Sunday, July 26, 2009

Plain Dealer columnist Michael Heaton remembers everyone's buddy Bill Kennedy

Plain Dealer columnist Michael Heaton shares his thoughts on the passing of Bill Kennedy in a story in the paper's Friday edition.

Bill Kennedy shared his own thoughts about his final vacation with his wife Megan to the a North Carolina beach in April. The text is below a small gallery of photos from their trip.

The insidious cancer that I have been fighting for the past four years has finally gotten the upper hand. I feel like I am watching a LeBron James jump shot tracking to the hoop and everyone knows where it's headed, and the announcer yelling, "Nothing but net, cancer by two -- game over!"

Have I given up? Hell no. Have I accepted my fate? Absolutely.

I had a colleague ask if I ever wanted to go to Paris, London, Utica, N.Y., or some other exotic locale before I died, and I mentioned to my good friend that if I didn't want to go 20 years ago, why on earth would I waste my time when I have so little of it left?

My wife, Meg, and I decided the perfect vacation for us (and yes, I say "us" because she was truly my angel on earth for these last few weeks) would be a week on a desolate beach, 100 feet from the Atlantic Ocean with our golden retriever, Jazzy, in tow. That would be perfect.

North Topsail Island, N.C. was our perfect exotic locale. Off-season in April on a beach that looks like it would hold thousands, only a mere smattering of beach-goers could be found, with football fields or more between each blanket.

And these were the weekends, the busy times. During the week, we often had to use binoculars to see if we were sharing our sand with anyone. No one could blame the weather. It was sunny and warm with light winds the entire time, and for early season, a true blessing.

But mostly, it was quiet, our time to spend together without our grown children. A vacation that truly gave us time to say our goodbyes. After all, that’s why we were going, wasn’t it? Neither of us had to say it. Sure, there were tears. They were expected and deep-felt and necessary. But then there were smiles, the touches, the walks picking shells. And while we have many shells from other beachfronts, these will have much more significance because they will always have a date attached.

Even Jazzy made contributions, a piece of well-rounded asphalt that came from deep beneath the Atlantic about 40 miles out, we were told by a perennial vacationer. A piece of nylon rope, probably from a shrimp boat, also found its was into the Tupperware bucket. No way I would convince her it wasn’t a rock. Into the bucket it went.

It was a week made up of a million moments. Nothing we haven’t said or done for each other before, but this time the teenlike “I love you” written in the sand just took on a bigger meaning, as did the ensuing hug. All the seemingly stupid gestures we did so many times before all of a sudden came so much more important.

Sure, we found some fine and fun eateries, and the food was always extra good, even better because I happen to being sharing it with the woman I have loved for the past 17 years.

After years of treatment for sarcoma at the Cleveland Clinic and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Bill Kennedy, a photo editor with The Plain Dealer, enjoyed a special trip with his wife, Megan, in April. It would be the couple's final vacation.

Contributions can be made in honor of Bill Kennedy to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Sarcom Medical Oncology, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210. Online:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kennedy memorial service Saturday in Medina

A memorial service for Bill Kennedy will be at noon on Saturday at Waite and Son Funeral Home, 765 N. Court St. in Medina.

Contributions can be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Sarcoma Medical Oncology, P.O Box 4486, Houston, TX.

A full obituary is now online at with a gallery of Kennedy's work and a link to his music.

Bill Kennedy loses his battle with cancer

I have the unpleasant task of sharing the news of the passing of Bill Kennedy who died early Monday after a long battle with cancer.

Bill was a man of many talents and I would do him an injustice to refer to him as Plain Dealer photographer Bill Kennedy, for he was far more than that. First and foremost a man devoted to his family who now celebrate his life and mourn their loss.

He was an artist with a camera, or musical instrument and used his his tools to make this world a much better place in his all too short time here. He always downplayed his talent and heaped praise on his fellow musicians and colleagues at the paper. It was just his way.

Over the years he shared his musical talents at ONPA conventions as part of our house band "The Pixels". He never made any bones about it, he was at the convention for music, not photography.

Your day got a little brighter if you ran into Bill on assignment. He could make the hours waiting for a courtroom verdict pass very quickly. If you happened upon him on his home turf in Medina he took you under his wing and shared his knowledge of whatever was going on. Everyone in town knew Bill so it was like being with the mayor.

His friends have known for several months what the outcome of Bill's fight was to be. I didn't make it any easier when your heard the news though. In conversations with Bill he always referred to me as buddy. He had a lot of buddies, and that is why so many people from his immediate family to all who knew him mourn his passing today.

We will share information on services here just as soon as it becomes available.

Monday, July 20, 2009

ONPA May clip contest results

The monthly clip contest results for May are in and posted on the ONPA Website.

Bill Lackey of the Springfield News-Sun was to top point producer for the month picking up 140 points for his four wins followed by Fred Squillante's 100 points for three wins.

Official point standings will be updated when clip contest chairman Neal Lauron returns from vacation. Unofficially the top five in points are Marshall Gorby - 388, Tom Dodge - 288, Eric Albrecht - 286, Bill Lackey and Fred Squillante with 258.

The winners gallery will be posted as soon as all the images are received.

NPPA May clip contest resutls

The Springfield News-Sun continues to represent Ohio well in the NPPA Region 4 Monthly Clip Contest. Bill Lackey had two first place wins in May, Marshall Gorby had two second place wins and Barbara Perenic placed second in sports for the month.

The three along with Tracy Boulian of The Plain Dealer are the only Ohio photographers in the Top 10 in the point standings.

Spot News
1st - Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun, "Car Rescue”
2nd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, "Cry for help”
3rd - Nathaniel Morgan, The Midland Daily News, "The Fire at Joseph's Run”

General News
1st - Ryan Garza, The Flint Journal, “Love beats odds”
2nd - Matt Detrich, The Indianapolis Star, “Foreclosure Frustration”
3rd - Ryan Garza, The Flint Journal, “Another loss”

Feature/Single Picture
1st - Ryan Garza, The Flint Journal, “Waiting”
2nd - Ryan Garza, The Flint Journal, “Getting ready”
3rd - Kelly Mackey, The State Journal, “Homless Heros”

Feature/Multiple Picture
1st - John Tully,Midland Daily News, “Out of War”
2nd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, “Clown Funeral”
3rd - Aaron Borton, “XStream Cleanup”

1st - Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun, “Diving Catch”
2nd - Barbara Perenic, Springfield News-Sun, “The Eye Has It”
3rd - Nathaniel Morgan, The Midland Daily News, “Track”

1st - John Tully, Midland Daily News - 270
2nd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun - 252
3rd - Ryan Garza, The Flint Journal - 242
4th - Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun - 200
5th - Matt Detrich, The Indianapolis Star - 172
- Sarah Wright, Chillicothe Gazette - 172
7th - Barbara Perenic, Springfield News-Sun - 162
8th - Tracy Boulian, The Plain Dealer - 150
9th - Darren Breen, The Muskegon Chronicle - 142
10th - Kelly Mackey, The State Journal - 92
Cory Morse, The Muskegon Chronicle

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Youngstown television operators file Chapter 11 bankruptcy

New Vision Television operators of Youngstown television stations WKBN/WYFX/WYTV have filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A story by Andrea Wood of the Youngstown Business Journal reports that employees of the affected stations learned of the news from a competitor seeking comment before management had even told them of bankruptcy.

The economy had already taken its toll in this market with consolidation of new gathering operations at these stations in late 2007.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Michael King reviews Eddie Adams Story

Former ONPA member Michael P. King received a screening copy of An Unlikely Weapon: The Eddie Adams Story and gives it 4 1/2 stars.

His full review is available online.

King's only negative on the documentary is its limited release with no dates in his hometown Green Bay market. We are in the same boat in Ohio with no dates as of now. We will need to keep our eyes open for a DVD release.