Sunday, July 31, 2016

Russell Pry dies

Summit County Executive Russell M. Pry, 58, died Sunday of colon cancer.
Pry was the leader of the Summit County Democratic Party and the county's executive for almost nine years.  Just recently, Pry announced he was not going to seek re-election. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Jack Davis, 91, an illustrator for Mad magazine’s “Usual Gang of Idiots” for decades, died Wednesday on St. Simons Island, Ga.

His other work includes posters for “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

He began in 1950 selling drawings to EC Comics, which published “Tales From the Crypt.”

In 1952 Mad magazine began with Davis in the “Gang.”

Navy veteran Jack Burton Davis Jr. was born in Atlanta on Dec. 2, 1924, the only child of schoolteacher Callie Davis and salesman Jack Davis.

The National Cartoonists Society honored Davis with a lifetime achievement award in 1996 and he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2005.

Former Beacon Journal managing editor Mizell Stewart III and wife Valerie are celebrating their 22nd wedding anniversary today.
Mizell wrote:
Through challenge, change and adventure, you are always there. I'm so proud to be your husband and am incredibly blessed that you said 'I do' on this day 22 years ago. Happy Anniversary, Valerie!”
Mizell is USA Today Network vice president of news operations, working out of its McLean, Virginia headquarters.

Valerie and Mizell live in West Chester Township, which is near Middletown and Hamilton and Cincinnati.
Current BJ vice president and editor Bruce Winges succeeded Mizell, then the managing editor, as the top newsroom executive at the BJ in 2007.
Mizell went to the Evansville, Indiana Courier and Press as editor. Later, he became vice president/content of the newspaper division of E.W. Scripps and Journal Media Group managing director of content. 
Twinsburg native and Bowling Green graduate Mizell worked in Tallahassee, Florida before coming to the BJ in 2006.

Friday, July 29, 2016

John McMullan, NOT John McMillion, dies

John Edwin McMullan, who began his Miami Herald career in the 1920s as a carrier boy and  ended it in 1983 as the Miami Herald’s executive editor, died Monday night at East Ridge Retirement Center in Cutler Bay. He was 95.

During two terms as the Herald’s highest-ranking news executive, McMullan’s  staff won five Pulitzer prizes.

Don’t confuse him with John McMillion, the former BJ editor whose main purpose seemed to be to chop down the Guild’s power when he arrived in 1986 to "stop the erosion of profits."

He eliminated double time for Sunday work with the statement, “Sunday is just another day.”

After supervising the BJ switch from afternoon to morning paper, he retired from the BJ at age 59 and moved to New Mexico.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Former BJ newsroom editor Webb Shaw and Katie Gaab-Shaw are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. They live in Fremont, Wisconsin.

Northwest University grad Webb, who retired in 2014 after 22 years with J.J. Keller, where he was director editorial of resources, is one of four people to get the Oscar of the digital content industry, the Software & Information Industry Association Peter Jackson Innovation Award.

Webb’s father, the late Ohio native and Fremont Ross High football star Bob Shaw, was an all-American end on Ohio State’s 1942 national championship team coached by the legendary Paul Brown, who eventually guided the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL.

Later Bob Shaw was a tight end with the 1949 Los Angeles Rams and was receivers coach with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 when they beat the New York Giants to win the NFL championship in what has been called "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
He still holds the NFL record he set in 1950 of 5 TD passes in a game. Jerry Rice and Kellen Winslow, Sr. later tied it.

Webb’s mom was Mary, who caught Bob’s eye when she was selling candy as an usherette at the Ohio Theater while the Buckeye players were downtown to watch a movie.
Bob Shaw coached briefly at Cuyahoga Falls High School. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Paula Stone Tucker and I went to Branson, Missouri, which bills itself as “The Country Music Capital” (Nashville might disagree), and it was stupendous!

10 shows in 4 days and not ONE word of profanity in any of them. Just music, comedy and friendly fun.

One or two stars would come aboard our bus as it pulled into the parking lot, ask where we were from, chat with us a while, then welcome us to their show.

After the show, the star performers would be in the lobby for free autographs and photos of us with them.

When we went to the bus to prepare to leave, more stars came aboard and thanked us for coming.

This is the friendliest show casts I have encountered in all my years. Most stars perform, then walk off the stage and out of your life.

The 1,723 miles on the bus, air-conditioned as it was, is a mite tough. Once we passed through St. Louis and The Arch and got to Branson, Gad-About took us to and from our hotel, to breakfast and a show, to lunch and another show and to dinner and still another show.

And then back to our hotel where it was easy to fall asleep after all that activity.

We liked the Gad-About experience so much that we already have booked the Ocean City, Maryland-Assateague Island wild ponies tour in September, between WVU’s game with Youngstown and BYU. That Mountaineers open date always opens us up for a trip somewhere.

Next trips:

July 25-28 flight to Alpena, Michigan for golfing on the Rogers City golf course and chatting with Bob Kasper, Monongah High (West Virginia) Class of 1950 like me, an annual summer event for two guys who have exchanged the same two Christmas cards every year since 1955 and who have been best friends since we first met in first grade at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Monongah. Bob comes to our home in autumn and we go to a WVU game together – Oct. 22 TCU game in Mountaineer Field this year.

Aug. 18-22 in North Carolina with my daughter Monnie Ann of Brunswick and her family on their 2nd home about an hour from Charlotte near Grandfather Mountain. I’ve always been partial to mountains and Mountaineers.

Sept. 11-14 at Ocean City, Maryland and roaming with the wild ponies of Assateague Island and Paula, who like West Virginia is wild and wonderful.

Dec. 5 flight to Orlando, Florida to re-join Paula, who will drive to her 2nd home in The Villages, Florida in October. We’ll return to Ohio for the holidays, then drive down together to The Villages where we’ll stay till late April.

I was Paula’s boss, as assistant State Desk editor under Pat Englehart, the wonderful whirlwind, in the 1970s before she went to California after her husband’s early passing to raise her son, a jazz musician in New York City nowadays. We got together after my wife Monnie passed away in 2004, and will be celebrating our 12th anniversary Sept. 17 … on the road again, just like Willie Nelson.

When I think about all this, I still can’t believe that a coal miner’s son from Monongah has been to 54 countries and 44 states and will play 100 rounds of gold this year.

Life is good. The undertaker can wait.

If you want to see my online photo album of my trip to Branson, Missouri with Paula, click on


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Former BJ sharp guy Brad Guigar created Evil Inc., a daily webcomic that is a sequel to his Greystone Inn. Both a chockful of comic supervillains.

Brad also is author of “The Webcomics Handbook,” the Bible for webcomics wannabees.

Ken Krause, who once excelled in the Ol’ Blue Walls newsroom before landing in Medford, Massachusetts, called my attention to an interview of Brad as the Wizard World Philadelphia extravaganza this month.
Ken’s exhuberant post: “Great interview with webcomics pioneer and fellow BJ alum Brad Guigar . . . knew him when he was doing locator maps (among other outstanding work)!
You can check out Brad’s Evil Inc. webcomics site by clicking on
The article:
ComicsVerse’s Kristine Don visits comic creator Brad Guigar at his booth at Wizard World Philadelphia. Guigar is an Eisner Award-nominated web cartoonist who was recognized for his efforts in the field of webcomics. As coordinator of the webcomics for ComicsVerse, Kristine had a special interest in speaking with Mr. Guigar and picking his brain on all things webcomics.

Brad Guigar discusses his daily webcomic, EVIL INC., which is a sequel to his earlier work, titled GREYSTONE INN. He explains the evolution from GREYSTONE INN to EVIL INC. and how he wanted to focus on villains from GREYSTONE INN and feature them in EVIL INC. Guigar also shares his inspirations on the villains in EVIL INC., which include movies and other comics from companies like DC and Marvel. Kristine and Brad go on to explore the themes in EVIL INC. of villainy and the ability to do illegal and evil things with the same ease as legal acts: a theme that is very relevant in today’s day and age.

There are few comic creators with the insight that Brad Guigar has on the webcomics medium. In the interview, he divulges the benefits that webcomics have for a comic creator and even references his own guidebook, THE WEBCOMICS HANDBOOK. Webcomics allow for many unique differences from larger publishers and comics that are in circulation. Guigar describes webcomics as a medium that produces and enables voices from comic creators who may not be heard otherwise.

Brad Guigar’s insight into the world of webcomics is incredible.
BJ’s Gary Schott passes away

Gary Schott, who spent 20 years working as a BJ mailroom mechanic, passed away Monday, July 18.

Before Ol' Blue Walls, he owned Gary’s Drain Service

Gary Schott
Long-time BJ employee Kelli Miller-Schott has been married to Gary’s son, Gregory, for 20 years. They live in Tallmadge.

Kelli wrote: "Gary was a great man."

Ken Krause, my reliable source about BJ folks, reports that “Kelli Schott supervised the message center in the newsroom and also worked in HR and for Condolences to his family, friends and coworkers.” 

Cheryl Scott Sheinin, who was in BJ Finance for 45 years, wrote that Kelli also worked in her department. Cheryl is the wife of former BJ staffer Neil Sheinin.
Gary’s obituary:

Obituary for Gary E. Schott

AKRON - Gary E. Schott, 63, passed away unexpectedly July 18, 2016. He was a life-long Akron resident. Gary graduated from Firestone High School in 1971, going on to serve his country in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S.A.F. He proudly worked for the Akron Beacon Journal for 20 years. He was a hard worker, and proud business owner of Gary's Drain Service. He was a loving husband, a devoted father and grandfather, someone that would always put others before himself. He enjoyed fishing, train watching, motorsports and most of all spending time with his family.

He is survived by his loving wife, Bonnie of 43 years; children, Gregory (Kelli), Dawn (Joshua) Ocker and Kevin (Jess Mikovich); grandchildren, Geoffery, Brittany, Amyia and Ciarra; brother, Robert (Martha); aunt, Donna Ulrich.

Friends may call 2 hours prior to a 6 PM funeral service on July 22, 2016 at the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home 1930 Front St. Cuyahoga Falls, OH, 44221. Inurnment will be at Chestnut Hill Memorial Park. In lieu of other remembrances memorials may be made to the American Red Cross 501 W. Market St. Akron, OH, 44303 or the American Heart Association 3505 Embassy Pkwy Ste. 100 Akron, OH, 44333. Services entrusted to Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home and Crematory, 330-928-2147.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Galloway work of art

Andrew Galloway
Former BJ reporter Barbara Galloway Mudrak extols “A wonderful article by Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Jim Galloway about our grandfather's career in Cleveland. It's a great story of grit and determination that is probably typical of many immigrants. But I'm especially proud of this one. And of Jim.”

Cousin Jim’s magnificent article is about a Scottish woodcarver named Andrew Galloway who chiseled his way into Cleveland church history.
Jim also mentions Barbara in the article.

To read about the Glasgow native with the Republican National Convention in full bloom, click on

Monday, July 11, 2016

BJ scooped on its own reporter’s story

BJ  popular culture writer and jack-of-all-trades in today’s newspaper environment Rich Heldenfsls wrote an article about 1940 presidential candidate Wendell Willkie being a former Akron resident with no previous political experience who ran for the office long before Donald Trump … about seven decades ago.

That was a month ago.

After the Seattle Times ran it, apparently because someone at the BJ put in on the wire even though Ol’ Blue Walls held the articles for weeks, the BJ rescued it from its musty computer files and ran it.

John Higgins, a former BJ staffer, posted it on Facebook.

So the BJ got scooped by its own reporter in a state far, far away in the newspaper galaxy.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Mark Dawidziak with his father
Dawidziak’s father passes away

PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak’s father, Joseph Walter Dawidziak, 96, passed away. He was laid to rest today at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island, New York.

He was born on December 31, 1919.

He was captain and navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II, father of Mark, Joe, Jane, Aileen and Michael. He was married to Claire Dawidziak, who passed away in 1988, and to Bernie Dawidziak, for another 27 years.

Mark was born in Huntington, New York, on September 7, 1956.

He came to the BJ from Tennessee in 1983. Later, he joined the BJ exodus to the PD.

Previously, Mark's career took him to the Kingsport Times-News in Tennessee, the Bristol Herald Courier in Virginia, the Associated Press’ Washington bureau and Knight-Ridder Newspapers’ Washington bureau.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the British Empire’s 13 American colonies were a new, free nation, the United States of America. Its primary author was Thomas Jefferson, who later became President.

Jefferson and John Adams, the only signers who became President, both died on July 4th -- in 1826. When James Monroe died on July 4, 1831, he became the third President in a row who died on that holiday.

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, born on July 4, 1872, is the only U.S. President born on Independence Day, which wasn’t called that until 1791.

Ohio was admitted into the Union on March 1, 1803. A legal misstep by Congress, which neglected to ratify the state constitution, was corrected retroactively in 1953.
Ohioans elected President are William Henry Harrison, born in Virginia; Ulysses S. Grant, born in Point Pleasant; Rutherford B. Hayes, born in Delaware; James A. Garfield, born in Moreland Hills; Benjamin Harrison, born in North Bend; William McKinley, born in Niles; William Howard Taft, born in Cincinnati; and Warren G. Harding, born in Blooming Grove.

Ironically, the Philippines celebrates July 4 when it ceased to be a U.S. territory. July 4 was intentionally chosen by the United States to match America’s Independence Day. It was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until the name was changed to Republic Day in 1964.
Black media taking bigger hit

When I was a child growing up in West Virginia, every month a newspaper was delivered to our home with the initials ZNP, which is Polish for Polish National Alliance. The Polish tavern in Monongah was named the PNA Tavern.

It was a way for Polish immigrants and their descendants to stay in touch with their roots, reading about Poland and events of interest of those with a Polish heritage.

Also in America, for African-Americans, there was Ebony and Jet, a product of Johnson Publishing Company. Just like ZNP, these magazines provided African-Americans with a voice and a source.
Muhammad Ali and Aretha Franklin got prominent coverage. When Barack Obama became the first black president, his first print interview was to Ebony.

Now Johnson has been sold to a private entity.

And Time owns Essence magazine and Viacom owns Black Entertainment Television.

Print publications everywhere are hemorraging. Black publications are hit even worse.

The story is as disturbing in radio. In 2013, there were 166 black-owned radio stations and 68 black-owned radio companies, down from 250 stations and 146 companies in 1995.

Only 12 commercial television stations are black-owned, in very small markets.

The decline was accelerated when, in 1995, the 1970s tax incentives for minorities media ownership began to be phazed out.

To read the New York Times story on the decline, click on


Friday, July 01, 2016

Olivia de Havilland, the Melanie Wilkes whose unselfishness contrasted to the petulant Scarlett’s behavior in the 1939 classic “Gone With the Wind,” is still alive at the age of 100.

She’s celebrating with dinner and drinks with “dear, dear” friends in Paris, where she’s lived for six decades after marrying a Frenchman.

Miss de Havilland was born in Japan to English parents, who reared her in Los Angeles where she became an American citizen. She was in films for eight decades, but “Gone With the Wind” brought her an Oscar and a permanent place in the memories of moviegoers.

Not even eight on-screen romances with swashbuckling Errol Flynn could top that.

She may have been sweet and loving in “Gone With the Wind” but she took on and beat Warner Brothers in a 1944 lawsuit that forced movie studios to limit their strangehold on actors to seven years, instead of ad infinitum.