September 17, 2014

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Does TV host have ‘creds’ for sainthood? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Hyle   
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:03 PM

I haven’t kept up on sainthood news from the Catholic Church, so I was surprised when I saw a headline on the front page of

The Criterion, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which read: Archbishop Sheen’s sainthood cause suspended indefinitely.

First, off, I never knew there was a sainthood cause for Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who has been dead for the past 35 years. I remember Sheen’s TV program from my childhood. Life is Worth Living.

If Sheen had not chosen a priestly life, he surely could have been an actor on the stage, performing Shakespeare. The first word I thought of when I saw a portrait of Sheen accompanying the article was the word flamboyant.

He always wore his pink hat, which signified he was a bishop, on TV and flowing robes that would twirl around him as he marched around the TV studio and moved to the chalkboard (alas, no Power Point slides for him) writing words on the board with a flourish and the unforgettable sound of chalk hitting slate.

It’s safe to say there will never be another Bishop Sheen in the U.S. First off, no one would get a network gig like Sheen had.
Millions listened to his radio shows, read his books, and watched him on TV. He didn’t invent this stuff, but there would be no Rev. Billy Graham had there not been a Bishop Sheen.

Before I read the article from the Catholic News Service, I wondered if some doubt had occurred concerning a supposed miracle attributed to Sheen. Miracles are what makes saints.

Being a good guy gets you to heaven, but you have to perform a miracle to be a saint.

And I’m not talking about when my father once told my mother, “It’ll be a miracle if Bob ever amounts to anything.” I’m talking about water-to-wine stuff.

It seems like a difficult task to prove a miracle took place. In Sheen’s case, his actions were seen as bringing a stillborn child to life, some 61 minutes after the birth.

Despite the belief the child would have severe physical or developmental problems, the boy grew and lived a normal life.

A team of medical experts convened by the Vatican reported there was no natural explanation for the boy’s survival. In the eyes of the church, that’s a miracle.

So what’s the hang-up on Sheen’s sainthood?

The Archdiocese of Peoria, Illinois, where Sheen was born, has been the champion of the sainthood cause, but decided to step away from the process apparently because the Archdiocese of New York has reneged on its original agreement to exhume

Sheen’s body from its burial place in New York City, perform tests on the remains, remove any historical artifacts inside the coffin, and send the body and artifacts back to Peoria.

Is that asking for too much?

The article reported that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the man who said no to Peoria, may take up the cause for Sheen’s sainthood.

We’ll see where this ends, but I might not be around by the time it’s all settled.

(Note to my children: Keep an eye on this story when you are my age, just for old time’s sake.)

Bob Hyle covers sports and writes a weekly column for The Harrison Press. He lives in Bright.

Digital wallet looks like game changer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jack Dominic   
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:02 PM

Last week’s much awaited and ballyhooed Apple event announced the upcoming release of a couple must-have gizmos from the folks in Cupertino: the iPhone 6 series and the Apple Watch.

Amidst all the buzz, it was easy to miss another part of the announcement, which has the potential to be much more revolutionary than any new hardware tweak.  The company announced Apple Pay, a service that has the potential to change the way we pay for things.

Using phones to purchase goods and services has been prevalent in some European countries for years, but slow to take off in the USA.

Apple Pay could render the use of physical credit and debit cards as obsolete as pay phones. With the recent incidents of hacking of credit card information at Home Depot, this new payment method, with its promise of better security, may be coming at a perfect time.

Not only is the Apple Pay technology simple to use, the company is working with some heavy hitters in the financial industry. VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are partnering with Apple as are several major banks like Bank of America, CapitalOne, Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo.

The new iPhone 6 and other new Apple products will use NFC (Near Field Communication) technology that Apple had ignored up until now. NFC allows you to pay your bill by waving your phone when checking out at a participating retailer.  The payment is made, as is a record of what you bought and when you bought it. Although your credit or debit card account is still used, the actual account information is never actually transmitted or retained by the retailer. Would-be digital miscreants would have nothing to hack or steal.

It is reported that Apple Pay will work when released in October at some 200,000 stores in the US. Among those listed are Macy’s, Subway, Walgreens, and Whole Foods. The wholesale adoption of any major new technology requires the alignment of several factors. In this case, we have an iconic brand, major banks signing on, and an increased desire, from both consumers and retailers, to improve the security of credit/debit card transactions.

Jack Dominic, a Harrison Twp. resident is Executive Director of the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting and an adjunct professor at UC.  You can read previously published articles at

Wave the flag, toss the pigskin, eat an apple PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jim Robertson   
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:01 PM

A few things here and there. Local football fans are getting excited. The high school is off to a good start, UC opened impressively and the Bengals are 2-0 for the first time in eight years.  Salute.

A little unfinished business about the hoopla over the weekend saluting the 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Never heard anyone mention that the flag of the United States, which was the official one during the War of 1812, is the only US flag to have 15 stripes.

It was adopted in 1795 when the number of states had reached 15.  Two additional stars and stripes were added as the US grew by the addition of Vermont in 1791 and Kentucky in 1792.

The next time the flag would be altered would not come until 1818 when belatedly stars were added for Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1803), Louisiana (1812), Indiana (1816) and Mississippi (1817).

At that time the number of stripes was reduced to 13 in honor of the original 13 states.

Eventually, the protocols were reached that a new flag would be adopted and flown for the first time on the Fourth of July following the admission of a new state.

It would have been very unwieldy these days to have 50 stripes on the flag.

Which brings us to Mr. Francis Scott Key.

He may have trumpeted about the land of the free, but he certainly wasn’t referring to the slaves that he owned.

He seemed conflicted about the institution of slavery, referring to it as a “bed of torture” but after he was appointed district attorney in Washington DC, he prosecuted abolitionists and upheld the institution.

He also belonged to a society that advocated freeing the slaves and relocating them to Africa.

Can’t wait for the Apple watch?  Milton Caniff was a little ahead of his time in the 50s when he proposed the two-way wrist radio used by Dick Tracy.

I have enough problems trying to read the screen on my phone.  I’m sure that Jack Dominick will be able to tell me why I won’t be able to live without an iPhone 6 or a supercomputer masquerading as jewelry.

I have always been reticent about plunging feet first into technology.

I like the bugs to be worked out before investing.

When I was going to computer school back in the mid-80s we referred to the”bleeding edge of technology.”

Sometimes, it is not so great being at the forefront. Reminds me of the old joke about a nuclear hand grenade.  Scientists who invented it were pleased that it would destroy everything within 100 yards.

The rub came when a reporter asked how far a soldier could throw it and the scientist answered about 30 feet.

Two more weekends of baseball to suffer through and fall will be here next week.

Stock up on cider and get that leaf rake ready.  Did see Christmas stuff at the dollar store over the weekend.  Only 98 more days till Christmas.  Ho Ho Ho.

Jim Robertson is a longtime Harrison resident, a member of Harrison City Council, and a weekly columnist for The Harrison Press.


Last Updated on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:03 PM
Great Marvello was on fire back in his glory days PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Viel   
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:00 PM

Just up Route 52, in Indiana, lies the quiet little burg of New Trenton. This serene town somehow has produced two separate celebrities, who were legends in the magical entertainment world, Lester Lake and John Calvert.

What was in the water in New Trenton, I am not sure but it worked.

In this column, I will tell you about the lesser-known of the pair, Lester Lake. Lester was known professionally as The Great Marvello.

Lester, born in 1904, began his professional career as an entertainer and magician in 1927, working the riverboats traveling the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

Having only completed the eighth grade in a one-room New Trenton schoolhouse, Lester was a self-taught magician and entertainer. He read, he read, and he read.

Lester, The Great Marvello, was widely known for his performances that he designed and originated, Buried Alive, a.k.a. Burned Alive, in which he was burned alive in a coffin that had been filled with 5 gallons of gasoline and set on fire.

This was his most famous illusion, Lester returning miraculously from the fiery grave, smiling and drawing applause from the audiences wherever he performed.

Lester was an impressive man of multiple talents. He was a magician, master of ceremonies, musical composer, photographer and inventor.

Lester worked closely with the Abbott Magic Company of Colon, Mich., to which he supplied his inventions, the most famous being the Magician’s Guillotine, and the Chinese Chopper. These devices still are used by magicians throughout the world.

During World War II, Lester served his country by working for the USO, traveling throughout Europe, North Africa, and the South Pacific, entertaining our troops, like the famous Bob Hope USO shows we used to watch on Channel 19.

Additionally, when Lester became a well-known entertainer, he  became a permanent guest on the network TV show You Asked For It, sponsored by Skippy Peanut Butter, in the 1950s.

The show’s host, Art Baker, would introduce, The Great Marvello, and Lester would wow the live audience as well the national TV watchers. Lester’s act was so good the viewing public asked for his return many times. It’s a long way from New Trenton to NYC - well done Lester.

After Lester became famous, he was encouraged by John Calvert and others to move to Hollywood to build his career. The Great Marvello chose to stay in the area, close to his parents, and friends, working children’s parties, nightclubs, and charity events.

In other words, Lester’s career was producing a limited income but he was happy, hanging around Cincinnati, New Trenton, or visiting his buddies the McElroy brothers in Harrison, themselves being renowned artisans and inventors.

The McElroy brothers also invented several items sold by the same Abbot Magic Company. Lester usually knew when to stop in the McElroy’s on Broadway, around dinner time enjoying a nice meal cooked by Mrs. McElroy.

The Great Marvello passed away in 1977, this time not buried with a flaming 5 gallons of gasoline but a normal burial next to his grandmother in Brookville’s Maple Grove Cemetery.

The Great Marvello had no surviving family, never married, but was engaged at one time.

Lester was such a good magician he made all of his money disappear and could never recover it, no matter how many times he spoke “abracadabra.”

I recently purchased one of Lester’s guillotine kits and I am trying to assemble it now. Just a few parts I can’t get to fit, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

I can’t wait to test this it out on my wife. I’m sure she will be very willing to volunteer as my lovely assistant for this trick.

Barbara will look lovely no doubt. Here we go:
Chop! Oooooops! Kerplunk!

Terry Viel is an avid Harrison history buff who collects and restores vintage Harrison photographs.