Thursday, June 30, 2016

BJ Reference Library retiree Sandy Bee Lynn and her husband, Glenn Lynn, make beautiful music together.

In the Cuyahoga Falls New Horizons Band -- Sandy plays viola and Glenn plays the saxophone -- and in their married life in Doylestown.

Friday, July 1 they will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary . . . by going to the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

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.

They met at a summer meeting of a winter skiing club on the shores of Put-in-Bay.

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.  Arline Mitchell Fuller was Sandy’s mother.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bob Downing, a bigger friend of the forest than Smoky the Bear, retired from the BJ after 44 years at Ol’ Blue Walls on 44 East Exchange Street.
Bob with Englehart's
Rolodex, which he's
donating to Akron
Library archives.

His forte, of course, is as an outdoors writer. He’s given my native state of West Virginia a lot of favorable publicity for its whitewater rafting and trees-adorned mountains. Bob was a raft guide on the Gauley and New rivers. The New is a challenging whitewater experience after spring rains.

Bob’s daughter, Caitlin, in a 1981 drawing contest, summed up Bob well: “My Dad’s a good reporter.”

Bob also is involved with youth soccer, at St. Sebastian’s.

When I asked Bob to provide me details on his BJ career he did such an amazing job that I couldn’t improve on it. So I’ll just let you read what Bob wrote so well. It’s one of his best articles.

Bob’s email to me:


On June 30, I am retiring from the Beacon Journal with 44 years of service.

I was hired in March 1972 by Pat Englehart as a State Desk part-timer while attending Kent State University. Wrote obits in the mornings, covered meetings at night and got to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights in downtown Kent until the post-May 4 disturbances broke out. Then I called Pat.

Was hired full-time in June 1972 and was assigned to cover Portage County. Had Kent State, Kent and western half of the county. Portage had its own 6-star edition so we had a full page to fill weekdays. Reported to Bob Page and Englehart. Worked with Ray Redmond and later Terry Oblander. Was backup Kent State May 4 reporter to John Dunphy.

Then became an education reporter, worked afternoon-evening rewrite shift, covered federal court in Cleveland. Moved to Features Department where I wrote features and also edited/put together Weekend section.

Moved back to Metro Desk.  Worked evening rewrite, covered Medina-Wayne and then Stark counties.

Was named environment reporter in January 1990 and covered that beat for 26 years. Have won awards.

Added parks, some sciences, some transportation and, more recently, shale drilling. That included writing the paper’s Utica Shale Blog since late 2011.  It is one of the paper’s best-read blogs with nearly 248,000 pageviews per year.

ABJ hired best people and challenged you to do best work. Quality journalism resulted and that continues to be a signature of ABJ. We were one of the best papers in Ohio for a long, long time. And we were proud of that.

Worked with very talented co-workers. Consider the number of books that have been written by ABJ staffers and former staffers. Many were colorful and eccentric. Some were bigger than life, too. Considered myself to be talented, versatile and hard-working.

Attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., for two years before transferring to Kent State in the fall after the 1970 shootings. Was a managing editor and editor of the Daily Kent Stater. It was an interesting time to be a journalist at Kent State.

Spent one summer (vacation and leave) rafting in the West early in my ABJ career. Also worked weekends as a raft guide in West Virginia on the New and Gauley rivers. Coached youth sports, mostly soccer. Ran St. Sebastian Soccer Club and CYO soccer for a number of years. Was a soccer referee for high school and amateur games.

My wife Pat is a semi-retired teacher/speech therapist. Son Andy is editor of Columbus Alive (owned by Columbus Dispatch) and also writes about Columbus music scene; daughter Maureen is an OB-GYN at a hospital outside Chicago and is completing residency; daughter Katie is an energy lawyer in Houston. Have one grandchild with a second on the way.

ABJ has asked me to continue my outdoorsy Sunday travel column. That started in 1998 and I have written nearly 700 columns. So my name won’t totally disappear from ABJ.

Also intend to do some freelance energy writing.

Well, Bob, I hope you have as much fun in retirement as I have in my 20 years since leaving Ol’ Blue Walls. The BJ is a great place to work and it leaves memories that last for the rest of your life. JSK was the most amazing owner I ever worked for, and I was at Nelson Poynter’s St. Petersburg Times and West Virginia’s best newspaper, the Charleston Daily Mail.
Kudos, Bob. Happy hiking and biking trails to you!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Klosterman’s latest debuts 5th on New York Times list

Former BJ reporter Charles John “Chuck” Klosterman’s latest book, “But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past,” opened at No. 5 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Chuck Klosterman
Chuck cobbles his thoughts onto those of creative thinkers George Saunders, David Byrne, Jonathan Lethem, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, Ryan Adams, Nick Bostrom, Dan Carlin and Richard Linklater.

We all know, if we’re old enough, that what was “fact” in our younger years have been disproved since. Astronomy, science and medicine are littered with such untruths from decades ago.

Klosterman has been a senior writer at Spin magazine, found his way from North Dakota to the BJ in 1998-2002 and has published about as many books as I have fingers.

Retired BJ food writer Jane Snow, perhaps the best food columnist in BJ history, was inducted as an East Liverpool High School Distinguished Alumni on Saturday at the northeast Ohio school.

She was the only woman honored this year. There are 50 with that honor in school history.

The induction came at East Liverpool’s all-classes reunion.

Jane’s recipe books always sell well. “Jane Snow Cooks” is in its fifth printing. My daughter in Aurora uses Jane’s recipes religiously and with great success.

She publishes a weekly Internet newsletter on her web site.

Her food columns have won multiple national awards.

Her husband, Tony Kawaguchi, is the sushi master/owner of Sushi Katsu restaurant in the Merriman Valley. I’ve enjoyed every visit there. Good stuff.

Tony was born in Sapporo, Japan, where he apprenticed for a sushi master before moving to the U.S. in 1982. He worked at five-star restaurants in places like Hawaii and New York City before coming to Akron at the request of Hibachi Japan, whose customers (Japanese executives from Bridgestone/Firestone) were looking for high-quality sushi here.

Jane was born in Liverpool, Ohio and came to Akron to work for the Beacon Journal. Her research for a sushi story brought her to Tony’s restaurant.

Coincidentally, Tony’s dad owned an American restaurant in Japan right outside the gate of the Air Force Base where Jane’s dad was stationed in World War II.

Former BJ managing editor Scott Bosley, who retired to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and former BJ sports columnist Tom Melody, who still lives in Akron, are in the Keyser (West Virginia) High School Hall of Fame.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

George Will: Trump’s in, I’m out

Conservative commentator and columnist George Will has un-Republicaned himself because Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

The Pulitzer Prize winner calls himself "an unaffiliated voter in the state of Maryland."

His advice to the Republican Party: "Make sure he loses. Grit your teeth for four years and win the White House."

Will worked on Republican President Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign.

Will didn’t say whether he would move to Canada if Trump is elected President.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Another eye event for Mizell Stewart

Mizell Stewart
Former Beacon Journal managing editor Mizell Stewart III, managing director and chief content officer for Journal Media Group who joined the adjunct faculty at the Poynter Institute in St.  Petersburg, Florida, is dealing with a second detached retina.

Reports Mizell:

Doc said everything went well so long as I (literally) keep my head down for the next few days.”

Mizell is a four-time Pulitzer Prize juror and vice president of the American Society of News Editors, where he will become president at ASNE’s September 2016 convention.

Former BJ photographer Tom Marvin’s Taylor guitar is making sweet music in California’s Yosemite National Park with the sounds echoing from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Coshocton’s Kay Ann Shaffer Marvin is with her husband, of course. So is their camper, which has thousands of miles on it in every state in America when Tom isn’t barn-building on their Guernsey County farm just north of Salt Fork State Park, near I-77 and north of Cambridge.
Their neighbor is Mark Kovach, known for being a BJ computer whiz.
Tom retired from Ol’ Blue Walls in 2001. Later, he retired again, as transportation supervisor for Ridgeville Local School District where Kay was a school secretary. That's where they met. They’ve been married about three decades.
Yosemite National Park, protected since 1864, is 1,200 square miles of giant, ancient sequoias, and Tunnel View, the vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.
Tom’s children are Steve Marvin, a bank assistant vice president who lives in Cambridge; Brian Marvin, who lives in Worthington and is a Reynoldsburg police detective; Misty Bellon, a registered nurse living in Eunice, Louisiana; and Beth Marvin Stevens, a Los Angeles attorney, from Tom’s marriage to former BJ reporter and retired Hoover High School English and journalism teacher Pam McCarthy.
Perry High and University of Akron graduate Tom’s sister is Marty Marvin Stiner of Canton.
If he’s home, you can contact Tom at or (740) 498-7471. Their mailing address is 74321 Birch Road, Kimbolton, OH 43749.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

BJ business writer Betty Lin-Fisher had a reunion with former BJ deputy Metro editor Arnie Rosenberg in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Arnie and wife Fran Sherman have two children, Amanda and Zach.
The Beachwood High School graduate, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, married a Beachwood gal in Fran.
He’s editor at Treasure Coast Newspapers, founder-president of The Center for Essay Excellence.
Arnie’s journalism trail has been varied.
The Ohio University grad was deputy Managing Editor at Newsmax, Metro editor-Palm Beach County at Sun Sentinel, assistant City Editor at the Denver Post, Editor in Chief at GIE Publishers, editor at The Sun Press, Sun Messenger, Sun Observer at The Sun News and a reporter at The Painesville Telegraph.
The Rosenbergs are no strangers to reunions. Fran had her high school reunion a year or so ago on Staten Island, New York.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Joe Tait with Jim Chones in the good ol' days
Ailing Joe Tait enjoys Cavs’ championship

PD and former BJ sports writer Terry Pluto has an excellent article on former Cleveland Cavaliers sportscaster Joe Tait, who is battling cancer.

Tait watched the Cavs’ history NBA title-winning on TV, not his customary viewpoint for decades.

To read Terry’s story, click on

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Selling newspapers a slam dunk . . . with right story

Who says newspapers can’t sell their product?

All you need is the first Cleveland major sports title in 52 years.

The Plain Dealer’s editions about the Cavaliers winning the NBA, ending a drought that began after Jim Brown’s Browns won the NFL, ran off 480,000 copies.

And had trouble keeping the shelves stocked.

The Beacon Journal printed 57,000 extra copies.

Hopefully, the BJ and PD won’t have to wait 52 years for a story that draws a demand for extra copies to be printed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

LeBron celebration Thursday at Lock 3

There will be a celebration at Lock 3 at 7 p.m. Thursday for Akron’s hometown hero, LeBron James.

LeBron James Family Foundation executive director Michele Campbell said James and his philantrophic organization are planning the event.

Cleveland will holding its NBA championship celebration on Wednesday. Akron will get its day in the spotlight Thursday.

Press credentials devalued with today’s technology

So presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump withdraws the Washington Post’s press credentials to cover his campaign.

So what?, managing editor Benjamin Mullin writes.

The rise of livestreaming and social media, an increasingly adversarial posture toward the press among political campaigns and a growing reliance on digital digging have combined to devalue the press credential, Mullin writes.

You can read his article by clicking on

Ex-PD publisher to run Philly newspapers

Former Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger has been named publisher and CEO of Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and

Egger succeeds Gerry Lenfest, who owns the company, as publisher.

Before the PD, Egger was an executive at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and in Tucson, Arizona.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Believeland !!!


Hot damn, the torture is over after 52 years.


LeBron succeeds Jim Brown as Northeast Ohio’s sports savior !!!
Dick Shippy’s widow passes away

Joanne Shippy, widow of the erudite BJ entertainment writer Dick Shippy, passed away Friday, June 17.

Joanne Shippy
Her obituary:

Joanne Griffin Shippy

Joanne Griffin Shippy, retired principal of Akron’s Voris Elementary School and a beloved mother and grandmother, died Friday, June 17, at Arden Courts of Bath. She was 87.

Joanne was born Nov. 17, 1928, in Albany, N.Y., to attorney F. Stanley Griffin and teacher Genevieve Shea Griffin, and spent her childhood in Clinton, N.Y. Her greatgreat- grandfather, Revolutionary War veteran Nathaniel Griffin, was among the first settlers of New York’s Mohawk Valley, arriving in 1790 after purchasing a tract of land from General George Washington and New York Governor George Clinton. In 1937, at age nine, Joanne represented the Griffin family as a featured participant in Clinton’s sesquicentennial celebration.

Following her graduation from Clinton High School, Joanne attended Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts. It was in Evanston where she met her future husband, Richard W. (Dick) Shippy. They were married in 1950. The couple lived briefly in Clinton, N.Y., and Fort Wayne, Ind., before settling in Akron in 1956.

Joanne served as an in-home instructor for the Akron Public Schools from 1958-67. She taught at Crosby Elementary School from 1967-69, Lawndale Elementary from 1969-72, and Robinson Elementary from 1971-76. She was an administrator at the school district’s Hilltop House diagnostic center for troubled children during the 1976-77 academic year. She trained as a “cadet principal” at Lincoln and Seiberling schools before being appointed principal of Voris in 1979. Many of her former students might fondly recall her donning the “Voris Vulture” costume, a bright-yellow bird suit, as part of the school’s annual Halloween festivities.

Although she retired in 1990, Joanne served as a substitute principal at several local schools over the next five years. She and Dick traveled throughout North America, Europe and Asia with friends and family members over the succeeding decade.

Joanne was preceded in death by her husband, in 2010, and son, Brian G., in 1974. She is survived by children, Kathleen T., of Akron, Kevin S., of New York, N.Y., and Richard A., of Cuyahoga Falls; as well as grandchildren, Emily, Colin, Alison, Rachel, Dylan and Graham.

The family will receive friends Monday, June 20, 4 to 7 p.m. at Hummel Funeral Home, 500 E. Exchange St., Akron.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to the League of Women Voters Education Fund,, P.O. Box 46, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44224; or Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, www.sta, 714 North Portage Path, Akron, OH 44303.

Joanne’s family extends its heartfelt thanks to the staff of Arden Courts of Bath, who provided five years of loving care to “Principal Shippy.”


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Diane Wright, who retired from the BJ Reference Library in 2008 after 23 years, is wearing a boot after fracturing her ankle. For good measure, she has several stress fractures.
Writes Diane: “No driving and in this boot for 4 weeks!!”
Diane and her travel companion Stanley Bassak had a lot more fun on Siesta Key, adjacent to Sarasota, Florida, where the late Bill Gorrell once had his rental complex that drew BJ printers by the dozens every year, and on Cozumel in Mexico.

At least the tree that fell on her property a while back didn’t land on her ankle. Or her.

Diane was part of the mass exodus from Ol’ Blue Walls that cost the BJ 345 years of service.

She is a widow living in Canton. Diane came from Martins Ferry, Ohio to the Akron-Canton area.
Former BJ executive secretary
Frances Sutphin passes away

Former Beacon Journal executive secretary Frances Sutphin passed away Monday, June 13.

Frances’ obituary:

Frances Sutphin

Frances Sutphin, 77, passed away on June 13, 2016 at The Merriman, Akron, Ohio.

Frances Sutphin
Fran was born to Guy and Ruby Carper on March 20, 1939 in Roane County, West Virginia. She graduated from Spencer High School with the Class of 1956 and was married to William Ronald (Ron) Sutphin in April 1957.

She and Ron moved to Ohio in 1965 and raised their family there. Fran was an executive secretary at Babcock & Wilcox as well as the Akron Beacon Journal. They were longtime members of the Akron Baptist Temple.

Fran was preceded in death by husband, Ron; an infant daughter, Anita; and an infant son, Mark. She is survived by her son, Craig (Patty) Sutphin; daughter, Crystal (Guy) Leach; grandchildren, Brian (Crystal) Sutphin and Amanda (Robert) Murray; greatgrandchildren, Ella Sutphin, Harrison Sutphin, and Grayson Murray. She was the oldest of eight children -- her brothers and sisters, many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and greatnephews will remember “Sis” as the one who pulled them together so often and put family above all else.

Fran loved her family, her friends, and her flowers. She will be remembered by so many for her cards and her kindness.

Friends may call at Bacher Funeral Home, 3326 Manchester Rd., on Thursday, June 16, 2016 from 5 to 7 p.m., where a funeral service will be held immediately following at 7 p.m., with Rev. Ernie Kemppel officiating. Additional services will also be held on Saturday, June 18th at John H. Taylor Funeral Home, 406 Market St., Spencer, WV 25276 at 2 p.m., with visitation one hour prior. Interment at Clover Cemetery. Funeral home map, directions, and the Sutphin Family condolence book are available at the funeral home website.

Bacher-Portage Lakes 330-644-0024

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Former BJ reporter John Dunphy has beaten some pretty serious odds.

Wife Rebecca Allen reports that John got a clean bill of health after PET and CT scans checking for a possible return of his esophageal cancer.

That puts John among the 8% who survive for at least three years.
Dr. Lipham, his wonderful surgeon, says that 3 years is a big deal. In 90% of patients, if the cancer is going to come back, it will happen in the first three years. Very good news. John doesn't have to be tested again for a year.”
Actually, the statistics say 92% don’t make it that far.
John also is a former reporter for the Orange County (California) Register. Rebecca is deputy Features Editor at the OC Register. They live in Lakewood, California.

John is contributing editor at Southland Golf and seems to make it to the golf course nearly as often as I do. Not main can make that claim since I’m in senior golf leagues at Brookledge (on Mondays) and Kent’s Sunny Hill (on Fridays) and practice with my partner, Tom, Paula’s brother, at RiverWoods on Wednesdays when I’m in Ohio.

At The Villages, Florida, the golfing increases to 5 days a week, every week, for 4 months.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Economy killing middle class … literally

A byproduct of the eviscerating of America’s middle class: The suicide rate is at a 30-year high and up 24% since 1999.

The worst increase was for men and women between the ages of 45 to 64. Experts blame soaring joblessness, home foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Among those 75 or older, suicides have decreased because these categories don’t impact that age group nearly as much.

The suicides took a sharp spike after 2006, when the housing crisis and unemployment struck hard.

The report is in the June 2016 AARP bulletin. AARP stands for American Association of Retired People, but takes in some who are not in that category.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Iula Soapbox tradition continues

In 1954 BJ promotions manager Ralph Iula became All American Soapbox Derby director for the world race in Akron.

Jeff Iula
After 20 years, son Jeff Iula replaced his father as Soapbox Derby director. Jeff has served longer than anyone and still is Soapbox Derby president and a Cuyahoga Falls councilman.

Today, at the 70th running of the Akron local Derby, Jeff’s granddaughter, Zoe, won and qualified for the All American July 16 in Akron. It was the first qualification after five years of trying for Ralph Iula’s great-granddaughter.

The Iula Soapbox Derby connection continues.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Dawidziak as Twain on Thursday

PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak, who rivals Hal Holbrook nationally as a Mark Twain impersonator, will be at his craft again at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16 at the Fairlawn-Bath Branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

A year ago he performed Twain in the library of the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut.