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Posted by kmundy on Jun 1, 2012 in Interesting people - No Comments »

 

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Props to my peeps…

Younger generation, forgive me for his headline!

 

“I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary.”

Yogi Berra

I have no idea what Yogi Berra meant, but that is probably a good thing, right? However, his quote seemed to go with my topic this week– the people, who over the last 25-plus years, have made my job much easier. I guess you made this day necessary?

FORMER STAFF

In 25 years, I have been fortunate to have worked with many devoted, talented and hard-working people, and some have even become close friends. The person I worked with the longest and who is definitely one of my closest friends is Linda Stark, our former advertising representative. Linda started out as the secretary at almost the same time that I began working as a reporter when the Press-News was purchased by the Alliance Publishing Company. She later became the “ad rep” and worked until she retired a few years ago. As two of the “originals,” we went through two office moves and have shared ups and downs in our professional and personal lives. I truthfully do not think I would have made it for 25-plus years without her friendship and support.

One of my funniest (it wasn’t funny at the time, though) memories of Linda was back when we were using the huge, antiquated word processors. Linda, who was secretary at the time, had to type several extremely long legal ads that had come in late. She went beyond the call of duty and agreed to type them, so they would go into the paper in a timely manner. After hours of typing, she saved her file and thought she was done. However, she had forgotten that she did not have her cursor at the bottom before she saved (a must with those decrepit machines) and she lost everything! Being a devoted secretary, she started all over again, and I think she went home about 9-10 that evening. Oh, how thankful we are for computers who have back-ups and more!

Steve Wiandt was another long-time employee, and he may have been the only employee I have had that actually took over my position for several months. What would I have done without someone who was not only knowledgeable enough to be the editor of the paper, but was also dependable enough to do the job? Steve knew the area, and he knew how to write and edit. I had no worries– except to give birth to a healthy child!

Working with Steve could be fun and educational for both of us. He is the trivia guy when it comes to television, old movies, cartoons and comics. We both liked the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and I think Steve could recite quite a bit of the dialogue of the movie– not to mention a few of the lines from the old “Little Rascals” episodes. However, I think I may have helped Steve become a Cleveland Indians fan, since he had to hear me talking about the line-up of the day, pitching and batting statistics, why I hate being a Tribe fan and how I almost met Rocky Colavito!

Steve continues to work with our company as a reporter for the Cuyahoga Falls News-Press (a newspaper that we ironically get calls for from time to time, due to having a similar name). His “Who, What, When, Where and Wiandt” column was a great hit in The Press-News for many years, especially the columns on the mysterious bread rolls that were being dumped throughout the area. His column is now a blog for the News-Press, but it can be found on our website as well.

Over the years, I have had some wonderful people work for me, and I would love to name each one, but I know that I would forget someone, so I think I better not go there. Some have been full-time help, but most have been part-timers or “stringers” (people who are paid per assignment). I am grateful for these dedicated people who always took ownership of the hometown newspaper and who gave their best to the readership area.

VOLUNTEERS

I would like to name a few people who have volunteered their time to The Press-News for no other reason, but that they are wonderful and generous people who love their hometowns, schools and like to see their friends, neighbors and family members get a little recognition. Those people include Carmen Swihart (my sister), Jann Coates and Beth Lampe. I cannot even begin to tell you how many photos these three excellent photographers have taken for the hometown paper. Thanks to you three for all the photos of parades, Memorial Day events, high school sports, school activities and much more.

CURRENT STAFF

Now to my current staff. Tesa Strasser has been with The Press-News longer than any of my current employees. She has become a friend, as well as a member of my staff. She only comes into the office once a week now, but what she does for The Press-News in the office and outside of the office is unbelievable. Tesa has a real talent for writing feature stories, and many of you have sent her cards and notes to thank her for the stories she has written about you and your family or friends. (Tesa and I are also have one main thing in common; we are both die-hard Indians fans!)

Bethany Dykshoorn is the youngest member of our staff, but she is dedicated, hard working and talented. She is doing a great job writing most of our sports articles, as well as helping out in other areas. She recently had to take a “crash course” in the layout and design of pages, and she has been my “right-hand” (literally, since I am left-handed) on deadline day. Bethany may be young, but I can tell you, if you want to know anything about a book or an author, she can probably tell you. She is an avid reader of all kinds of books, and she knows her classics– especially Charles Dickens.

John McLaughlin does not come into the office too much these days, but I would venture to say that he is probably the staff member you have seen the most. At almost every school I go to, the students and parents will tell me how much they appreciate John and his photos. I know I am thankful for his talents and his willingness to be wherever we need him to be to snap a photo.

Since we have recently reorganized the staffs with The Press-News and our sister newspaper, The News Leader, Todd Reed has become the sports editor of both newspapers. With Todd taking over the leadership of the sports, it has helped me to have more time to devote to other areas of the newspaper. I am thankful for his leadership in this area. Todd has been with the company for many years, and he is organized and efficient at his job. (I only wish my desk could look as clean as his!)

Walter Doerschuk, who is a full-time student at Kent State, has also been part of my staff for the last few years. Walt covers Canton Township and occasionally covers sports and writes features. He has also been a part of my summer staff for the last few years. Walt is an excellent writer, is probably one of the most polite young men I have met in many years, and he is also one of those “suffering” Tribe fans!

Many may have also noticed that my husband, Mike Mundy, has helped out by writing sports and covering meetings. As a full-time English teacher and someone who will be honest with me about my writing, Mike helped from the beginning of my career when I was having him look over story after story that I had written. He watched me as I filled up wastebaskets (before computers were around and we could just delete and start over) with stories I didn’t like. He was always there advising and supporting me and I thank him for his help!

Helping to make our newspaper profitable is Marie Sumser, our current advertising representative. She is always enthusiastically calling on area merchants, and that is how the hometown paper stays alive. Local businesses please support your hometown paper, and readers and subscribers please support your local businesses. We need to keep them in our area for many reasons.

The Press-News’ local correspondents– Jean Willis, Helen Trompower, Donna Robinson, Sandy Easterday, Jennifer Crone and Pam Diehl– do much more than submit news for the ever-popular Talk of the Towns column. These ladies also keep me informed about what is going on throughout our area. This is invaluable to me, especially since our news office is not located in our readership area. They sometimes are the eyes and ears that take the place of my regular staff not physically being in the readership area as much as we would like.

All the people above and many more have kept me in this position for 25-plus years. It is their hard work, devotion, loyalty, talents and knowledge that have made my job easier. The last 10 years or so of my job have been the most difficult, due to having our office moved out of our readership area. I have sometimes felt like the “man (or woman) without a country.” However, it is supportive staff members, friends and family who keep me here at the Press-News and help me to serve our friendly and fun readership area.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

 

 
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Posted by kmundy on Jun 1, 2012 in commentary - No Comments »

 
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Saying farewell to Fred

Posted by kmundy on Jun 1, 2012 in Interesting people - No Comments »

 

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Remembering Fred Wisler

 

“Life’s too short to walk around angry. So be happy and sing it out loud.”

Last week I saw that comment posted on Facebook, and the statement brought to mind Fred Wisler, a former colleague at the newspaper.

Fred had been ill for awhile and Hospice had to be called last week. Family members and friends knew it was only a matter of time, and on Saturday, Feb. 4— with his family surrounding him— Fred said farewell to this world. Those who knew him over the years, speculated about Fred singing a hymn as he entered “the pearly gates.”

Over the 33 years that Fred worked at the newspaper, his co-workers became accustomed to him breaking out in song. Most of the time it was an old hymn, but it could have also included a Big Band classic, a Broadway song or a television tune. Since his retirement in Oct. 15, 2004, the “back room” (where he performed many of his duties— and songs) has seemed rather quiet.

Fred began working in 1971 for what was then The Minerva Leader, which was owned by Leonard Boerner. Fred would help Mr. Boerner build ads and set type on a huge handset typesetter.

When the Alliance Publishing Company purchased the Leader and the Malvern Community News, Fred’s responsibilities changed. He became a courier– going to several different offices. His job changed again in 1986, when The Press-News was purchased. Fred was that “go to” guy for several weekly newspapers, as well as the daily paper, The Review, in Alliance. When the Dix Corporation consolidated some of the newspapers and the weekly office, Fred’s job description took another turn, but whatever his responsibilities were, Fred never complained and usually had a smile on his face when he answered the “Fred, can you…?” question often heard during the day.

“I don’t mind doing things for people,” Fred said as he was preparing to retire. “Things have to be done, so I might as well do them.”

The last time many of us in the office saw Fred was at Christmas time. The office custom has been to invite back long-time employees for a Christmas luncheon, which takes place a week or so before the holiday. Our office secretary Carol Carle called Fred to invite him to the get-together, and he came in with his daughter Lynn and granddaughter Lanae.

We had a long visit that day, and although we were all busy with with holiday events, stories and deadlines, I don’t think any of us regretted spending a few extra minutes visiting with someone who was not only a fellow employee, but also a friend. I will always remember the tears in Fred’s eyes that day as he related to my staff members and me the importance of his faith in God.

Fred was not perfect. I am not sure if he ever carried a cell phone, so we sometimes had to make a few phone calls to find him when the errands seemed to be taking too long. Usually he was carrying on a conversation with someone or helping out a friend or family member. However, I definitely have learned few life lessons from Fred. Most important: don’t be afraid to let people know how much your faith means to you and second “singing is much better than complaining.

 
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Cleveland fans say farewell to Bob Feller— sports and military hero

Posted by kmundy on Dec 16, 2010 in Baseball, Interesting people - No Comments »
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Here we are with the great Bob Feller at spring training in Florida. Notice the long line behind us. We tried not to take too much time.

Bob Feller died yesterday, Dec. 15, 2010, at 92 years old. With his passing, Cleveland lost probably its most well known and loyal sports hero. Of even more importance, though, the country lost a great patriot.
I was fortunate enough to meet Bob Feller a few years ago when I traveled to spring training in Florida with my sister-in-law, Dr. Arlene Marx. We had the opportunity to travel to Florida two different years for opening day of spring training, but Mr. Feller never missed an opening day. He was always there greeting fans, signing autographs, encouraging the players and, of course, throwing out the first pitch. When the Indians moved spring training to Arizona he planned to be there as well.
As any Cleveland Indians fan knows, Bob was also often seen in Cleveland. He came to play for the Indians when he was just 17 years old (before he even graduated from high school), and he never really left— except for the time he spent servng in the military. With the disloyalty and egotism we too often see in athletes at this time, I wish Lebron and a few others would have had a long talk with this man. Bob would have told them all about what it was like starting out as a teenage superstar. Hopefully, his humility would allow him to add that he tried to never forget his family, friends, country and fans.
I will not regret the few minutes I was able to spend talking to “the Heater from Van Meter,” as he had been nicknamed. We had missed meeting him a couple years before during our first trip to spring training. The line for autographs was so long, we opted to sit down and see the start of the game— hoping that we could come back later and get an autograph. However, we missed that autograph session.
The next trip, Arlene and I made it a priority to wait in line and get an autograph. Believe me, it was a wait. Mr. Feller liked to talk and spend time with all his fans. He would answer questions, pose for photos, give advice and make everyone feel as if they were his closest friends. Rodger Henderson, a native of East Canton, worked at the ballpark and had begun to help set up those autograph sessions each year. Rodger told me how much he admired the man who had become not just his hero, but his friend. He talked about how “Bob” took time with everyone and even when Rodger advised him to close the autograph sessions, he would often come back and find him talking to someone else.
When I had the opportunity to talk to Bob at spring training, I asked him to give me some advice for my son, who played sports. In his down-to-earth way of talking, he merely said “tell him to work hard and throw strikes.”
At home, I have an autographed copy of his book titled “Bob Feller’s Little Black Book of Baseball Wisdom” laying on a table next to my computer desk. As the title suggests, the book is definitely filled with words of wisdom, but not just about baseball. He also wrote about the “importance of manual labor,” “family values, ” “America’s real heroes” and much more. Furthermore, he told of other positive influences in his life such as his father “who built him (the original) field of dreams,” Babe Ruth, Larry Doby, Jackie Robinson and Cy Young.
Also known as “Rapid Robert,” Feller retired in 1956, with 256 wins, 2,581 strikeouts, 44 shutouts, three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, the first time he was nominated.
As great as all of those statistics sound, they could have been even greater had he not interrupted his career to serve in the United States Navy for 44 months. However, to Feller, it was not an interruption; it was his duty as an American to enlist and fight for freedom during World War II. While in the Navy, he served on the USS Alabama and received six battle citations for his bravery.
Our young people need more role models like Bob Feller. He gave his all whether he was out on the mound “throwing the heat,” lifting bales of hay on the farm in Van Meter, Iowa, fighting for his country as a sailor or greeting baseball fans at the park.
In his book, he has many quotes, but I don’t think any of them better describes how the sports hero lived his life than this one: “Lost time is never found. You’re put on Earth for a given amount of time, and what you do during the time that the good Lord has given you says much about you. It’s your legacy.”
Thanks, Mr. Feller, for living by that philosophy. On Dec. 15, the “good Lord” walked out to the mound and took the ball out of your hands. Will He ever find “a relief pitcher” who can step up— in the same way that you have for 92 years? All we can do is hope.

 
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Coffee in Columbus

Posted by kmundy on Nov 28, 2010 in family - 5 Comments »
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Adriana helping me meet deadline.

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Coffee creations in Columbus

Since my daughter Adriana has decided to not only leave me but to leave the entire country (she is moving to London– as in England!), I have been visiting her as much as possible in Columbus (as in Ohio!).

Those little excursions about once a week have involved eating  at all kinds of unique and fun places that serve everything from vegetarian and Venezuelan foods to cayenne-peppered chocolate ice cream and peach salsa. Of course, each trip has to include a great cup of coffee.

During a recent visit, I was advised by my daughter, the coffee connoisseur, to try the honey vanilla latte coffee at Cafe Brioso on East Gay Street in Columbus. In addition to being the  best cup of coffee I believe I have ever indulged in, it was also a work of art! If you love coffee or tea, it is worth the drive. Tell them Karen, from the Press-News, sent you. If you do not think it is worth driving to Columbus for a cup of coffee, the cafe is close to the Ohio State House and many other interesting and fun places to visit.

During the following week’s visit, Adriana and I drove over to Grandview, just west of downtown Columbus, to have a “buonissimo” Italian meal at Spagio and then coffee at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, just a few doors down the street from the restaurant. The coffee was great there as well, and Stauf’s had a extensive selection of delicious, but healthy baked goods. While at the coffee shop, the two of us actually collaborated on writing the story about the fire at Stark Ceramics in East Canton, which had to be turned into my daily paper that afternoon.  (The life of a journalist!)

Don’t worry,  my Weight Watcher and health conscious friends, I tried to be somewhat careful of the “point values”  and calories; and we did a lot of walking while shopping, sight-seeing and visiting a fantastic art show at The Ohio State University.

I will miss my daughter when she moves away next month more than words can ever express (I will write more about that in a future blog).  As much as I love going to Columbus, I am not sure if I can stand the thought of visiting there after she leaves. The coffee will seem bitter, the food will not set right in my stomach and something will be missing every place I visit, because the person with whom I love to share those experiences will be across the ocean (possibly sipping a cup of tea).

As her mom– I am happy that she has this opportunity. However, as her mom, I am also extremely sad that she will no longer be just a couple hours away from her family and me. But for now, I plan to make the most of our visits and to spend every moment I can with her;  in the future, it looks like I will be obtaining a passport and learning to love flying!

It has been said that deciding to have a child is like deciding to let
your heart walk around outside your body for the rest of your life.

 
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10 life lessons I have learned from LeBron James

Posted by kmundy on Jul 17, 2010 in basketball, commentary, Interesting people - No Comments »

e4701g88mmn7ehz2baynbs6e0I have never been a Lebron James fan.

I know many of us are coming out of the closet. However, just about anyone who knew me well knows: I love sports, I am a long-suffering Cleveland fan, but I never had any hope or desire for LeBron to be “our savior.”

I saw LeBron play back in high school, and I cheered against him even then. I cheered against him in his junior year when his team of superstars were defeated at the Ohio High School State Tournament by St. Bernard Roger Bacon High School. Who? Yes, Roger Bacon, a team that looked like they should have been winning football championships– not basketball games. However, the Roger Bacon guys played hard, they played smart and they played as a team– something that “LeBron’s team” was not able to do that year. (But, as far as I can see, I have never seen one of “LeBron’s teams” play team basketball).

Of course, I cheered with even more fervency against LeBron’s Akron St . Vincent-St. Mary’s team the next year when they played the Canton South Wildcats. However, the Akron team was playing with a purpose that year. They had wanted to win the state championship all four years, but Roger Bacon rained on their parade the year before. St. V’s wanted to be sure they were not “upset” again. Therefore, they decided they would play the games before deciding they already had the championship in their pockets. Low and behold– they defeated both South and Kettering Archbishop Alter.

All the hype– the king, the chosen one and we are witnesses– just absolutely made me ill over the last few years. No one, and I mean no one– especially someone who dribbles around a basketball for a living (and I love basketball!) should be worshiped and adored as LeBron was.

Even in all this craziness, though, I have learned some life lessons from Lebron James that I would like to share with you, my readers. So, here goes!

1. Be suspicious of any who wears a New York Yankees hat. (Especially when they come from Akron, are making a killing off Cleveland area fans, and they wear the cap to a Cleveland game).

2. People who have to illustrate on their bodies that they are the “chosen one” are most likely not the “chosen one.”

3. If you let someone get away with breaking rules in high school, that person is probably going to do the same thing when they become an adult.

4. Good basketball is spelled t-e-a-m. It is not spelled k-i-n-g.

5. People who refer to themselves in the third person usually have inflated egos (or they found the secret of cloning).

6 People who keep saying “myself” are trying to shy away from saying “me, me, me.”

7. When we are all “witnesses” of someone quitting during a nationally televised game, the guy should not say (or have his friends say) he did not quit.

8. The NBA is not real basketball and someone needs to get it back to what basketball is meant to be (this subject is worth its own blog).

9. Loyalty cannot (and should not) be purchased. Loyalty comes from the heart.

10. As much as I really do not want to make this next statement, I must: “Mom is not always right!”

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My dad– my hero!

Posted by kmundy on Apr 15, 2010 in family - 1 Comment »

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Heroes– they change as we grow older, but sometimes they come full circle. My dad, John Hale Jr., was my hero when I was a tiny tot, and now that I am a middle-aged mom and grandmother– he has once again become my hero.

I have memories of my dad way back when I was only about 3 or 4 years old. The reason I know that is because, my parents were divorced at that time, and I vividly remember many of those days. Some of those early events are not easy to share in a blog, but my dad will be 85 years old on April 28, and I do not want to miss the opportunity of letting him and others know why he is my hero.

As I look back to my first memories of my father, most of my viewpoint at that time was literally looking up at him. Over six foot tall, thin, with jet black, wavy hair, my dad definitely stood out in a crowd. Add to that his beaming smile, his guffaw of a laugh and his “I have never met a stranger” personality and you have a person who is not easy to forget.

Although he was a towering man, I recall my dad being a gentle and loving person– not only to his children, but to his mother and his other family members and friends. Furthermore, I knew that he had a sadness about him. During one of our visits, I was crying, and remember seeing tears in his eyes as well.

Over the years, my dad has once again become my hero– for many reasons.

My dad graduated from high school and attended Ashland University. Although economic concerns at the time prevented him from finishing his college education, he never stopped learning. Often visiting his local library, he is an avid reader of books, magazines and newspapers.

My dad honorably served his country in the United States Navy during World War II. He owned his own window washing and office cleaning business for many years.

He was a loving and faithful husband to my stepmother for many years before her recent passing. Together they raised four wonderful children and have been there for my sister Carmie and I and all of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

My dad is an accomplished musician, and music has always been an important part of his life. He has not only given lessons to many young people; he is also in demand for his musical talents. Over the years his skillful wielding of the guitar and his sweet singing voice has opened up opportunities for him to meet numerous people from all walks of life. He has traveled many places and entertained thousands of people at many venues, as well as on television and radio. Although he, himself, is a senior citizen– he has spent a lot of time in recent years going into nursing homes with other musicians to entertain the residents. I have no doubts that he had the musical talent to be a success in Nashville, Tenn., or some other “music city,” but he chose to stay home to take care of his wife and family.

My father continues to be an avid gardener. Really, I think I should refer to him as a farmer, because his gardens are not small, 4 foot-by-four-foot patches. No, they have been acres of corn, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, melons and more. What does he do with all this produce? He gives more of it away than he probably keeps. Sure– the family freezes and cans a lot of their bounty, but even those items are often given to a family member, friend or neighbor.

For all of these reason, my father is my hero, but probably the most important reason I admire him has to do with his faith in God. He loves the Lord Jesus, and lives his life according to what scripture teaches: “Love the Lord, Your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Although my dad is one of those people at the top of my hero list, I have many other heroes. They include other relatives, as well as ministers, teachers and friends. Tell me about your heroes and how they made an impression on your life. Maybe your story can inspire others, as I hope that my story about my dad will do.

I love you dad, and I think I can safely say so do Carmie, Christy, Johnny, Gary and Angie.


 
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Let’s talk about casinos, cameras and quarterbacks

Posted by kmundy on Mar 10, 2010 in commentary - No Comments »

Let’s talk…

I have several items on my mind this month, so bear with me, and feel free to agree or disagree. This random column has my opinions on casinos, tournament games and even Browns quarterbacks (and I do mean quarterbacks, because it has been a long time since we have had “A Quarterback.”)

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Are casinos really the answer to Ohio’s economic problems?
First of all– what were Ohio voters thinking last November when they approved casinos coming into Ohio– namely in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo?

I know many Ohioans looked at the sad state of Ohio’s economy and thought: “we need jobs and state funding so why not bring casinos to Ohio?” A majority of residents wanted the money for our state, as well as the convenience of having casinos nearby– instead of in neighboring states.
However, many seem to be okay with having casinos in the state, but not as many want them in their backyards. Just ask a few residents and business owners in some of the cities that will soon have casinos.

A Casino Free Columbus group has been organized since the November vote. This group, which has in it’s membership successful restaurant and other business owners, clergymen and many other citizens, is concerned about a casino coming to town.
Those concerns include:
1. Casinos pulling money from local businesses such as restaurants, bars and stores.
2. Casino owners not guaranteeing to hire Ohioans, and if they do what kind of pay or positions will they be given?
3. Gambling being found to be addictive and causing people to go into debt leaving families to suffer divorces, bankruptcies and foreclosures (causing more problems for the economy).
4. Casinos bringing in crime, which ends up costing the state much more for police protection.

I love visiting our state capital, and it is extremely disappointing to think Columbus could go in the same direction of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Gulfport, Mississippi. As a young child, I vacationed in Atlantic City with my family, and have great memories of that time. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Atlantic City was a great place for families to visit. The “Boardwalk,” with all its attractions, food, entertainment– and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean, was known around the world. We saw the Everly Brothers (big stars then). I ate my first submarine sandwich (delicious!). And– speaking of submarines, my family and I went down in a capsule-type of “submarine.” This strange looking ball, with lots of windows, was tethered to something on the surface. I don’t remember seeing a lot of sea life, but it was a unique experience, although a little scary.

I have not been to Atlantic City since that time, but from what I have heard from others and in the news, it is no longer a place to take the family. The casinos, which were supposed to save Atlantic City, did not, and the fantastic tourist attraction of the years past, is a shell of what it once was.

Furthermore, my oldest son was stationed in Gulfport during much of his service in the United States Navy. I was warned before he went, that Gulfport had a lot of crime and poverty. That is exactly what my son found, when he spent a couple years there. He came back thinking he would not want to raise a family in the area, which really did not have a lot to offer the local people when it came to jobs.

Will casinos be the answer to our woes here in Ohio, or will it be the same as the lottery, which basically gives one place, while the government takes from another place? Time will tell, and you are welcome to give your opinions, but, for me, I am sad and scared to see casinos coming to Ohio.

Flash or no flash– that has been the big question this year!

As many high school basketball fans have noticed this season, sports photographers, including Press-News photographer Andrea Gallucci, have not had an easy time doing their job.

I am very proud of the work Andrea has done this year. We have had several successful teams and individuals to keep our readers informed about during this season, and although advertising has been down and our issues have been small, we have had lots of great photos and many stories in each paper. At times, though, I think it would have been easier for her to take illegal weapons through airport security than use a camera with a flash during a basketball game.

As you read in her editorial a few weeks ago, the rules for the use of flash are spelled out on the Ohio High School Athletic Association Web site, and Andrea and our other photographers pack those rules into the camera cases and have them at all the games. Furthermore, they are experienced enough to use good judgment about when and where to take flash photos. They are professionals and they should be treated like professionals.

Now we are in tournaments and my staff and I have experienced mixed receptions, as we have been out covering games at various locations. First, let me compliment Eric Schumacher, tournament manager, and Massillon Washington High School. My husband and I recently visited the school to cover a Canton South girls district final game. As is our policy during tournament time, I called to inform the director about P-N staff members who would be at the game. No problems. Everything went smoothly from that phone conversation, to the entrance into the game and even the follow-up e-mails received from the school with box scores and an updated bracket (something I have never received from any host school before visiting Massillon Washington).

My compliments to the director and the school for a class act. They had plenty of seating and parking; they were friendly; and their announcer did an awesome job of making sure all coaches, statisticians and team members were recognized. To me, the school was a prime example of what a host school should be like in the tournament.

Now for the bad news. The next game the Lady Cats played was the regional semi-final game at Barberton High School. Once again, we contacted the school to let them know who would be there, and that we would use flash photography. When Andrea arrived at the school, however, she was told by a school official that no one would be allowed to shoot from the baseline with a flash. He said OHSAA rules are discretionary, and he chooses to not allow it. He said she could have been there to “sabotage” the other team. Do you think someone has watched those B-W 3 commercials too many times? No– we are not trying to send the game into overtime!

In all his wisdom and hospitality, he granted Andrea permission to shoot with a flash from the stands. So, you can imagine what a wonderful night it was for Andrea to have her camera and other photography equipment up in the stands trying to get good photos of the (now) 22-3 Lady Wildcats. Also, wouldn’t you love to be the fan sitting next to her while she is trying to juggle all of the equipment and get good shots of the game? Ridiculous!

This is (partially) what OHSAA says about tournament games and flash photography (you can visit their site to read more):

Photographers may position themselves along the baseline outside the lane area of the court and are permitted to use electronic attachments (flash) mounted to a camera as specified above.

These regulations apply to both regular-season and OHSAA tournament contests. They also apply to all photographers approved for credentials, including those representing the participating schools.

Another host school that needs to make some changes is Salem, where the East Canton boys have had their sectional and district games this year, since moving up to Division III. My staff and others tell me that Salem does not have enough room for fans to sit or to park. Officials at the school may not have realized what types of crowds would be attending games this year, but it seems these matters should have been addressed prior to hosting at least 12 different schools for OHSAA tournament games.

I am not sure if OHSAA representatives are able to attend games at each of its host schools, so I hope you, the fans, the coaches and the players, will let them know when you have been treated well or not so great.

Ruthless fans

Derek Anderson, who has been one of the quarterbacks for the Browns the last few years, was just released. After he was let go, he had a few words to say to Cleveland Browns Fans, and they were not warm and fuzzy.

“The fans are ruthless and don’t deserve a winner” he said and added that he would never forget the fans cheering when he was injured during a game.1c78437ff504119e097cf0717334db403549df0e_Anderson-thumb

I was not that much of a Derek Anderson fan, and I actually wanted to see Brady Quinn get more of an opportunity, but I must say– I totally agree with Derek’s remarks. He did apologize later, saying he was speaking out of frustration, but he was right. Cleveland does have a lot of ruthless fans, and I was embarrassed and disgusted when I heard them cheering because a player was injured. It’s terrible sportsmanship to cheer if an opponent gets hurt, and it is just absurd to cheer when one of your own is lying on the ground.

I hope with the new management and coaching something can be done about the quarterback controversies we Browns fans have lived with since the days of Tim Couch. It appears that Cleveland is the place players (especially QBs) come to, to be completely deflated and torn apart. It has been a QB killer! Hopefully, the coach will decide on a quarterback and stick with him, and the fans will just shut up and let the coaches do their thing. What has been going on the last few years has not worked, so why not try something new?

That is my thoughts for this month of March. With the sun making an appearance, the snow melting, March madness beginning (I love college basketball!) and the Indians winning so far in spring training (I also love baseball!)– spring is truly right around the corner. Hurrah!

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Don’t kill the messenger– or accuse her of slander!

Posted by kmundy on Feb 5, 2010 in commentary - 8 Comments »

I work at being a positive person, and I often thank God for the many blessings he has given me in my life. However, I have to report– January was an annoying month for me.

I hope you will bear with me, as I spill my heart a little about the dreary, cold and stressful month. Maybe by writing about it, I will relieve some of the anxieties. Hopefully, this blog will also explain a little about the newspaper business and clear up a few misconceptions that a few in the area seem to have.

Recently, when I attended a township board of trustees meeting, I had a man approach me at the end of the meeting and the first words that came out of his mouth were: “Are you the person who keeps slandering me in the newspaper?”

It was all downhill after that first remark, as he continued to tell me how I should call him after every meeting to give him the opportunity to respond to everything that is said  about him– well, not actually about him, but about  his business.

Actually, it did not surprise me that the conversation started out badly and degenerated. Several months ago, I had a similar conversation with someone from the same business (possibly the same person). After at least 20 minutes, I was forced to  politely say I was ending the conversation, because we were going no where fast.

Most of our readers understand very well what public political meetings are all about, but since this man does not appear to understand  our First Amendment that says we have “freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom to peaceably assemble,” I will try to explain how public meetings and the press operate.

1. Public meetings are held so everyone can speak at the meetings (that is why they have a public speaks part of the meeting).
2. We, as a newspaper attend the meetings and we report what is said and done– both by officials and by the citizens who attend the meetings.
3. If someone says something about you or your business that you feel is false, you have the opportunity in the public speaks part of the meeting to respond. Reporters will gladly put both sides of the issue in the paper, so readers can come to their own conclusions.
4. If you just cannot bear the thought of speaking up in front of a crowd of people at a meeting, another option is to write a letter to the editor to give your point of view. The letter should be signed, have an address and phone number (for verification purposes) and it must be in good taste.
5. It is absolutely impossible for a newspaper staff to call and verify everything said at a meeting. Each township, village or school board meeting is filled with numerous discussions, reports and opinions. We strive to use good judgment, but it is absurd to think any newspaper has the staff to verify everything said at a public meeting. Below are just a few items mentioned at recent political meetings, covered by Press-News staff:

  • Suspicious, mailed advertisements being sent to East Canton and Osnaburg Township residents to sell water line insurance;
  • Several unresolved zoning issues in Pike, Canton and Osnaburg townships, in which residents have failed to properly respond;
  • In a letter, Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson said he “refused to subsidize the police department in Sandy Township,” and residents at the meeting pointed out they pay taxes to the sheriff’s department for police coverage;
  • A parent who visited a school board meeting to say she was concerned with the dress and behavior of some students at school dances;
  • Mining issues in Pike Township.

Should I call every property owner that is mentioned in a zoning report? Should I call all the students at the high school and ask what they think about the dances and their classmates’ attire? Should I call all the mining companies in the area?

To the credit of the owners of mining companies working in Pike Township, several  have stepped up and visited meetings, answered questions, met with residents and even gave an interesting media presentation at one of the meetings I attended.  I admire and respect them for taking the time to not only attend the meetings, but  to also be for willing to communicate with the people who may or may not be affected by their business.

Instead of being so willing to “kill the messenger” or at least find it so easy to argue with a reporter, I wonder why this business owner does not follow the example of these mining company owners who are tough enough to answer questions and work to open lines of communications with their critics.

I have worked at the newspaper now for around 25 years. I have listened to complaints, criticisms, suggestions, praise and even indifference. I think I am reasonable when someone is willing to be reasonable, but nothing can be accomplished until people are respectful, ready to listen to others and willing to communicate and cooperate.

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Winter– a great time for family, reading and slowing down

Posted by kmundy on Jan 10, 2010 in Books - No Comments »

sawyerton springs

Snow, cold weather, ice, slush, wind–

I am not a fan of winter in Ohio!

However, the frigid winters have given certain advantages to us northerners. Do students (or teachers) in Florida get snow days when they can sleep until noon, then go out to build a snowman, come back inside, jump into their PJs again and drink hot chocolate? I don’t think so!

What about family time– what family in Hawaii gets that extra time together that we do to play board games, watch old family movies, sit around and talk when not able to get out of our driveways? I would dare to say not many.

Does anyone in Texas get the opportunity to start a fire in the fireplace and curl up in a Snuggy and read a great book? I seriously doubt it.

Reading is a warmer activity than sledding

Although the winter is not my favorite time of the year, I do love the many activities it forces us to take time to do when we are “trapped in our cabins.” Reading is one of those delightful activities that I seem to have more time for during those winter months, and this weather has definitely given me time for extra reading. I’d like to tell you about a couple books I’ve read. In addition, I would love to hear about the books you have read and loved (or maybe did not like, so I don’t have to waste my time reading them).

Before Christmas I actually read two books– “Return to Sawyertown Springs” by Andy Anderson, one of my favorite authors, and “The Purpose of Christmas” by Rick Warren, a book loaned to me by my friend, Ginny Exline. Both were good books– the type of books you can read, set aside for awhile and pick up a few days later. The reason: neither book is a novel, but each is a collection of writings or stories.

The Purpose of Christmas

Warren’s book could be read anytime– not just at Christmas, but it does have a way of getting Christians back to the basics at Christmas. Instead of thinking so much about gifts, decorating, baking, wrapping and all the other basically unimportant parts of Christmas– it leads you back to the simple, but beautiful story of the birth of Jesus. He writes about peace– the true peace in one’s heart as a Christian. He also told about his own Christmas celebrations as a child such as having a birthday party for Jesus. It is a book worth reading anytime of the year.

Return to Sawyertown Springs

I was fortunate to receive an autographed copy of the Andrews book this fall. When I received an e-mail asking if I would be interested in reading his latest book and writing a review on it, I jumped at the chance. I had already read couple of his books– “Island of Saints” and “The Traveler’s Gift.” I loved them both (especially “Island”) and I would definitely recommend both books. In fact, I own “Island of Saints” and have loaned it to several poeple. Both are serious, historical and thought-provoking novels about forgiveness, faith and hope.

Although quite different from his novels, I would also suggest you read Andrews’ latest book, “Return to Sawyertown Springs.” It is a collection of individual stories about small town life, namely his hometown. The stories, described as “mostly true,” are heartwarming, hilarious, sad, uplifting and vaguely familiar to an editor of a weekly newspaper. It seems like I have lived through a few of his stories, but I hope not in the same vain as Andrews’ Miss Edna, the 83-year old spinster who is the editor and owner of the Sawyertown Springs weekly paper, which is often the talk of the town because of its errors. (Ouch!)

One of the stories that had me wondering if Andrews had grown up in the Press-News area had to do with a coach of a team of 11-year-old boys. The coach had a speech impediment that caused him to say things like “pray” instead of play and “swide” instead of slide. I truly think I knew that coach, since I heard almost the same story many times from a friend of mine whose nephew was coached by a man who told him to “swide.” Needless to say– little boys (and sometimes their families) find these types of things quite funny.

Chapter Three of the book when Andy talks about “his father, a pastor of Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in the town,” is one of the funniest parts of the book. His dad, a loving dad and strong spiritual leader, is also described by Andy as “a nut.” He continued, “Not a professional nut, like I have become, but a nut nonetheless.”

Andy gave a list of “unbreakable rules” his dad had given him. Number 4 on the list, according to the book, was “Never play in the living room with firecrackers, water balloons, mud, skates, a yo-yo, a bullwhip or the dog. The rule actually started out as plain old ‘don’t play in the living room.’ All the other things were added one at a time.”

I loved the stories about teachers who had effected his life, husbands and wives who worked through difficult time and saw their love grow, buddies who went fishing and stayed friends through disastrous situations, business owners who arrived at a truce, and a man who found out he literally owned the whole town and how he and the town worked out this predicament. You will also have to read the book to hear about the couple, which after being stranded in Sawyertown Springs, decided to stay and make it their home; about Michael Ted Williams’ Elvis-inspired funeral; and about Billy Pat’s midnight walk carrying the American flag and wearing red satin shorts.

This coffee table book can be read in a few short sittings or you can leisurely read it a story at a time. Either way, readers will find themselves chuckling out loud at times (as I did). Furthermore, you will be reminded of how wonderfully supportive and loving people in villages and rural areas can be and you might even notice a lump in your throat or a tear on your cheek as certain stories touch your heart.

If Andy ever wanted to write another edition of his “mostly true” stories of his hometown, I think I may be able to give him a few ideas for the next book. As an editor of a weekly newspaper for 20-plus years– I have seen or reported on everything– exciting successes, heart-wrenching stories, amusing characters and inspirational people. A small town: there is no place better!

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