Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ott hawking photos at Canton’s First Friday

Ott Gangl
Retired BJ photographer Ott Gangl will have an exhibit and sale of his photos at the Canton Brewery at Market St. and 3rd for the Canton Arts District First Friday at 6-10 p.m. June 5.
Canton First Friday centers on Cleveland Avenue NW at 4th Street NW. It’s a monthly party with music, performance and visual arts events. It is a self-guided tour of art galleries, studios, stores and restaurants.
First Friday begins with a First Stop at the Canton Museum of Art @ 5:30, followed by the full-out event downtown from 6-10 p.m. Rain or shine.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Carney’s kid back on the drums

Patrick Carney, retired BJ reporter Jim Carney’s son, will be back on stage Thursday in Spain with his Black Keys partner, Dan Auerbach.

Happily reports Jim:

“Pat will play his first gig since his shoulder injury Thursday in Spain. So happy for his return to the drum kit!!”

A Saint Barth’s wave slammed Patrick onto the ocean floor in January. The Black Keys canceled their Europe and Australia tours.

Phil Trexler
Trexler Q. & A. on Cleveland Scene

Cleveland Scene has an excellent Q. & A. article on Phil Trexler, who left the BJ to become an executive producer for WKYC-Channel 3 in Cleveland and be joined at the hip with super investigator Tom Meyer (the one who’s not Carl Monday).

His favorite Ol’ Blue Walls investigative series:
Getting Akron police officer Don Schismenos off the streets. Schismenos would record people without authorization, record people including co-workers covertly and withheld some of his evidence from discovery by the attorneys of those charged.

Phil began at the BJ in 1998. He also writes books about baseball.

Trexler took a boatload of awards with him when he left the BJ.

Jacob & Terry Oblander, father & son

Terry Oblander’s father passes away

Jacob Oblander, father of the late BJ and PD reporter Terry Oblander, passed away Sunday, May 24. Terry’s dad was a Kansas farmboy who survived the Battle of Midway and is a postal service retiree.

Terry, who loved creating puzzles for the BJ and PD, died in 2011. When his beloved Mary O’Neill Oblander, who went blind from juvenile diabetes, passed away, Terry raised their three sons, Terry, Jake and Chris. Later, he married the former Linda Monroe and moved to Medina. They had a son, Josh.

Terry was a great storyteller and he was his best audience, with his raucous laughter as he spun his yard. It was infectious.

Terry was born in Cleveland and grew up in Olmsted Falls. He graduated from Cuyahoga Community College and attended Kent State University. He worked at the Record-Courier in Ravenna, probably the best smaller newspaper in Northeast Ohio, before coming to Ol’ Blue Walls for 19 years, including his stint as Guild chairman. And spent nearly that many years at the PD.

Terry’s siblings are Sue Oblanger McIntyre and Jim Oblander.

Jacob’s obituary:

Jacob LeRoy Oblander

1921 - 2015

Jacob LeRoy Oblander

Jacob LeRoy Oblander entered into this world on May 26, 1921 in Marion, Kansas.

Jacob grew up on the farms of Kansas until he volunteered to serve in the United States Navy during World War II, serving valiantly on various Navy ships during the war. He survived the ferocious Battle of Midway aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-5). Jacob went on to retire from the U.S. Postal Service.

Jacob departed this world on May 24, 2015.

Preceded in death by wife, Rosemary (Green) Oblander the mother of his children; and son, Terry Oblander. Also preceding him in death was his second wife, Natalie (Kern) Oblander, with whom he enjoyed his later years, after Rosemary's passing; and his brother, Homer Oblander of Beaverton, Oregon.

Survived by daughter, Susan McIntyre; son, James Oblander; sister, Carol Hett; and brother, Durward Oblander both of Marion, Kansas; his baby sister, Darlene Hiebert of St. Augustine, Florida; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren also survive him. Jacob was loved and respected by all those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Jacob will be laid to rest with full military honors at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman.

Per Jacob's wishes there will be no calling hours. To share a Memory, Send a Condolence, or Light a Candle, visit the Tribute Wall at (Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dawidziak’s book on the other Mark will be unveiled June 4

“Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness,” collected and edited by former BJ TV/movie critic and longtime Cuyahoga Falls resident Mark Dawidziak, will be unveiled at the Beachwood branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

Dawidziak and his wife, Sara Showman, co-founders of the Largely Literary Theater Company, also will be premiering a one-act show based on material in the book. The book, published this month by Prospect Park Books, collects the writer's often politically incorrect and always unapologetically honest advice on everything from drinking to swearing.

“Nobody gets Mark Twain the way Mark Dawidziak does,” documentary filmmaker Ken Burns says of “Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness.”  Here is the master in all of his certainty, humor and undertow. This book wonderfully underscores how contemporary Mark Twain is and always will be.”

The book launch event in Beachwood will include the performance, a question-and-answer period and book signing. Dawidziak, the television critic at Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, also will be signing “Mark Twain in Ohio,” published in April by Rod Serling Books. It details Twain's many connections to the Buckeye State and his visits to, among other cities, Akron, Cleveland, Ravenna, Wooster and Columbus.

The library is at 25501 Shaker Boulevard in Beachwood. To register for the free event, go to . For information, call 216-831-6868.

The national book launch for “Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise,” etc. will be at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. Among the places Dawidziak and Showman  have been asked to perform Twain shows this summer at the Thurber House in Columbus, the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, and the Center for Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, New York.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Retired BJ photographer Ott Gangl and wife Ann are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Writes Ott:

“60 years ago this weekend Ann and I were married at St. Bernhard church in Akron by Father Wolf who did it in German, not that we couldn't speak English, he just wanted to practice.

“It's been a blast being married to that girl.

What a vigorous six decades it has been, too.

Herzlichen Gl├╝ckwunsch zu eurem Hochzeitstag!
Sure hope I got that right, Ott and Ann.

Sandee Coddington passes away

Sandra Dietz-Coddington, wife of retired BJ production chairman Dick Coddington, passed away Friday, May 15. They lived on Jekyll Island, Georgia and were active in island preservation activities.

Dick retired from Ol’ Blue Walls in 1999.

Sandee Coddington
Sandee’s obituary:
Sandra Dietz-Coddington

1938 - 2015

Our most Merciful Lord loaned us Sandee 76 years ago and on May 15, 2015, He took her back. I borrowed this most appropriate lead from the obit of Sandee's good friend, Maria Zagami. We rejoice that Sandee has been reunited with family members, and many friends including Maria.

Sandee Dietz-Coddington was born in Ravenna, Ohio on December 14, 1938 and lived in Kent, Ohio. Following high school and a couple of years at Kent State and Ohio University, Sandee moved to Akron, Ohio where she worked for the Akron Beacon Journal. While working for the Beacon Journal, she met her husband of 50 years, Richard (Dick) Coddington.

Sandee and Dick married in Kent, Ohio on September 5, 1964. They lived in and around Akron, Ohio until August 31, 1999 when Dick retired and they moved to their current residence on Jekyll Island, Ga. For several years Sandee worked at various shops in the Historic District on Jekyll Island where she enjoyed talking with and providing local history to the many Island visitors. She also volunteered with St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Jekyll Island, helped decorate the Historic District for Christmas, and was a Sea Turtle guide.

Sandee's work and volunteer activities were cut short in 2006 when she suffered a second heart episode which was later diagnosed as Atrial Fibrillation. Adding AFib to Diabetes, full body tremors and Graves Disease (thyroid), conditions she had been dealing with for many years, forced Sandee to reduce activities, including work in the shops, volunteering, and eventually, her daily sunrise beach walks with husband Dick. She was also diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2007 and in 2010 she fell and broke her left hip. The dementia was eventually diagnosed as Alzheimer's, a debilitating, slow developing, life-ending disease that is devastating to senior citizens, their families and friends. As I read in a recent AARP article, "NO PERSON DIAGNOSED WITH ALZHEIMER'S HAS EVER SURVIVED". This is a closet disease that needs the attention of our lawmakers so funding will be made available to find the cure.

Our personal thanks to the entire staff at SGHS Senior Care Center for their dedication to every patient under their care. Special thanks goes to the nurses, CNA's and cleaning staff who work nonstop caring for patients and their environment under extremely difficult circumstances.

Sandee is survived by her husband, Dick Coddington of Jekyll Island; her daughter, Mitzi Helems of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; her son, Sean and daughter-in-law, Andi of St. Johns, Florida; granddaughters, Mandy Helems of Barberton, Ohio and Nikki Helems of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; grandson, Hayden Coddington of St. Johns, Florida; and her beloved companion Diego. She is also survived by her brother, Don Dietz of Virginia.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 13, 2015, at the Jekyll United Methodist Church, with Father Timothy McKeown officiating. In lieu of flowers, please consider sending this death notice to your law makers and seek their support for Alzheimer's research funding.


Published in Akron Beacon Journal on May 24, 2015




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jane’s tribute to West Point Market 

Jane Snow, probably the best food writer in BJ history with a boatload of national honors to prove it, writes a tribute to West Point Market, which will go belly-up in 2016 after 80 years.
Jane Snow

Jane exudes:

“Thanks to West Point I was able to write about goat cheese in 1985, shiitake mushrooms in 1986 and edible flowers in 1988, long before most of my colleagues at other newspapers had access to such ingredients.”

Former owner Russ Owens was the driving force of West Point Market till his 2005 retirement.

To read Jane’s words of wisdom about West Point Market, an Akron landmark that will be no more, click on

A developer is working with West Point Market and the City of Akron to bring a 40,000 square foot organic and specialty foods market to the property.

But it will never reach the national status of West Point Market. Just ask Jane.

Protesting to make money

There was plenty of spontaneous, legitimate outrage over the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

But hundreds were there because they were being paid. They came from outside Missouri to earn their paychecks.

Now they’re protesting because not all of them got paid.

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), supported financially by billionaire activist George Soros, advertised for outsiders to come to Ferguson and protest.

They were promised $300 for travel and applications had to be submitted two weeks before the show-up date.

Lisa Fithian trained demonstrators to “simulate chaos.”

MORE founder Jeff Ordower got a big payout. He also is an organizer for the SEIU and ACORN.

Millenial Activists United got more than $2,000 from the Soros front organization.

Bringing in hired guns to “protest” (after rehearsals) does a disservice to all the people who were spontaneously outraged by what happened in Ferguson. Citizens who didn’t ask for money to do it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Former Beacon Journal features department editor/columnist Connie Bloom, who has become a fabric art guru in Ohio, will be part of the “Conversations in Fiber, Glass and Photography” exhibit at the Margaret “Peg” Clark Morgan Gallery at 10 West Streetsboro Street in Hudson.
Connie will share the spotlight with Marianne Hite (in glass) and Bradley Hart (in photography).

There will be a Meet the Artists reception 4-7 p.m. Thursday, May 21 at the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation Art Gallery, 10 West Streetsboro Street, Hudson.

The exhibit will run through July 22.

Connie, a resident quilt artist in Summit ArtSpace on the third floor at 140 E. Market Street, writes:
“Everyone is invited to the opening of my show this Thursday. My new art quilts ‘Birches by the Sea’ and ‘Silver Bullets’ will be included in a collection of my work. I made ‘Bullets’ to relate to glass artist Marianne Hite's art by the same name. It will be a trip to see them together for the first time. Brad Hart's photography will round out the threesome.

“Legendary eats at this free event.”

Art quilts is creating fiber art that looks like paintings.

Connie’s phone number is (330) 472-0161. Or you can email her at

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Of all the images snapped during the original Aug. 15-17, 1969 Woodstock hippie weekend, one stands above all: a young couple huddled together in a blanket, standing alone in a sea of people lying on wet ground.

The photo by Burk Uzzle is on the cover of the original "Woodstock" album in 1970 and the movie poster.

Two summers later, Nick and Bobbi Ercoline married. They still live less than an hour's drive from the original concert site of Bethel, New York. They met only three months before Woodstock, at the bar where Nick worked.

Today Nick works for the Orange County, New York  Department of Housing. Bobbi is a resident nurse at the elementary school in their hometown of Pine Bush.

Nick said: “When we look at that photo I don't see Bobbi and me. I see our generation."

I remember the late BJ reporter Jim Dettling, who was at Woodstock for the fun and not to cover it, calling us and saying what a great time he was having. Neither one of us knew Jim was part of music history.

To read the entire article, click on  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mike Needs issued a special thank-you to the Akron RubberDucks organization for honoring his late daughter, Elizabeth Needs, at a baseball game in Canal Park.

Mike writes:
“I can't adequately express my profound gratitude to the Akron RubberDucks and my fellow baseball ushers for their support following the tragic death of my daughter.
“Lizzie, a nurse at AlterCare in Hartville, died April 28. From the moment of silent prayer for Elizabeth Needs before last Friday's game (amazingly, Nurse Appreciation Night), to the commemorative "EN" badges worn by the ushers, to the long line of ushers in uniform at the funeral home, to the presentation of the special “scrubs” jersey signed by the entire team, the compassion of this organization from top to bottom has been extraordinary.
“So many others also have helped, but especially Patricia Roy for rallying my Leadership Akron friends, my sister Susan Marconi for her many-layered support, my daughter Kathryn Terzano for handling all those things none of us wants to deal with and, of course, Kathy Fraze, who picks me up and keeps me standing every time I start to fall into the abyss of grief.
“To all: Don’t wait for a tragedy to tell someone you love them.”
Mike and Kathy have been together since their BJ days in the newsroom.
Mike was Features Department Editor, Public Editor and design editor at the BJ before retiring and beginning a new career as an interpretive specialist with the U.S. Forestry Service in the Hermit Valley of St. Stanislaus National Forest near Sonora, California. Which sometimes means portraying author/humorist Bret Harte in the Lake Alphine Theatre of the Stanislaus National Forest.
Kathy retired from the BJ in 2012 after four decades as copy desk queen. Kathy has written books based on “letters” from her dog to “Pops” -- Mike Needs -- in care of the U.S. Forestry Service.

Mike is an Ohio State and Cleveland St. Joseph High School graduate who lives in Akron when he’s not under the Western skies.

Elizabeth A. Needs, 37, was born in Huntington, West Virginia and lived in Uniontown most of her life. She was a nurse.

Lizzie is survived by her son, Jared Newman; father, Mike; mother, Rita Terzano; sister, Kathryn Terzano; uncles, Rev. John D. Terzano and Walter Needs; and aunt, Susan (Ed) Marconi.

WDIA’s Beale Street Blues Boy, born in 1925 on a cotton plantation in Mississippi,  is accompanying Gabriel’s horn with his Delta blues guitar, Lucille, and velvety voice and staccato-picking style.

Riley B. King, who shortened his name to B.B. King, as in Beale Blues, died Thursday night in Las Vegas. He was 89.

B.B. brought blues into the mainstream with such classics as “My Lucille,” a tribute to his Gibson ES-355 guitar, “Sweet Little Angel” and “Rock Me Baby.”

Later, he had hits with Eric Clapton and U2.

To read the CNN article on the king of the blues, click on

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bianculli spits on ‘American Idol’ grave

Former BJ TV critic David Bianculli, who dashed off to the New York Post for a lot of years and today is TV and film professor at Rowan University in New Jersey, not far from his Cherry Hill home, twisted his knife skillfully and savagely into “American Idol.”

The singing talent show will die after its final, 15th season. Not soon enough, David writes for CNN.

It did make Simon Cowell a celebrity in America, nasty attitude and all, and reminded those who forgot what singer Paula Abdul did for a living.

For those who weren't around Ol’ Blue Walls long ago, David was my first TV critic when Channels television guide was born in 1980. Before Mark Dawidziak, who escaped to the PD, and Rich Heldenfels, who came from the East and still lives among what's left of the BJ newsroom staff. 

Channels also has been dead without leaving the building, because technology and a zillion TV channels made it impossible to print and keep up to date.

To read Bianculli’s masterpiece, click on