Come Monday, three faces we have seen the last 34 to 42 years will be missing from the newsroom.
City Editor Harold Brown, with 42 years on the job, Sports Editor Jack Carle, with 36 years, and
Lifestyles Editor Karen Cota, with 34 years, all have accepted an early retirement buyout from the
While I know all three will be missed on their regular beats in the community and at athletic
competitions, their absence will hit the hardest in the newsroom. They have been the backbone of our
newspaper, offering a perspective gained through decades of telling the stories of our county’s leaders,
followers, and many in between.
Knowing that no reporters could tell their stories better than themselves, each have written some
recollections from their decades at Sentinel-Tribune.
The public is invited to a farewell open house for Brown, Carle, Cota, along with advertising specialist
Lyn Cheatwood on Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the back room of SamB’s, 163 S. Main St., Bowling Green.
We invite anyone who has worked with or enjoyed reading the stories of the long-time employees to
— Sentinel-Tribune Editor
Jan Larson McLaughlin
That I survived my first month on the news staff of the Sentinel-Tribune in the fall of 1972 was probably
Starting the day after Labor Day I spent two days with Society Editor Minnebelle Conley, trying to learn
as much as I could about her job. Then she was off for a month-long trip to Greece.
Writing up weddings, engagements and anniversaries was not a problem. Dummying the pages for the
composing room wasn’t a problem.
Minniebelle had a loyal group of correspondents around Wood County who knew how their “items” were to
handled. By the time Minniebelle returned most were unhappy because I did a “little” more editing than
she did. The correspondents got paid by the inch and I was cutting into their income. I heard about it,
Editor Paul Jones heard about it and Minniebelle heard about it. She took it in stride, smiled and we
worked together nearly eight years before she retired at age 80. She joined the staff in 1927.
Jones and Minniebelle retired when the paper installed its first computer system in 1980. Computers were
among the things Minniebelle referred to as a “modern unimprovement.”
Decades-old printing equipment was retired in June 1973 when the paper moved from downtown to East Poe
Road. Photo typesetting equipment started the march to full computerization and today’s challenges are
to make a newspaper profitable in the age of the Internet.
Several years as sports editor kept me busy writing and traveling. The hours were long but the travel
helped compensate. My favorite destination was Philadelphia because of its historical sites and covering
games in the now nearly 90-year-old Palestra. BGSU used to play a home-and-home series with St. Joseph’s
in the building. The series ought to renewed.
The fall of 1973 was special when the BGHS Bobcat football team went 10-0 and earned the school’s first
berth in the state playoffs.
I am proud to say the Sentinel-Tribune was a leader during the mid and late 1970s in covering in girl’s
high-school athletics. More than a few of the boys coaches and some of the fans didn’t agree. It was the
right thing to do.
Big events like presidential visits, the Blizzard of 1978, a deadly 1982 plane crash into apartments on
Frazee Avenue and the Poe Ditch Music Festival meant everyone on the staff got involved.
Only seven employees (out of about 50) showed up at the office the morning the blizzard hit. I was here
to greet them because after coming back from covering a men’s basketball game at Kent, I elected not to
drive home after writing my story and waiting for photographer Eu Kwan Lee to finish his job. The paper
missed three days of publication and it was five days before I got home. Several staff members managed
to get into the office by Sunday afternoon and enough production people showed up Monday morning to
print a paper. The issue was a “keeper.”
Covering BG city government since 1980 has meant spending countless hours in the City Building and
working with hundreds of people. For my money, the city has been blessed with honest and mostly
hardworking elected officials and employees. However, my future visits there will be rare.
Growing up in the space age meant John Glenn was one of my heroes. I recall one day in the 1980s when
Glenn was on a campaign visit to BG. Several of the media, including myself, walked with Glenn through a
large diameter sewer pipe that was going to be used to fill in a section of Poe Ditch. Later Editor Dave
Miller and I got to sit down with Glenn for about an hour at the office.
Friday will mark the end of three generations of a Brown or a Baird being involved with the
Sentinel-Tribune. My great uncle Clarence Baird was a linotype operator from 1920 until about 1955. My
father, Paul Brown, started as a linotype operator in 1951 and retired from the composing room in 1986.
Dad chose his field because his uncle Clarence always had a job during the Great Depression.
Sentinel-Tribune employees were sometimes paid by script during the depression, which advertisers used
as a way to pay their bills. Dad’s father was a carpenter who had little work.
The din of the linotypes (which cast lines of type in lead) fascinated me from a young age, but I liked
to write and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from BGSU. My first job was at Bucyrus.
For more than 100 years the Haswell family has owned the Sentinel-Tribune.
The paper pays attention to what happens here. It has received and needs your support to continue to tell
the story of the people of Wood County.
Three people took a chance on an out-of-work bartender in 1978.
Harold Brown, who I had worked with at the BG News; Paul Jones, the Sentinel-Tribune editor at the time;
and Bob Reider, the general manager of the paper, decided that I could fill the spot as the assistant
When Jones retired in 1980, Dave Miller took over as editor; Harold became the city editor, and it was
decided that the guy with only 15 months of experience at the paper should be the sports editor.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Now after almost a 36-year roller coaster ride at the Sentinel, Friday is my last day as a full-time
It’s been a good ride.
First, and foremost, I met my wife Julie when we were both working at the Sentinel. Now we’re fast
approaching 32 years of marriage, and I could not have asked for a better partner to be with while
working and raising three children.
It wasn’t easy balancing family and work, but Julie was there when I had to work those late nights and
early mornings. She was supportive when there was an overnight or even longer road trip. She was
understanding that sometimes, I just needed to get away from it all, going on a guys-only trip. And
Julie was encouraging when we talked about work. She still proof reads my stories and makes suggestions.
I’ve also worked with a lot of talented people, both full-time and part-time. Some have stayed in the
newspaper business and have been highly successful, and others have found success in other areas.
Most recently, Kevin Gordon has been more than an assistant sports editor. He’s been a major part of what
we do here since 1987, with his writing as well as his work behind the scenes in helping get a paper out
six days a week.
It’s been Kevin and all the others who have worked in sports that have helped make the Sentinel sports
section what it is today.
As with many things, our editorial decisions have not made everyone happy, but I would match our high
school coverage against any other newspaper our size. We have won statewide awards some years, while
other years we submitted great stories and came up short.
The awards are nice, but the real reward has been watching the young people play high school sports and
for us being able to provide something to put in their scrapbooks.
I was also proud to be part of the Sentinel’s effort to extensively cover girls prep sports, which
continues to this day.
Over the years, one of the best feelings was being able to cover a team which made a long run on the
tournament trail. I enjoyed watching the athletes mature and the coaching staff earn their due rewards
for their hard work.
And for me, having the privilege to cover the Bowling Green State University Falcons has been the icing
on the cake.
There have been bowl games, NCAA tournament games in numerous sports, and other tournaments and games at
locations I might not otherwise ever visit. I have watched, interviewed and interacted with some of the
best athletes and coaches in BGSU’s history.
The highlight of the Falcons’ coverage was the 1984 NCAA hockey championship in Lake Placid, N.Y.
When I got to the arena, I found out my seat was about the next-to-last one, almost to the end of the ice
surface. The Sentinel had been covering the Falcons all season, but it was the reporter from the Toledo
Blade who was at center ice.
The Sentinel had the last laugh as Gino Cavallini scored the game-winning goal on a pass from Danny Kane,
in the fourth overtime, right on my sight line from the press box.
The other writers were all coming down to ask me what happened. Man, was that a good feeling — a victory
for the Falcons and a victory for the little guys.
Now the newspaper business is being challenged by social media and dozens of other news and sports
The Sentinel is a small business in a small town, guided with care and commitment by the Haswell family.
Despite the many challenges, the paper continues to maintain its strong community tradition of covering
the events, debates and yes, the sports, that people care about.
I would like to reiterate Harold’s request to the community to support the Sentinel. The paper needs your
help to continue to be a viable product and resource for everyone in Wood County, not only in the sports
coverage, but for all the news.
As for me, I have some travel plans in the near future, but I want to continue to watch high school games
and follow the Falcons.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even write again.
And in the meantime, thanks to all who have supported me, debated with me and provided great sporting
opportunities over the past 36 years.
Gloria Steinem in 2012 and Ronald Reagan in 1984.
TV’s Ozzie-and-Harriet heartthrob Ricky Nelson, political wives Rosalynn Carter and the unfortunate
Broadway composer Marvin Hamlisch and mellow crooners The Letter-men on a late-career tour.
I covered them all.
The single most charismatic “name” I ever interviewed? It was Fred Rogers, believe it or not. Mister
Rogers charmed BG’s “neighborhood” in 1987, when the children’s television luminary accepted an honorary
degree at BGSU commencement and got the entire stadium to sing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the
Despite the adrenalin rush from assignments like these, telling the feature stories of Wood County’s own
citizens for 34 years has been a gold-plated privilege even more exciting than rubbing shoulders with
the rich and famous.
A few that stand out:
• A series of stories about BG’s oldest-ever resident Russ Coffey, who once escorted presidential
candidate John F. Kennedy behind the scenes when he campaigned here in 1960. I wrote the first when
Coffey turned 100 and the last when he died at 109, in 2007, one of the final three surviving U.S.
veterans of World War I.
• Frivolous fun like the duct-tape diva (Carolyn Miller) who made her own prom dress and her partner’s
Zorro-style garb out of nothing but duct tape.
• Babies and more babies, starting with a long string of New Year’s babies from Wood County Hospital —
some in a hurry to arrive and others pokey as all get out.
There were the three McKenzie sisters from Weston who each gave birth to boy-girl twins; and even two
sets of quadruplets over the years.
• Adoption sagas. My favorite was the Carpenters’ 1986 private adoption of twin baby girls from Korea.
Writing the wedding story for one of those twins 21?2 decades later felt like watching one’s own child
leave the nest.
• Children born with giant challenges, and I wonder how they fared — like Hoytville’s Ben Cortez, an
extreme preemie hospitalized for months with lung issues.
• Romances, wartime and otherwise. There was the Gulf War soldier and the BG preschool teacher who sent a
letter addressed to “Any Marine” and ended up finding true love.
And the woman who is my personal hero, Crystal Soltis from Rossford, a spina bifida survivor with a
history of 35 surgeries, who voluntarily gave up a leg through amputation to gain a better quality of
life before marrying fellow BGSU grad Ben Hammond.
• Causes that mean a lot to me personally, including suicide prevention told through the tragic 2000
story of Eastwood grad Rachel Lewis; and the county’s Cocoon Shelter where victims of stalking and
domestic violence escape only with the generous and timely aid of others.
For my first five years here I did time in the “hard news” trenches — council meetings, school boards,
At one time or another I edited or wrote for almost every beat in the newspaper except sports, including
doing the religion, real estate, seniors, and entertainment pages.
But my heart found a home when I was named Lifestyles editor.
It’s a not-uncommon reaction to that job. In 87 years the Sentinel has only had three Lifestyles editors
and I’m the last of those lucky three. (Admittedly, Minniebelle Conley was called Society editor, but it
was the same gig).
My biggest personal claim to fame?
The time I rescued Dear Abby from printing a letter that was actually a scam — a near-exact copy of a
Simpsons animated television episode involving Homer’s poorly thought out gift of a bowling ball as a
birthday present for his wife Marge.
Anyone living in the same household as my husband Dan knows all Simpsons episodes by heart. So I called
the national syndicate and warned them the letter was a fake, and they sent out a last-minute
replacement, saving newspapers coast to coast from deep shame and embarrassment.
Each year since 1984 I’ve edited the annual Bridal magazine, knowledge I finally put to practical use
when our own daughter, Caroline, was married in 2012.
And, of course, there’s the Cook’s Corner.
It resulted from a vague request at a readers’ call-in night in 2005 which was dropped into my lap and
which I have turned into a nine-year love-hate relationship. (Love the people I interview, love the
food, hate the stress of pulling a new one together every seven days — 416 at final count).
Now I’m departing the Sentinel.
I’m not done with the working world, and I’m probably not done with writing. We’ll have to see what
Real journalists, they say, consider their jobs a “calling.” I hope I’ve always been a real journalist
even as the environment for community newspapers has chilled. It’s certainly been more than a job to me.