Monday, June 11, 2018

PD building sold, will become Police Headquarters

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The city of Cleveland intends to move its police headquarters into the building that houses and was once home to The Plain Dealer. 
Mayor Frank Jackson, in a Monday interview with, said the new location will be more cost effective than the current headquarters at the Justice Center complex downtown. It will allow improvements to technology and space to consolidate offices that now are scattered around the city. 
The project is a $59.5 million deal that includes the purchase and alteration of the building at 1801 Superior Ave. The package includes a $19.5 million purchase agreement for the site, with some negotiating still to come. 
The city has engaged GLP Superior Ltd., led by Fred Geis, to buy and renovate the property. 
The target for completing the move to the new headquarters is next spring, police Chief Calvin Williams said. 
City Council introduced legislation needed to approval the deal at its meeting Monday evening. Council approval will be needed for the deal to proceed.  
Council's Safety Committee is expected to have a hearing on the proposed deal on Wednesday. The vote by the full council could come at its meeting July 18. 
The move is part of part of a bigger plan to get the city out of the jail business and out of the Justice Center downtown. 
The building, constructed in 2000, will have to be renovated for the police department. When finished, it will provide a much more welcoming environment for visitors and a better work environment for officers, Williams said. 
Ultimately about 600 people will work in the police headquarters, Williams said. About 200 of them will be civilians. Another 100 or so will be command and administrative staff. The remainder will be police investigatory units. 
Under a deal the city struck last fall with Cuyahoga County, the county agreed to buy the current police headquarters for $9.25 million. The title of the building will be transferred on Oct. 2, 2018.   
Once the deal closes, the city will be able to stay in the Justice Center temporarily, but it will have to pay rent to the county. That rental cost put pressure on the city to settle where its new headquarters would be. 
"What we don't want to do is to pay [the money from selling the building] all back in a lease," Jackson said. 
Last June, Cleveland City Council approved a deal the Jackson administration negotiated with Cuyahoga County under which the county will take over all jail operations and the city will close its lockup at the Justice Center.  
Under the deal, the city will pay the county $99 a day per person to house its prisoners at the county jail, which also is part of the Justice Center complex. The long-discussed deal is expected to save Cleveland about $5 million a year.   
In July, the city hired Colliers International, a global real estate broker with offices in Cleveland, to help find a suitable site for the police headquarters. It helped narrow the search to three potential sites. 
The site, built in 2000, was the only one that didn't involve new construction. 
In 2014, The Plain Dealer moved part of its editorial staff into offices at Tower City Center. Copy editing and design staff joined the production staff at the newspaper's Tiedeman Road facility in Brooklyn. moved into newly renovated offices at 1801 Superior that same year. The building also provides office space to other tenants, including the YMCA of Greater Cleveland and the Center for Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland.   
The city, through a developer, will help those tenants find new quarters, Williams said. will move to new quarters downtown, a change Editor and President Chris Quinn said will benefit the company, just as the new headquarters benefits the city. The plan is for Advance Ohio's staff to move into the Western Reserve building on West 9th Street.  
"This is a good move for us and, I think, for the police," Quinn said. "The content and sales teams at Advance Ohio will move into what is becoming a vibrant corner of downtown, near the Flats East Bank. And our current building, which is beautiful but under-used, will see full occupancy, which will be healthy for the neighborhood."  
George Rodrigue, president of Plain Dealer Publishing Co, which owns the building, said: "We're glad that after a series of arms-length negotiations we've been able to reach agreement in principle on terms of the sale. The building has a proud history, and we hope it will serve the needs of the police department well."

Memorial for John Gruner

To friends, colleagues and fans of the late great John Gruner, Plain Dealer editor extraordinaire, who died May 12 after a long illness. The celebration of John 's life is set for Saturday, June 23, at noon at Messiah Lutheran Church, 21485 Lorain Rd., Fairview Park, Ohio. Bring photos to add to a memory board that will include his 1970 prom date, a glider flight over Hawaii, his renaissance gown, college football in Japan and world travel using his twin brother’s airline privileges. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Messiah, 21485 Lorain Rd., Fairview Park.   Lunch follows service. University of Michigan grads will be tolerated.

Here's the obit that was in the Plain Dealer:
John D. Gruner, 65, died May 12 at Ames Family Center, Hospice of the Western Reserve in Westlake. Gruner was best known as a world traveler, active member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Fairview Park, officer of the Cleveland chapter of Michigan State alumni, founder of the Northeast Ohio MSU Endowed Scholarship and as former assistant living editor at The Plain Dealer. With extended family in California, Wisconsin and Virginia, Gruner is survived by many friends. Born in Wisconsin, he was raised mostly in Fairview Park, Ohio and Livonia, Michigan. He was preceded in death by his father George, an auto company executive, mother Margaret (Brogan), a nurse, and twin brother Joseph, a international reservation agent for United Airlines. Proudly using airline travel benefits, he made several trips to Europe, Japan, the Mediterranean, and Australia. He attended basketball and football games throughout the U.S. with MSU. He once traveled roundtrip from California to Hawaii for dinner with a return stopover in Las Vegas. He was a graduate of the Journalism School at MSU and worked for newspapers in Detroit, Albany, and northern New Jersey before a 36-year stint at The PD. Death was from complications from cancer. Private interment will be with Joe at Sunset Memorial Park in North Olmsted. Memorial services will be announced later.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

The Monthy Lunch is back, April 27

PD Editorial Retirees & Expatriates
Casual unstructured lunch troupe
Gather for lunch on the last Fridays of January,
April, July and October
Spouses and guests always welcome

NEXT LUNCHEON: Noon, Friday, April 27, 2018
PLACE:   Kumo Japanese Seafood Restaurant,
                   1975 Snow Road, across street from Midtown Mall in Parma.
                   We are booked in the private dining room at the back of the restaurant.
Take -480 to State Road go south to Snow, turn left (east). Just past the new Parma Library, enter the parking lot south of Snow between Burger King and Park 'N' Eat. Kumo is at the south end of the lot, west of Giant Eagle.
MENU:  Japanese and Chinese buffet, from soup to ice cream.
                Prices under $10.00 plus beverage. There is a Senior price for the buffet.
RSVP: By Tuesday, April 24 to either:
Janet French (216) 221-2318 or email or
Jo Ann Pallant, (440) 734-1923 or email 

Friday, January 12, 2018

A little help needed

Janet French and Jo Ann Pallant both are recovering from injuries and are unable to get out and about to select a suitable place to meet for a luncheon on Friday, January 26
If someone is willing to make the arrangements with a restaurant for lunch on January 26, contact Bobbie Abbey at  She will send notices to the retirees.
Janet and Jo Ann have also been thinking about discontinuing the Retiree Luncheons. Fewer and fewer people attend. Don't know if you have moved on and are no longer interested or your lives are too busy. Let us know what you think about disbanding the group or, perhaps, have one luncheon a year. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Makeup man Bill Fenton

Makeup man Bill Fenton died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 in Mercy New Life Hospice from complications of diabetes.  He worked for the PD for 30 years,  first as a printer and then as a copy editor and late night makeup man.  He had boat in Vermilion named "30", the newspaper person's term for the end of the story.
Here's the death notice from The Plain Dealer. 

William Dague. Fenton,80,   of Vermilion, died Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at Mercy New Life Hospice after a brief illness. He was born June 23, 1937 in Norwalk and had been a Vermilion resident for the past 31 years moving from Avon Lake. He was a veteran of the US Air Force serving in Europe as a Copy Editor for the Stars and Stripes. William worked as the Copy Editor for The Cleveland Plain Dealer for 30 years retiring in 1995. He enjoyed boating, genealogy and traveling to different casinos. He is survived by his sons, Christopher, Timothy (Tricia), and Douglas Fenton all of Vermilion; and his granddaughter, Tabatha Ivy Fenton of Vermilion. He was preceded in death by his wife, Valerie B. Fenton; parents, Harold and Elizabeth (nee Dague) Fenton; brother, Richard Brewster Fenton; and sister, Pamela Henderson. The family will receive friends on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 from 5:00 pm until the time of a funeral service at 6:00 pm at the Riddle Funeral Home, 5345 South Street, Vermilion, Ohio. The Reverend David Zerby will officiate. The Vermilion Veterans Council will conduct Military Honors just prior to the funeral service at 6:00 pm. Private interment will take place at Maple Grove Cemetery, Vermilion. Online condolences may be made at
Published in The Plain Dealer from Jan. 2 to Jan. 5, 2018

Food Writer John Long died Dec. 9, 2017

John Long lived a life filled with adventure and the pursuit of culinary experiences, stories he would share with gusto.

Before embarking on a career as an investigative reporter, and later as a food and wine writer at The Plain Dealer, Long traveled the world, exploring Europe and Asia. He spent New Year's Eve one year at the Taj Mahal, hiked the Himalayas in Nepal and once set off on horseback to cross Afghanistan, although he didn't get far.

Long was an outdoorsman who loved the Western U.S., embarking annually on fly-fishing vacations to his family's home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and in recent years to a 10-acre ranch in Montana.

As an accomplished cook and restaurant critic, he chronicled the emergence of the food scene in Cleveland, and often threw elaborate dinner parties with his wife of 31 years, Katherine Siemon Long, a Plain Dealer editor, at their home in Lakewood, and later in Montville Township, Medina County.

Long, 68, died on Friday, Dec. 8, from complications of early onset dementia.

Long grew up in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, the son of a surgeon and brother to five sisters. He attended the University of Arizona, and started his reporting career at The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1984 for stories exploring production problems and mismanagement at the Hughes Aircraft Co. in Tucson.

Later that year, Long came to The Plain Dealer, tackling projects that included an investigation into the 1981 murder of 14-year-old Tammy Seals by Orlando Morales; abuses at facilities operated by the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities; irregularities with defense contractors; and construction difficulties at the Cleveland Metroparks' RainForest exhibit.

In 1992, Long teamed with former Plain Dealer reporter Steve Luttner on an investigation into then-Bedford Heights Mayor Jimmy Dimora's campaign finance practices, nepotism and questionable city dealings. "Jimmy was not happy," Luttner recalled.

Their work foreshadowed Dimora's downfall 20 years later when a federal court jury convicted him of racketeering and 30 other corruption-related charges, and a judge sentenced him to 28 years in prison.

In 1994, Long made a quality-of-life beat change, becoming the food and wine writer for The Plain Dealer. It was a smooth transition for the gourmet cook who had taken courses at Le Cordon Bleu in London.

Cleveland's restaurant scene was burgeoning, and the appointment of the new critic was timely.

"John had a following and a certain sophistication that, up to that point, didn't exist in Cleveland the way it does now," said renowned restaurateur Zack Bruell.

Paul Minillo, owner of Flour in Moreland Hills and the former Baricelli Inn in Little Italy, recalled taking a wine tour of France with Long, and visiting one of the best Burgundy houses in the world. Long spent most of the time interviewing the owner, who gradually became impressed by his visitor.

"For an American, you know these wines pretty well," Minillo recalled the vintner gushing.

Retired Plain Dealer food editor Joe Crea said he learned much from Long.

"John had a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the world of wine and food, and could weave fascinating stories with the best of them," Crea said. "The Cleveland food scene lost so much with his passing."
In an online tribute site, former Plain Dealer deputy editorial page editor Kevin O'Brien recalled how he had worked with Long in Tucson and moved to Cleveland shortly after Long had arrived here. He said Long was universally well-liked.
"Of all of the reporters I have ever known," O'Brien wrote, "not a single one was more adept at getting an interviewee to open up, often contrary to the interviewee's best interest. Simply put, John could very professionally charm the scales off a snake. He was, in the very best sense of the word, a character."
Long is survived by his wife, two daughters, Elizabeth and Suzanne, a son, John III, and his sisters. A remembrance service will be held at an area restaurant next month.

"Suzy said he wouldn't have wanted a funeral," his wife said. "He'd want a 'fun'eral."

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Freddie Bellamy dies

Freddy Bellamy, a kind and gentle soul who was a copy aide it seemed forever, died recently. Here's the link to his obituary.  Doesn't seem possible he was 70.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tribute to Russ Schneider

Former Plain Dealer sports writer Russ Schneider of Seven Hills died Tuesday, Oct  at the age of 89 and sports columnist Bill Livingston wrote this tribute. Photo by Linda Kinsey of

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A diamond is forever? So was a baseball diamond to Russell Schneider.
In all likelihood, all the old baseball men are getting an earful in their sky boxes from Russ today. The long-time Plain Dealer reporter died this morning at 89 after years of declining health.
He probably is looking up Frank "Trader" Lane so he can ask him what in the world was he thinking when he traded Rocky Colavito?
He'll look up George Steinbrenner, too and they can debate what it would have been like had the Boss purchased the Indians, as he had wanted to do, and not the New York Yankees.
This newspaper's Cleveland Indians beat reporter from 1964-78, Schneider was tough, dogged, competitive to the point of combativeness, and my friend.
The friend part took a while. Schneider wanted the columnist job I got in 1984. Eventually, however, we became not only friends, but confidants. Knowing him was certainly one of my great privileges.
Baseball lifer
Schneider also covered the Cleveland Browns for a time in the 1980s and became great friends with former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano.
After Schneider assumed the beat, Browns owner Art Modell said effusively, "Welcome to the family."
"I'm here to cover the team," Russ said gruffly. "Not to be part of your family."
Before that, he realized his life-long dream of covering the Indians because he simply would not give it up. Russ wore down former Plain Dealer sports editor Gordon Cobbledick, beating a path to his door every day from the spring of 1963 until he got the Indians beat in December.
On the beat, he was so competitive he would not talk to rival reporters, zealously guarded his sources, and once almost brawled with former Indians president Peter Bavasi when Bavasi tried to confiscate Schneider's tape recorder during a heated interview at the old stadium.
You won't see those "Front Page" types in the business anymore.
After retirement, he had a second home at the Indians' old Winter Haven spring training headquarters so he could check the prospects out in person.
Tough and passionate
Schneider was a former Marine. And it would take much more than a cold day in May for him to back down from a challenge, any challenge -- and May was often far from a nice day here with ice mantling the Lake Erie shoreline long past Opening Day.
A former catcher, Schneider coached amateur baseball in the area. He approached every game as if it were the seventh game of the World Series. The joke was that umpires around town asked for hazardous duty pay when they had his games.
Last visit
The last time I saw Russ was Oct. 16, a few days after the Indians' lost the divisional series to the New York Yankees.
Schneider's final days were spent in an assisted living facility in Broadview Heights. It was near the Cavaliers' practice building, so I swung by there after their practice session ended.
I had brought a small notebook, hoping to ask Russ about his favorite players and the highlights of his long career. But by then there would be no more interviews in this life for Russ.
He was asleep when I entered his room. I'm not sure whether he knew me or not after I gently roused him. I think there was a gleam of recognition in his eyes and the faintest nod, but I'm not sure. I left a note for him with the nurses.
Before I left, I leaned over and lightly kissed the tough old Marine on the top of his head. It might be best that he never knew about that.
There are worse things to lose than a baseball game.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Bill Wynne's Smoky gets another accolade

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Smoky the war dog was four pounds of talent, determination, courage and love.
The Yorkshire terrier whose exploits during World War II won her international acclaim, and is buried at a memorial in Rocky River, just added another medal to those accolades.
The U.S. War Dogs Association recently presented Smoky with a service award given to military canines who have served in America's armed forces.
The medal, inscribed "faithfully we lead the way," came as a surprise to William Wynne, a native Clevelander who owned and trained the dog that was found in a jungle foxhole in New Guinea during World War II.
Wynne, 95, of Mansfield, said, "I'm very happy because Smoky was always on the outside, looking in, as an unofficial war dog of World War II.
"Now, this (medal) puts her on the same scale as the (military) dogs that are over in Afghanistan, and all dogs going back to the Vietnam war," added the former Plain Dealer photographer. "I feel really good about it."
Wynne was serving with an Army photo reconnaissance squadron during World War II when he bought the little terrier that another GI had found, and forged a special relationship of training and trust.
He named her for her blue-gray color, and began teaching Smoky a variety of stunts including walking a tightrope while blindfolded, balancing on rolling barrels, spelling her name and even parachuting.
In a book he later wrote about his exploits with Smoky, "Yorkie Doodle Dandy," Wynne wrote, "Smoky became a tremendous morale booster. I had much to do in the military but she gave me an escape from the loneliness of the New Guinea jungle."
She was also a life-saver. When communications lines had to be strung across an airfield runway in the Philippines -- a task that would have exposed GIs to enemy fire -- Smoky was drafted to pull a string connected to the wires through an eight-inch-wide, 70-foot-long drainage culvert under the runway.
The dog also accompanied Wynne on 12 aerial combat missions, was awarded eight battle stars, and survived a kamikaze attack and a typhoon.
When Wynne was hospitalized with dengue fever, Smoky charmed the patients in other wards, and later repeated that role in performances at hospitals in Australia, becoming the first therapy dog of record.
In his book, Wynne said Smoky, "the little tyke who shared so much with me, who, unquestioning and courageously, responded to my every command, had become my truest friend. She was a diversion from the demoralizing reality of war. She made us laugh and forget."
After the war, when Wynne returned to Cleveland, they appeared together in a variety of television and theatrical performances until Smoky's death in 1957.
Smoky is buried in the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, in a .30-caliber ammunition box (appropriately enough) in the base of a marble pedestal topped with a life-sized bronze sculpture of the little war dog sitting in a GI helmet. An inscription reads: "Smoky Yorkie Doodle Dandy and Dogs of All Wars."
Wynne said there are 11 monuments to Smoky in the U.S., three in Australia and one in France.
The most recent medal is one of three she has received, including the prestigious Purple Cross Award of the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Wynne isn't surprised by Smoky's enduring appeal as the subject of many books, articles and a possible movie.
Part of that appeal was her diminutive size, spirit and ability to surviving some of the worst that war could offer, including military rations.
Wynne recalled, "The food we got was so bad, it was so heavily salted because we were in the tropics, the guys were getting diarrhea every couple days. I didn't have any dog food, so she had to eat our food."
Wynne has owned other Yorkshire terriers since Smoky, but it hasn't been the same.
"Smoky, in anybody else's hands, probably would've been just another dog," he said. "But because of my desire to train her, she became something special."
Special in other ways, too, as Wynne looks back on those days during the war.
"At first, emotionally, I was trying to not get too close to her. I'd lost a couple of buddies and I didn't want to get too close, because the hazards were so great and I'd just get upset all over again," he recalled.
"But as time passed, we formed a special bond, and everything became concentrating on the dog. She came first, and I was doing things for her," he added. "The dog became more of an obsession, to bring her through this, and myself, too. It worked out."
In a sense that bond continues, as Smoky's recognition and honors continue, along with Wynne's involvement with the past.
"She's still very much remembered," Wynne said. "All of these things make up the incredible story of this tiny little dog that just did it day to day, and didn't think about it.
"She just did it."

Time for another lunch

PD Editorial Retirees & Expatriates
Casual unstructured lunch troupe
Gather for lunch on the last Fridays of January,
April, July and October
Spouses and guests always welcome

NEXT LUNCHEON: Noon, Friday, October 27, 2017

PLACE: LiWah, Asia Plaza, 2999 Payne Ave., Cleveland
                         Additional parking off short street along west side of plaza.

MENU:  Order from the menu.

RSVP: Janet French (216) 221-2318 or email by Tuesday, October 24
(JoAnn is recovering from surgery)