I first published a Stark County, Ohio News and Views... blogspot post, on
January 5, 2008, I gave little to no thought about a long-term future.
been a working writer for 32 years and was taking pictures for longer than
that; I had 22 years of marketing experience, was involved in digital marketing
since AOL began sending out floppy disks; and I had a decade of management
experience, including retail management, area management, and corporate
Great Recession had hit Northeast Ohio hard. Stark County was portrayed
negatively in both regional and national media; I saw a need to spread the word
about the community I knew. To show what made it special, why I chose it to be
was referred to as "new media" at that time, and I'd been publishing
for approximately six years.
I launched the Stark County, Ohio News and Views… blog, followed by a Facebookpage approximately six months later, knowing one thing, it's impossible to
satisfy, let alone please, everyone.
was also aware that however positive your attitude, whatever kind thing you
might do, large or small, for whomever, whenever, however often, you'd be
portrayed as an asshole in someone's story.
no time at all, my beliefs were confirmed.
took some time, but the blog and the Facebook page each found their way, and we
developed a following.
more traffic the blog attracted, eventually 1,100+ visits daily, and the more
fans LIKED our Facebook page, a high of 21,689, the more individuals,
businesses, and organizations wanted FREE publicity.
weren't asked for publicity. About the time our Facebook following reached
1,000 fans, people began to demand FREE publicity. Which I didn’t understand
then and don’t understand now.
was expected that I would allow people to post their content on our Facebook
page. Invariably it was a person who was not a fan of the page, they had never
thumbed a post, and they had never written a comment that was doing the
people not only failed to support our publications; they did not donate a penny.
But I ran "the" Stark County Facebook page, and they felt that since
they were physically located in Stark County, it was necessary for me to
provide them with REE publicity.
I eliminated the option for people to be able to post on our page.
was a time that I thought the only reason to have a Facebook page was to
support our blog.
my dad had open-heart surgery and the year that followed was a rollercoaster
ride. My brother and I eventually convinced our parents to move to a senior
citizen apartment. A few years later, my dad began to decline, was in and out
of the hospital and, eventually, with little warning, he passed away. A few
months after that, my mother developed breast cancer, within a year, we lost
my dad had open-heart surgery, I began to make more frequent trips to Southwest
Pennsylvania for visits. As his health worsened, I went more regularly, and
then when my mother was ill, I would visit weekly or at least a couple of times
became less important; other things became a priority and required time.
Consequently, I was blogging less frequently and eventually stopped. But I kept
the Facebook page going.
the first 12 years of publishing Stark County, Ohio News and Views..., there
were minor disagreements, occasional disputes, and every now and then an
attempted character assassination.
made enemies. Because I was not willing to have people take advantage of me. I
did not believe that people who had no investment should tell me what I should
or should not publish. I've never believed that I should live my life in a
manner someone else wants to impose upon me.
also made enemies because I refused to provide individuals, businesses, and
organizations with FREE publicity.
learn a lot about people who don't get what they want. People hold grudges. And
when one person gets on Facebook to complain, old enemies join in to form a
was a relatively short period of time when seeing people tell their versions of
stories, which I knew were untrue, when I saw them posting lies about me, when
they went out of their way to try to damage my reputation, hurt my feelings and
made me angry. Those days are long past. And the people who know me, the people
who actually matter, have always known the things being said were untrue.
Stark County, Ohio News and Views...requires the work of a dozen people. I do
that work alone.
over the years occasionally have commented that I have "the best
job". Until they find out I do it for FREE. Supported only by sponsorships
and donations, both being rare.
course, people think it's "a" job, not an enterprise which would keep
12 people working full-time constantly busy.
yes, I do strategize, I do plan, I do review and evaluate. But I've never made
a priority of creating policies and making rules.
said it time and time again for many years, decades in fact: never expect
members of the general public to be reasonable.
will always be someone who does something which is not explicitly covered by a
policy or a rule.
the first 12 years of publishing Stark County, Ohio News and Views... a
"no politics" policy was sufficient. Someone, rarely, would write a
comment, inappropriate for our forum, I'd reply "we don't do politics on
this page" and that would be the end of it. No argument.
prepared me for 2020.
ran this page through the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. We made
no comment, took no positions and had no political arguments.
took control of the House of Representatives; no comment was made on this page
and there were no political arguments.
Trump was impeached; no comment was made on this page and there were no
more than 10 years I ran contests, giving away hundreds of prizes from Stark
County businesses and restaurants.
paid for the prizes far more often than businesses provided them. There were people
would complain that they entered contests and didn't win, as though everyone
could get something for free. For some people, I learned, you just can’t do
enough; you can never do enough; for some people it’s all about them.
back, I’m happy that through all that there were no political arguments.
lived in Stark County for 10 years before I started blogging about it. I was
aware that there were communities with a "reputation", but I didn't
know until 2020 how many racists reside here. The level of hate is
hadn't thought about Russia, or any other foreign power, interfering in a
followed politics since the age of 8, 48 years, and I never imagined I'd see a
United States president less qualified and less capable than George W. Bush,
more dishonest than Richard Nixon, and a greater failure than anyone who had
ever held the office.
would I manage content in my blog and social media channels with a president
who behaved in turns like a mob boss, a cult leader, and a mental
never thought about a worldwide Pandemic occurring in my lifetime. As Novel
Coronavirus burned across the country and residents of Stark County were
diagnosed with Covid-19 I struggled with the question of how to cover it.
Novel Coronavirus spreading across the country and being diagnosed in Stark
County, I was left to face issues immediately, which I had never given a
thought. How would I cover it?
were question I never considered before March, 2020.
had to decide, immediately, how I would handle Donald Trump's militant,
emboldened, single-minded, often angry and abusive, robot-like supporters who
followed his direction like members of a cult.
in mind that I'd said nothing about Donald Trump on this page during the year
he ran for office, with Russia's help, or during the previous three years he'd
been in office. Nor had anyone else talked about Trump on our page.
recognized when news of Novel Coronavirus began to circulate that it was
entirely a health issue.
matter how Donald Trump responded to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic and Covid
-19, no matter how he encouraged his cult-like followers to engage in a culture
war, my decision was firm, and my course was set. It was a health crisis, not a
political issue, and that is how I would handle it.
here’s the thing. It was impossible to talk about the federal government’s
handling of the Coronavirus Pandemic without mentioning Trump. No matter how
much effort I made to be apolitical, members of Trump’s red hat cult seized
upon the opportunity to accuse me of taking a political stand any time I mentioned
came the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. Black Lives Matter protests
occurred throughout the nation, including cities across Ohio. Demonstrators
marched in Canton.
Justice joined the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic at the top of the nation's
agenda. Along with the economy, which was crumbling.
who is a racist and a supporter of Nazis, attacked and his cult following gave
their full support.
always believed in giving people their say on this page, whether they were fans
or random visitors. I would welcome a thoughtful conversation, a good debate,
had been my policy for years that I would not permanently remove people from
Stark County, Ohio News and Views... unless they were posting false
information, if they were insulting, if they attacked, if they were
argumentative and/or SPAMMING.
can’t have a reasonable, rationale conversation with a member of a cult. Like
Trump, they lack humanity, are not self-aware, they are neither empathetic or
of the cult supporting and working on behalf of Donald Trump's campaign made
this page a culture war battlefield.
a four-month period it was necessary to permanently remove an average of 200
fans per week, a total in excess of 3,000. Eventually the number of fans
removed from the page would be more than 5,000 and, in addition to that, it was
necessary to ban more than 5,000 random people who came to the page for no
reason other than trolling.
was, needles to say, a difficult proposition when I’d spent 13 years building
it was no longer necessary to remove people in larger numbers. There might be
one person a day who had to be removed, some days there might be a dozen. As
time went on there were days when no trolls would appear on the page.
culture war went on through the remainder of Trump’s time in the White House.
But, the culture war on our page was brought to ana end. Actively banning of
trolls has stopped any reemergence.
our fans who participate, responding to our posts, respectfully, whether you
agree or not, THANK YOU. To those of you who are supportive and helpful, I am
the individuals, near and far, the businesses, the organizations and the
visitors who travel to our community, all who use Stark County, Ohio News and
Views... as a resource, THANK YOU.
is our blog address.
accept (and appreciate) any donation of $1 or more. Just click the button in
the too right corner of the page (below the cover photo).
are available for $100 per month or $600 per year.
our story, with a few edits made on October 16, 2021.
Tony, Publisher and Chief Executive