Alumni news and photos

Nov 12, 2007: Alumni news: Gary Dougherty

COLUMBUS -- "With more than 14 years of experience working in the state legislature, culminating in two separate tours of duty as Minority Chief of Staff of the Ohio House of Representatives, I became part of the Planned Parenthood family on April 5, 2004 when I became Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio... We continue to identify pro-choice supporters, recruit activists and volunteers, have a visibility at community events, register voters, advocate for and against legislation at the Statehouse, and collaborate with many other organizations to achieve our goals of making positive, progressive change in Ohio," Gary Dougherty, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio.

Gary Dougherty was on our research staff in Columbus in the 1980s.

Oct 22, 2007: Workplace cancers underreported

COLUMBUS -- "'The Secret History of the War on Cancer' by Devra Davis, just published by Basic Books, isn't getting the attention it should. Perhaps a new study by UK researchers reported by the BBC will help focus needed attention on one of its central claims: that the environment is a major contributor to cancer causation and any effective strategy for reducing incidence of the disease must focus attention on the workplace and community toxics that can lay hidden time bombs in peoples' bodies," Merrill Goozner,

Merrill Goozner was our first Cincinnati Program Director.

Oct 1, 2007: Joe Rugola elected Ohio AFL-CIO President; board selects school employees union to lead labor body

COLUMBUS -- "The executive board of the Ohio AFL-CIO today selected Joe Rugola by acclamation to serve as the labor federationís president. He replaces Bill Burga, a member of the United Steel Workers, who retired after 14 years in the post. Rugola is the executive director of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, which represents 38,000 non-teaching public school, library, Head Start and MRDD workers across Ohio. OAPSE is affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. 'I am honored and humbled by the support given me by Ohioís labor leaders. I appreciate their vote of confidence and look forward to working with all of them on behalf of Ohioís working families,' said Rugola," press release, Ohio ALF-CIO.

Joe Rugola was Ohio Citizen Action's Dayton Program Director in the 1970's.

Sep 7, 2007: Nick living American dream
Greek man's life dedicated to improving community

Nick Kostandaras, Sr. is President of the eleven-member Summit County Council, the legislative authority, taxing authority and policy-making body of the Summit County government.

CLEVELAND -- "Nick Kostandaras knows he has much for which to be thankful. At 69, he has his health, a loving wife of 47 years, four grown and successful children, a thriving business, a position of prominence as a Summit County councilman and a lovely home in Richfield. He has lived the American dream. But there was a time when he stood on a bridge on state Route 82, ready to jump. In his mid 40s, he was recovering from radical surgery to remove a cancerous lump from his neck. He was facing more surgery and the removal of his vocal cords. The thought of losing his voice was both symbolic and crushing for a man who had spent his life speaking on behalf of others," Kit Kelly, Sun News.
Article originally published on November 23, 2006.

Nick Kostandaras is a founder of Ohio Citizen Action.

Aug 29, 2007: State civil-service union gets new president

Eddie Parks
Eddie Parks
CINCINNATI -- "For the first time in more than two decades, a new president will guide the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association. Eddie L. Parks was the winner of a runoff election last week, ousting Ronald C. Alexander, who had been president of the largest union representing state workers for 24 years. Parks, 65, who has been vice president for the past four years, will be president until 2011. He is an energy specialist at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio," Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch.

Eddie Parks was a member of Ohio Citizen Action's Columbus Program staff in the early 1980's.

Aug 8, 2007: Qualls to replace Tarbell

Roxanne Qualls
CINCINNATI -- "In Cincinnati, for most of the 1990s, nobody got more votes than Roxanne Qualls. She held the mayor's office from 1993 through 1999, during which she created Mayor's Night In to give residents more access to City Hall, started CitiRama to promote urban home-buying and was instrumental in turning around public opinion to pass the sales tax that funded Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park. Now, after turning down multiple requests over the past seven years to return to public office, she's back. She'll fill a seat on council starting next month, and plans to run for a full term in November," Jane Prendergast, Cincinnati Enquirer.

Roxanne Qualls was Ohio Citizen Action's Cincinnati area Program Director from 1986-1992. She was the recipient of our Theodore M. Berry Hometown Hero Award in 2005.

Apr 19, 2007: Alumni news: Jane Forrest-Redfern

TRIMBLE -- "It has been an honor serving as the Executive Director of Rural Action for the last three years, and I want to thank you for your unending support for me, my family and Rural Action. While I will always value my time here, I recently received a career opportunity that I could not refuse. I have accepted a rural policy staff position with Ohio Jobs and Family Services in the Columbus office of Director Helen Jones-Kelley. As a result, I will be leaving my position at Rural Action," Jane Forrest-Redfern, Rural Rambler.

Jane Forrest-Redfern worked with Ohio Citizen Action from 1986 - 2003 as canvasser, Dayton Program Director, Cincinnati Program Director, and Environmental Projects Director.

Apr 12, 2007: Labor group picks woman executive
Harriet Applegate to lead North Shore

CLEVELAND -- "With Democrats in power, Applegate said she hopes to pass laws that make it easier for workers to unionize and ensure that union workers can be part of the new economy, especially efforts to build an industry around renewable energy, such as wind power. Women make up nearly 50 percent of membership ranks. But within the labor group, Applegate said her challenge is proving herself to everyone. 'I will have to earn respect,' she said. 'I have the advantage of knowing leadership but I don't know the membership,'" Mark Naymik, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Harriet Applegate was our Cincinnati Program Director in the 1980's and a board member in the 1990's.

Feb 21, 2007: Linda Robinson 1937-2007
Linda Robinson
CLEVELAND -- "We have learned with sorrow of the death in January of Linda Robinson. As a field canvasser for Ohio Citizen Action from 1990 to 2001, Linda involved thousands of Ohioans in our organization, sharing her passionate beliefs in fair utility rates and a safe environment. Linda was an expert in ornithology, and was a very active volunteer in the birdwatching and banding programs at the Shaker Lakes Nature Center, pictured above. A memorial service was held at the Nature Center," Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action.

Feb 12, 2007:  Far From Home
Wisconsinite Takes Helm at Save Middle East Action Committee
BALTIMORE, MD -- "The school itself has been closed since 1986, but a classroom in the building has been converted to serve as the headquarters for the Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC), of which Nathan Sooy is now executive director. In November Sooy accepted the position with SMEAC, a nonprofit founded in 2001 to give residents of the Middle East neighborhood being displaced from their homes to make way for a biotechnology park, a voice in urban redevelopment. Sooy took the job after the departure of the organization's previous executive director, Marisela Gomez," Charles, Cohen, Baltimore City Paper.

Nathan Sooy was the Associate Program Director in our Cleveland office from 1987-1989.

Jan 31, 2007: Michelle Taphorn

CLEVELAND -- Michelle recently joined the staff at the Mutt Hutt, a "premier facility offering daycare, overnight stays, full-service grooming, massage and reiki healing, obedience and behavior traning classes, indoor dog park socialization as well as special events, fundraisers and retail." "I am the owner of two dogs. I have a Boxer puppy named Lola and a two-year old Shepherd Mutt named Homer. I have always had dogs growing up and have never been without one (or two) at a time. I moved to Cleveland over a year ago and worked as an activist until discovering The Mutt Hutt. I am looking foward to meeting your pets!"

Michelle worked as a field canvasser in our Cincinnati office from 2001 - 2004. She was Field Canvass Director in our Cleveland office from November, 2005 - December, 2006.

Jan 11, 2007: The Youth Shall Set You Free: 2006 Person of the Year

CINCINNATI -- "Because of his work uniting black and white, money and the street, art and political action, Gavin Leonard is CityBeat's 2006 Person of the Year... If his father's professional work partly accounts for his familiarity with the language of money, his mother's work almost certainly accounts for his commitment to social causes. Noreen Warnock is director of the Greater Columbus Foodshed Project. The recipient of the 1997 Metzenbaum Award from Ohio Citizen Action, she helped start Allen County Citizens for the Environment, Gregory Flannery, Cincinnati CityBeat.

Gavin was the "Emerging Leaders Award" winner at our 30th Anniversary celebration in 2005, and a canvasser in our Columbus office in the 90's.

Jan 4, 2007: Amy Ryder Wentz

CLEVELAND -- In 2006, Amy Ryder Wentz graduated from Cleveland Marshall College of Law, passed the Ohio bar exam, and was admitted to practice law in Ohio. She has been appointed to a two-year clerkship with the Honorable Lesley Wells at the United States District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. While in law school, Amy's note, "Unreasonable Conditions Impeding our Nation's Charities: An Unconstitional Condition in the Combined Federal Campaign" was selected for publication in the Cleveland State Law Review. Most importantly, in November 2003 Amy married the love of her life, Peter Wentz.

Amy Ryder Wentz worked as Canvass Director in our Columbus office from 1994 - 1997. She then moved to Cleveland and was our Program Director there from 1997 - 2003.

30th Anniversary

News from 2007:
Gary Dougherty. Merrill Goozner, Joe Rugola, Nick Kostandaras, Eddie Parks, Roxanne Qualls, Jane Forrest-Redfern, Harriet Applegate, Linda Robinson, Nathan Sooy, Michelle Taphorn, Gavin Leonard, Amy Ryder Wentz.

News from 2006:
Pari Sabety, Tom Mooney, Dan Stewart, Sarah Grutza, Artie Knapp, Roxanne Qualls, Padi Hallam, John Harris, Deanna Clemente Milne, Brandi Whetstone, Rachel Gelbmann, Adrian Dinges.

News from May - Dec 2005:
Noreen Warnock, Jay Westbrook, Debanuj Dasgupta, Atossa Soltani, Sarah Strayley, David Williams, Trish Lanahan, Anna Tinsly, James Thindwa, Nathan Sooy, Colleen Trickett, Merrill Goozner, Erik Dumont, Kristin Plambeck.

News from Jan - Apr 2005:
Harriet Applegate, Glen Brand, Jim Draper, Melissa English, Kevin Everett (Schneider), Carrie Garnes, Dave Gee, Vic Gideon, Ken Ilg, Pete MacDowell, David McCann, Beatrice Miringu, Jane Reilley, Brian Riggle, James Thindwa, Shari Weir, and obituaries for Cindy Dublo and Coleen Tracey.

News from Jul - Dec 2004:
Marc Anderson, Steve Cerny, Aamir Deen, Stu Greenberg, Jim Grossfeld, Brantt Hamilton, Ed Hopkins, Kendall Jackson, Wendy Johnson, Chris Kuwamoto, Sue Lacy, Mark Leddy, Gavin Leonard, John Lynch, Pete MacDowell, Todd Main, Marianthe Manak, Bobbi Jo Medlen, Kathy Remias, Paula Ross, Joseph Rugola, Chris Shumway, Atossa Soltani, Roxane Staples, Dan Stewart, Craig Stuntz, Shari Weir, and Darlene Wolnik.

News from Jan - Jun 2004:
Bill Callahan, Merrill Goozner, John Greenman, Pete MacDowell, Mark Real, Brewster Rhoads, Paula Ross, Noreen Warnock, and Laura Yeomans.

News from 2003:
Roxanne Qualls, Jane Forrest Redfern, Rich Swirsky, and James Thindwa.