’s just too pedestrian to write that Marge Englehart, widow of former Beacon Journal State Desk editor Pat Englehart, died.

Marge was the only person who could quell the whirlwind that was Patrick T. Englehart, who put the zany in Zanesville, his birthplace and where he began his journalism career after his Northwestern University graduation.  Anyone who says otherwise talks like a man with a paper asshole.
Let’s get this straight from the get-go: Pat Englehart drove a crew of reporters and photographers stoked by his journalistic fire to the BJ’s first Pulitzer Prize. I’ve seen PR releases where others, usually ranking higher than Pat on the BJ totem pole, listed the Pulitizer as one of their accomplishments.
In truth, what they did was unleash Pat onto the Gov. James Rhodes empire. The rest was Pat. Bill Hershey, a former Washington correspondent and Columbus bureau chief for the BJ, once called Pat a “Mad Man” in an eloquent tribute to the Rolling Rock and DeNobil addict.
The 1970 killing of four Kent State students and the wounding of nine others by the Ohio National guard was a grievious error that Pat would not let Rhodes or anyone else forget.
A warehouse at the BJ held a myriad of boxes crammed with photos and reporters’ notes that were a testimony to the tenacity of Pat in getting to the truth.

But Pat always had Marge to return to in their Mogadore home, where I’m sure his constant foot-tapping during multiple conversations calmed down.

Let’s get something else straight: Marge was no shrinking violet. Even in her late 80s she took daily walks around the Elks retirement complex and drove herself to the grocery.  A former teacher she plunged into volunteer work that made a difference. This was not a woman to just plunk herself in a rocking chair and wait to die.

After his BJ retirement, health problems caused Pat and Marge to move to Ocala, Florida so that Pat could get treatments regularly and Marge could have access to a college campus. Pat had to endure such things as having his blood warmed and recirculated back into his body to battle his T-cell lymphoma.

Marge remained in Florida for seven years after Pat’s 1995 death. She moved to the 200-acre Elks National Home in Bedford, Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on U.S. 460 between Roanoke and Lynchburg for the remainder of her life, bowling and cruising to Alaska.

With Pat gone, their children became even more of a focus for her.

Peter, once a producer for ABC Sports, is an avid marathon runner. Mary Pat is married to an architect. Andrew is a lawyer and a civil engineer with a dozen or two people working for him. Phillip has a doctorate and is in Kansas City, Missouri.

Pat worked in Fairmont, Minnesota and Evansville, Indiana before joining the Beacon Journal’s wire desk in 1954 under future executive editor and publisher Ben Maidenburg, another legend.

When Pat’s accomplice on the State Desk and the founder of this BJ Alums blog died, Marge wrote to me: “Pat always had great, great respect for Harry and his ability.”

That is the greatest compliment Harry ever got.

Marge will join Pat, a Navy veteran of World War II, whose ashes are in the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, about 20 miles south of Ocala.


Together in life, together in death.


I think it is no coincidence that Marge died 66 years to the day after she married Pat. They went together like peanut butter and jelly on a glorious sandwich.


St. Peter must be relieved that he finally has Marge to tamp down some of Pat’s fire, which rivaled anything the Devil ever concocted.


The obituary for the Mad Man’s magnificent madame, Marjorie Lou Clevenger Englehart:


Marjorie Lou (Clevenger) Englehart

1927 - 2015


Marjorie Lou (Clevenger) Englehart, age 88, passed away in Bedford, Va. on August 20, 2015. The date was also her wedding anniversary, as she married her late husband, Patrick T. Englehart 66 years prior on August 20, 1949.

She was born to Guy and Oma Clevenger on March 19, 1927 in Salem, W. Va. and was a graduate of Salem College. Foremost, Marjorie considered herself a teacher. She taught English and Humanities in a variety of grades and school districts and retired from Lake Local Schools in Uniontown, Ohio in 1988. She was a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, an honor presented annually to outstanding Ohio elementary and secondary teachers. Upon retirement, she continued teaching as a volunteer literacy tutor in Kent, Ohio and also, wrote several local feature articles for the Beacon Journal.

She began her career in Zanesville, Ohio where she met Patrick, a World War II veteran preparing to go to
Northwestern University. After marriage, they would live in Evanston, Ill; Fairmont, Minnesota and Evansville, Indiana before settling in Mogadore, Ohio to raise their four children. Throughout these years, Marge was active in the local garden and bridge clubs and the Mogadore United Methodist Church and its Sarah Circle. In her later years she enjoyed golf, reading, crossword puzzles, rooting for the Cleveland Indians and gazing at the beauty of the Peaks of Otter. Additionally, she served as the Chaplin for the National Elks Home for a number of years. Like many born out of the Depression era, she had a strong work ethic and in addition to teaching, she entertained listeners with stories of her childhood jobs running errands for pennies, selling candy on the Atlantic City boardwalk and most notably, as a private messenger to historic FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover. She will be remembered for living life on her own terms in a lively and engaging style--including tap dancing-- and also for the immense love and pride she had for her children and their families.

Marjorie is predeceased by her husband, Patrick Englehart; grandson, Spencer Akers and brother, Jack Clevenger. She is survived by her four children, Peter (Janice), Phillip (Margaret), Mary Pat Akers (James) and Andrew (Victoria) Englehart; as well as grandchildren, Abram, Jacob, Natalie, Oliver, Isabel, Ian, Adeline, Patrick and Logan; as well as her two nieces, Jill Rango and Christi Dupre.

Special thanks are given to her loving friends, Marie Powers and Annette Spinner as well as all the amazing staff at Bedford Hospice Care and the English Meadows/Elks Home where she received exceptional and loving care.

She will be buried beside her husband, Patrick at the Florida National Veterans Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida. The family will hold a private memorial service at a later date. Condolences can be made through THARP FUNERAL HOME of Bedford, VA. In lieu of flowers, donations may also be made in Marjorie's memory to: Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA), 8050 N. High Street, Ste. 190; Columbus, Ohio 43235.


Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Aug. 23, 2015

This note came from Bill Hershey, former BJ Columbus bureau chief:

“Thanks for the nice piece on Marge Englehart. She and Pat were the best. They were very kind and generous to Marcia and me when we arrived in Akron in 1970 in an old Chevy and not much else.”

Marcia is Bill’s wife. She shares a home with dogs.