By Rich Heldenfels

Q: Several years ago, either Discovery or the History Channel aired a made-for-TV movie about the Confederate submarine called the Hunley. It was a great movie, but I haven’t seen or heard of it since. Is it available on DVD or VHS?

A: Since you asked about a movie instead of one of the several Hunley documentaries, you may have seen a replay of the TV-movie The Hunley, which starred Armand Assante and Donald Sutherland. It first aired on TNT in 1999. It was released on VHS, and I have seen copies for sale online; it cost $15 on http://www.half.com.

”Pop Quiz” questions can be sent to rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com or the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309. Please mark them for ”Pop Quiz” and do not phone in questions.

Nothing is more commonplace than the daily mail.

So when the person delivering it changes, it should be no big deal.

But it is when the mailman is Paul Merlo.

Merlo, who has been delivering mail for 42 years in Akron, said goodbyes last week.

Today, the 66-year-old who had planned to be a teacher but found his bliss being a dependable part of people’s daily lives, is making his final deliveries, in downtown Akron.

”I can’t think of any other time in my life when I looked forward to getting my mail,” said Carolyn Hanson, at Superior Staffing in the Quaker Square complex, on Friday.

Along with the mail, Merlo has delivered ”a good sense of irony and reality,” said Hanson, a Superior Staffing manager.

Merlo has walked a downtown route for 27 years.

He first donned a uniform in April 1966 — Lyndon Johnson was president, stamps were five cents and letter carriers had to wear hats. The U.S. Postal Service handled fewer than 85 billion pieces of mail. Today, it handles more than 200 billion.

Word that Merlo was hanging up his mail bag for good has been around for a while.

But last week, as Merlo’s retirement grew closer, the news was hitting home. Patrons mourned the imminent loss of their daily fellowship with Merlo.

”We talk about business, the economy,” said Superior Staffing administrative assistant Peggy Kinney, her eyes tearing up.

”We solve the world problems,” she said.

Merlo also addressed smaller issues, endearing himself to his ”patrons.”

He always placed the People magazine on top of the stack for Courtney Akers, a receptionist in a Quaker Square law office. That way, she could snag it before others did.

”I’m going on strike as of next year,” she joshed Friday.

Lynne Earhart, at attorney at Quaker Square, said, ”I don’t know who is going to replace him. I’m a little worried.”

Mail frequently is addressed to clients of the law firm — not the attorneys. And the law firm has switched offices within Quaker Square. Yet Merlo always managed to get the mail to the right place, Earhart said.

The length of Merlo’s tenure is unusual. Many letter carriers retire after 20 to 30 years, said David Van Allen, spokesman for the Postal Service in northern Ohio.

Merlo, of Akron, maximizes his pension by putting in 42 years. He’ll get about 80 percent of his annual salary.

His wife, Karen, said he is ”very practical.” She said friends of her husband have retired at younger ages from various jobs, only to work part-time or get other full-time jobs that didn’t pay as well.

”I never dreamed I’d be here for 42 years,” Merlo told fellow postal service workers at a brief retirement party Friday at the Five Points post office in West Akron.

”I took it one year at a time,” he said. ”That’s how I got here.”

Chuck Barney
Contra Costa Times

Marie Osmond hit the deck. Ellen DeGeneres bawled her eyes out. And Sanjaya Malakar wowed us with his hair (but not his singing).

Yes, it was another bizarre year in television. Come along with us as we relive some of 2007’s most memorable moments and performers:

Classiest departure: Jorga Fox’s Sara Sidle bids a melancholy farewell to CSI and leaves poor Grissom (William Peterson) without a soul mate.

Best rock-your-world finale: Lost, for its jaw-dropping, off-the-island flash-forward that left us wanting more, more, more. Runner-up: Damages.

Most polarizing finale: The fade-to-black finish in The Sopranos that had us scratching our heads and humming that stupid Journey song for weeks.

Nuttiest fans: The peanut-pushing devotees of Jericho whose passionate campaign brought the apocalyptic drama back from the dead.

Best geek (in a season of geeks): Zachary Levi’s improbable super spy in Chuck.

Best British import (in a season of British imports): Damian Lewis, the offbeat cop who puts the life in Life.

Funniest new sitcom: The Big Bang Theory (CBS) gave us some big laughs — and a pair of hilarious roommates (Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons).

Best reason to avoid remakes: Bionic Woman turned out to be a joyless, leaden update on the 1970s cult hit.

Worst bad-hair day: Sanjaya Malakar, whose poofy faux-hawk mane had him looking more ready for the Kentucky Derby than American Idol.

Scariest fainting spell: Marie Osmond went from Dancing With the Stars to seeing stars.

Biggest crybaby: Ellen DeGeneres, who unleashed a flood of tears over a dog named Iggy and had many of us howling in disgust.

Zap2it.com

NBC is turning to its cable sibling USA to help fill out its midseason schedule.

NBC will repeat episodes of USA’s popular shows Monk and Psych on Sunday nights beginning in March. Both series are to return with new episodes in January.

”This is an excellent opportunity to showcase these two critically acclaimed cable hits,” NBC co-Chairman Marc Graboff said. ”It’s a win-win situation. The shows, both produced by our own Universal Media Studios, receive additional exposure while providing great programming for NBC.”

They’ll also fill a good-sized hole, brought on by the writers strike, in NBC’s schedule.

NBC will also repeat episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which moved its first run to USA this season, on Wednesday nights starting next month.

Monk, which stars Tony Shalhoub as a detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder, will be getting its second go-round on a broadcast network. Episodes have also been shown on ABC (whose corporate sibling, Touchstone TV, is also a producer of the show).

Both Monk and Psych, which stars James Roday as a police consultant who lets the cops think he’s psychic — although he’s just really observant — are strong performers for USA. Monk averaged close to 5 million viewers a week in its most recent summer run, while Psych pulled in better than 4 million.

Betty O’Neill-Roderick

Goodyear Hall was a ”Rhapsody in Pink” Thursday evening for the 105th annual Charity Ball. Sandy Johnston, who chaired the event on behalf of the Women’s Board of Akron Children’s Hospital, said she wanted a pink ball and floral designer Don Vanderbrook obliged, draping the massive hall in pink. Sammy’s Catering continued the pink theme with a beet vichyssoise at dinner.

As they entered, guests were greeted by Bill and Karen Silver, Joyce Hamaker and Manuel and Karen Nackes.

It may have been winter outside, but Vanderbrook brought in a touch of spring, designing a fresh green arbor where 45 lovely young women made their debut in elegant white gowns. In the center of the room, towers of greenery interspersed with fresh flowers coordinated with the beautiful centerpieces that graced each table.

Lou Farris was busy snapping photos of his brother, George, and his wife, Debbie, and family friends, Dr. Jeff Please see Ball , D6

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Starkey and his wife, Anna, as they awaited the debut of Darah Louise Farris.

Mary Ball Gorman was surrounded by family members, her son, Bob Ball, and his wife, Patricia, son Jim Ball, who came from Florida, and daughter Nancy Ball Martin and her husband, Jim, who came from Chicago for the event. Her daughter, Barbara Ball Musci, gave her debutante daughter, Christina, and her escort, Shawn Lentini, ballroom dancing lessons in preparation for the event, ”and tonight is our final exam,” Lentini said. Another proud grandmother, Carol Yassine, watched her granddaughter, Daniella Christine Vespoli, make her debut.

Bill Considine, president and chief executive of Children’s Hospital, and his wife, Becky, looked over photos of previous Charity Balls, held in Goodyear Hall for the past 30 years. Matt Bezbatchenko pointed out a photo of his wife, Kathy, making her debut to their son, Matt Jr. Their daughter, Laura Ann, was one of the debutantes this year.

Dr. Lewis Walker and his wife, Charlotte, enjoyed the photos with their son, Chris, who recalled being an escort at the ball 40 years ago. Later, Chris escorted his twin daughters, Alexandra and Erica, as they made their debuts. Chad Kanakkanatt, 10, and his sister, Nikki, excitedly waited for their debutante sister, Kirin, to appear.

Charlie Badran said he has enjoyed helping with every Charity Ball for the past 30 years. Also enjoying the event were Rochelle Stone, president of the Women’s Board, and her husband, Dr. Robert Stone; John and Nancy Beringer; Mary Briggs; Rick and Pat O’Desky; Colleen Murphy; Phillip Salem; and Mary Liz Pulk.

The 2007 debutantes initiated a service project to provide birthday gifts for children at ACCESS and the Battered Women’s Shelter. Kathy Reed and her daughter, Elizabeth Ann, and Susan Fernandez and her daughter, Mara Noelle, coordinated the project.

The Charity Ball is expected to raise more than $100,000 for Children’s Hospital.

Katrina A. Goggins

COLUMBIA, S.C.: The self-proclaimed widow admits she’s been a bit of a drama queen, and she’s not about to apologize for it. The lawyer feels brushed aside after more than two decades of dedication. The preacher had trouble dealing with the death of a man who took the role of the father who abandoned him.

And the son is at peace, ready to continue his father’s work.

A year after music legend James Brown died in an Atlanta hospital, the people who surrounded him in life continue to fight over his fortune and legacy. People claiming to be Brown’s relatives have entered the fray. And none of what’s become a tragicomic saga looks to be resolved anytime soon.

Brown, who died Christmas Day at age 73, continues to be remembered for a larger-than-life personality, his voice and flashy footwork inspiring generations of entertainers. The Godfather of Soul won Grammy Awards, recorded more than 110 charted singles and is credited by some with inventing funk and rap music.

As thousands attended public memorial services for Brown, the legal rifts surrounding his estate were forming. It took two months for him to be buried, his body at one point resting in a sealed gold casket inside his home. After he was buried in March on one of his daughter’s properties, his family said a more public mausoleum was planned. There’s still talk of a Graceland-like mansion at his Beech Island home.

Tomi Rae Hynie, a former backup singer who claims to be Brown’s fourth wife and the mother of his child, said she led the private funeral procession that day with her son. She’s claimed Brown wanted her to have his home in the western part of South Carolina, near the Georgia state line, but was locked out.

”Everybody says I’m being a drama queen and I’m a great actress,” Hynie said, alternately sobbing and joking during a recent telephone interview. ”All I did was cry and fall to my knees and faint a couple of times. Isn’t that how a wife is supposed to act at a funeral when she loses the man she loves?”

She’s since been a fixture in courtrooms, occasionally sauntering in late, tossing her cranberry-red hair and glaring at attorneys as she vies for half of Brown’s estate. Just how much that is worth remains unclear. In October, Forbes reported Brown made an estimated $5 million in the prior year alone. But attorneys have said Brown’s accounts do not have the money they expected. One former trustee of Brown’s estate, David Cannon, has repaid $350,000 he was accused of misappropriating.

”When I married James he said it wasn’t because I was the prettiest girl in the room,” Hynie said. ”He said it’s because I was a fighter. And I’m going to fight. . . . I’m going to fight because every night, when me and that man were in bed together, all we did was talk about this day and what I was going to have to do and how if I wanted it I was going to really have to fight for it.”

Buddy Dallas has spent the year immersed in that fight.

Brown’s longtime attorney and adviser met the entertainer in 1984 and was ”with him through thick and thin from then until now.”

”Mr. Brown needed what I was able to give him and that was someone he could trust,” Dallas said. ”We laughed together, we cried together, we prayed together. And I was there for Mr. Brown’s children as well.”

But after their father died, Brown’s adult children moved to oust Dallas and two other trustees. Dallas resigned in November but now claims the judge handling the disputes forced him out and he’s trying retract his resignation.

”My only regret is that the children cannot accept the will of their father,” Dallas said. ”He left household and personal effects to his children. He left a trust fund to educate his grandchildren. And then everything else on the face of the earth that he owned he left to the needy and underprivileged children of Georgia and South Carolina for educational purposes. And he named his three friends (Brown’s trustees) to carry out that purpose.”

As for Hynie, Dallas says she’s not Brown’s widow because she was still married to another man when she and Brown said their vows in 2001.

For Daryl Brown, one of six adult children listed in his father’s will, the estate and the money it holds is less important than his father’s musical legacy. Daryl Brown said keeping his father’s band together is his priority, even as others focus on the money.

”We have some family members that really just eat and sleep the situation,” he said. ”I was more prepared. I already knew what my assignment was. He left me the Soul Generals and that’s one of the last things we talked about.”

He does believe Dallas and others handling his father’s finances ”totally forgot about the children.”

Accepting Brown’s death was more difficult for the Rev. Al Sharpton, who first met Brown as a boy. The two become closer in 1973 after Brown’s son died.

”He lost Teddy, his oldest child, and my father kind of abandoned me. So in many ways I became the son he lost and he became the father I never had,” Sharpton said.

Sharpton said he rode with Brown’s body from Augusta, Ga., to Harlem, N.Y., where a second public ceremony took place.

”I just felt like I couldn’t leave him,” Sharpton said. ”This was like my father. And that’s why to me I just can’t sit in court and watch the bickering, because it’s too personal.”

Sharpton believes that, in the end, the legal battle will likely be a small footnote to Brown’s legacy.

”The irony is that people are squabbling over things that James Brown created and earned,” Sharpton said. ”He didn’t inherit anything. He grew up fatherless, motherless, penniless and left people arguing over what they inherit from him.”

Mark J. Price

After months of bitter debate and loud protest, the end came quietly on New Year’s Eve. Assistant Akron Law Director Alva J. Russell submitted a final transcript of annexation proceedings. Summit County Recorder Mary Paul stamped the official document.

Kenmore officially ceased to exist at 6 p.m. Dec. 31, 1928. Overnight, its 18,000 residents transformed into Akron citizens. Some of them went reluctantly.

Once hailed as ”the fastest-growing city in the world,” Kenmore lasted a mere 20 years as a municipality. Those were 20 memorable years, however.

The Akron Realty Co. carved the town out of Coventry Township pastures and cornfields in the early 1900s. Kenmore’s chief backers were Noah R. Steiner, president of Akron Realty; William A. Johnston, manager of the Barberton Land and Improvement Co.; and Will Christy, president of the Northern Ohio Traction Co.

The men envisioned a residential area between Akron and Barberton with a streetcar line connecting the two thriving communities.

The crowning feature would be a 100-foot-wide boulevard passing through the center of the town. Double tracks would run down the middle.

”In Kenmore, there will be five-foot grass plats on either side of the
tracks, and the trolley poles will be placed in the ‘devil’ strip between the two tracks,” the Beacon Journal reported in 1901. ”Neat metal stations will be placed at frequent intervals along the boulevard. The trolley poles will be painted white. Every 600 feet along the entire length of the boulevard there will be placed an electric arc light, thus lighting the entire boulevard.”

Steiner wanted to name the town Hazelhurst or Hazeldale in honor of his daughter Hazel Steiner, the future Mrs. Bert A. Polsky. For reasons still unclear, he decided to call it Kenmore. Local historians have disagreed on whether the name derives from a place in New York, New Jersey, Virginia or England.

Developers touted Kenmore as a nice neighborhood far away from the smoke and dust of factories. Its lots were mostly residential, although a few notable companies — such as Diamond Rubber Co., Colonial Salt, Zimmerly Bros. Packing Co. and Webster, Camp & Lane — lurked on the outskirts of town.

Akron Realty sold 1,500 lots in 1901 for ”the new town whose brilliant future is already assured.” Dozens of dwellings, churches and other buildings rose on tree-lined Kenmore Boulevard. Real-estate dealer M.C. Heminger was the first to move his family to the boulevard.

Kenmore schools began in 1903. The high school’s first graduating class in 1907 consisted of four students: Elsie Wagoner, Floyd Wagoner, Vesta Heminger and Maggie Henry.

The little town kept growing. On Dec. 28, 1907, Kenmore residents voted 77-11 to incorporate into a village. Incorporation papers were filed Jan. 9, 1908, and the change took effect in February.

Voters went to the polls that March to choose Kenmore’s first leaders. Elected were Mayor Charles Smith, Treasurer Byron W. Swigart and City Council members John Bergdorf, Orion D. Capron, Blanchard McFarlin, George W. Foust, Madison C. Lotz and Jacob Wirth.

Officials met at Central School until Kenmore City Hall, a handsome brick building, opened in 1916.

”That the mayor and councilmen are serving without salary in spite of the fact that much of their time is devoted to the interest of the village shows the spirit actuating them,” the Beacon Journal reported. ”It is safe to predict that within a year or two, Kenmore will be a model little village, both as to government and dress.”

Little village? Its population exploded 300 percent over the next decade to 18,000.

The bustling community earned the nickname as ”the fastest-growing city in the world.” Its famous boulevard was a blur of activity as citizens went about their daily lives.

Such rapid growth proved to be Kenmore’s undoing. The city was 90 percent residential and had few industries from which to collect taxes. When the city fell into debt, it couldn’t provide adequate public services.

 

So it charged residents more.

The breaking point came in 1928, when the Kenmore City Council approved an ordinance that increased sewer bills $8 a year. Angry citizens formed a committee to explore the city’s possible annexation to Akron, which could provide better services at lower cost.

Former Kenmore Councilman Henry G. Morris led the campaign.

”In comparison with other cities of similar size, important public services, such as garbage collection, street cleaning, health control, public library and provision for care of indigent persons have been either nonexistent or developed in a manner having little appeal to the people on account of the added assessments created and poor service offered,” he wrote.

The revolt caused a bitter divide in the community. Accusations flew. Neighbors turned against neighbors.

Four Kenmore councilmen were jailed for a week in contempt of court when they resigned office rather than place the merger before voters.

 

Finally, the issue made it to the November 1928 ballot in Akron and Kenmore. It had to pass in both cities to take effect.

Akron overwhelmingly approved it, 59,010 to 11,618. Kenmore was more cautious, but still voted 3,854 to 2,225 in favor.

The merger of the two cities wiped Kenmore off the map — beginning with addresses. Many Kenmore streets had been named for U.S. states. They were changed to numbered avenues to avoid duplication with Akron streets.

The Kenmore Herald, founded in 1913, ceased operations.

Kenmore City Hall ended its governmental duties. Most Kenmore officials lost their jobs, although Police Chief William Poalson and his six officers joined the Akron force while Fire Chief Fred Kelly and his three firefighters joined the Akron squad.

The city’s demise was a mere formality when the annexation document arrived at the recorder’s office on New Year’s Eve. With the official’s stamp, Kenmore became the 9th and 10th wards of Akron.

Kenmore lost its city status but it didn’t lose its identity. To this day, it remains a tightknit community with deep civic pride. The streetcars are gone, but Kenmore Boulevard continues to be the center of activity.

The Akron Realty Co. picked the right location in 1901 when it began laying out a town: ”For the investor and the man or woman who wishes to create a competency for later years, there is no spot or place where a few dollars will show greater earnings than purchases made in Kenmore.

”For as sure as the sun rises in the east, as if by magic, Kenmore will join the bounds of Akron with her sister city Barberton.”

 


Mark J. Price is a Beacon Journal copy editor. He can be reached at 330-996-3850 or send e-mail to mjprice@thebeaconjournal.com.

 

David L. Richards

Beautiful Venus brings in the new year, rising at 5 a.m., shining brightly at magnitude -3.9.

On the last day of January at 6 a.m., Venus is joined with Jupiter, separated by only 1 degree. Jupiter does not become conspicuous until the last half of the month, rising a bit before 7 a.m., also quite bright at magnitude -1.7. Jupiter will remain in Sagittarius all year.

Mars is visible throughout the night all month long, rising at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday and setting at 7:10 a.m. Wednesday. On the 19th, watch in the east after sunset. Mars and the 12-day-old moon rise together, only 1/2 degree apart. That is only the width of the moon!

On the night of Jan. 22, the nearly full moon is in the Beehive (Praesepe) again. On Jan. 24, the moon and Saturn rise together about 8:30 p.m. in Leo, the Lion. Saturn remains in Leo all of 2008.

Saturn’s ring plane will increase to almost 10 degrees by early May, but by this time next year will close to less than 1 degree. That will mean the ring system will be all but invisible except to the largest telescopes.

The first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, the MESSENGER craft (launched in August 2004), will accomplish its first flyby of the tiny planet on Jan. 14. An acronym for ”MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging,” this mission will return the first new data from Mercury in more than three decades. For information about MESSENGER, go tohttp://messenger.jhuapl.edu.

Mercury will be at greatest elongation east on Jan. 22, so look for the Winged Messenger during evening twilight. On Jan. 9, the sliver of the moon is only about 21/2 degrees from Mercury.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is expected to peak Thursday night and Friday morning. Astronomers do not know the origin of this shower that peaks for only an hour or two, but are expecting an hourly rate of 100 to 120 meteors.

Q&A

Q: Is Comet Holmes still visible? — R.M., Akron.

A: Comet Holmes continues to enlarge — the diameter is larger than the sun — as it leaves the solar system. Therefore its surface brightness is decreasing and it is more difficult to see under moonlight or light pollution. If you are under a dark sky, the comet’s total brightness has remained constant at 3rd magnitude since the middle of November.

The comet is still in the constellation Perseus, so use your binoculars under a dark sky and you should see it.

Planetarium quiz

The Hoover-Price Planetarium begins the year with Not-So-Trivial Cosmic Pursuit. In this show, the planetarian will ask the audience astronomical questions. Bring a child to get the answers correct. Presentations are at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. The planetarium is included with admission to the library and museum. Call 330-455-7043 for information.


David L. Richards is director of the Hoover-Price Planetarium at the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive N.W., Canton, 44708, http://www.mckinleymuseum.org. He can be reached at 330-455-7043 or e-mail hooverpriceplanetarium@hotmail.com.

Contributions to the Seattle Times report on the year 2007 in technology came from:

• Buzz Bruggeman: self-described ”geek wannabe” and proprietor of ActiveWords

• Reuven Carlyle: wireless and software entrepreneur

• John Drescher: executive director, TechNet Northwest

• Brier Dudley: Seattle Times technology columnist

• Patrick Ennis: managing director, Arch Venture Partners

• Mike Foley: executive director, Bluetooth SIG

• David Geller: president and CEO, EyeJot

• Kristi Heim: Seattle Times technology reporter

• William Ho: wireless-services research director, Current Analysis

• Ed Lazowska: Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington

• Susannah Malarkey: executive director, Technology Alliance

• Ken Myer: president and CEO, WSA, Washington’s tech trade association

• Lee Nichols: global solutions director covering Microsoft for enterprise IT services company Getroncis

• Sid Parakh: technology analyst, McAdams Wright Ragen

• Chris Pearson: president of 3G Americas, an association representing GSM cellular technology

• Peter Quinn: executive director, Northwest Entrepreneur Network

• Benjamin Romano: Seattle Times technology reporter

• Matt Rosoff: analyst, Directions on Microsoft

• Chetan Sharma: wireless consultant and co-author of the book Mobile Advertising: Supercharge Your Brand in the Exploding Wireless Market

• Chris Swenson: director, software-industry analysis, NPD Group

Craig Crossman

For years now, I’ve maintained that a flatbed scanner is a peripheral that should be a part of most anyone’s personal computer. Given the low cost, high performance quality and versatility of today’s scanners, it makes a lot of sense to have one around.

Having the ability to scan in a document, book, magazine, photograph and just about anything else you can fit on the scanner’s surface will prove to be invaluable whenever you need to convert any of these physical items to digital. Plus a big part of being online these days is having the ability to attach images and documents from physical sources to e-mails and sending them to Web sites.

A question people have frequently asked whenever I’ve talked about scanners is why they need a scanner when they own a digital camera. My answer: You wouldn’t use a scanner to snap a picture, nor would you use a digital camera to try to scan a document. They are two similar devices designed to do very different things.

But now a new piece of software called Snapter ICE has emerged that seems to blur that line of distinction.

Snapter ICE converts specific types of images taken with a digital camera and produces the same kind of results as if you’d scanned the subject matter with a flatbed scanner. Believe me, doing something like that is quite an achievement. The sophistication and complexity of the computation and analysis algorithms required to do that is impressive. But evidently it’s been done and the results speak for themselves.

Let’s take a book, for example. An open book lying flat on a table requires you to position your digital camera directly over the center of the book. Yet the print and the images on the surface of the book’s pages are not uniformly positioned because of the curvature of the page’s edge to the book’s spine. Somehow Snapter ICE’s algorithms compensate for the distortion and produce a perfectly flat image that looks like a typewritten page. From there, Snapter ICE saves the image as a PDF document.

The same thing goes for any document you can photograph. Even if you take a picture of the page at an angle, Snapter ICE rotates the image, crops it, stretches, sharpens, improves its color and creates a PDF image that displays a perfectly straight, crisp, white flat page that looks as if it had been scanned in a flatbed. It’s impressive and you really have to try this for yourself.

Snapter ICE works with photos taken with any digital camera, so if you already have one, you’re ready to go. And Snapter ICE will create PDF files without the need to purchase Adobe’s Acrobat software. Snapter ICE will also let you create JPG, TIFF and other popular image formats if you wish.

Remember that this is science and not magic. You do have a few rules to follow when taking these images. For example, the entire document or book has to be within the frame of the photograph. And while it’s OK to have your fingers on the side of the book holding the pages, you can’t take a skewed image of a book. It has to be taken from the book’s center. You can take a skewed photo of a document, but you can only take a picture of one page at a time.

The best way to learn more about Snapter ICE is to visit the product’s Web site at http://snapter.atiz.com. The program offers a free 14-day trial. After that, it remains fully functional but scanned images will have a pale watermark across the image. Purchasing the Lite version for $20 gets rid of the watermark in Document and Card modes. $49 buys you the full version with all watermarks removed. Paid versions give you free upgrades to future versions for a year.

So does Snapter ICE replace a flatbed scanner? No way. But it does offer an inexpensive alternative if you don’t yet have a scanner, and you should still buy a copy even if you do. That way, you can use the scanner when your computer and the item you want to scan are at the same location and use Snapter ICE when they’re not. Snapter ICE is for Windows XP and Vista only.

Tali Arbel

Some frequent-flier accounts go inactive for too long, and passengers fear losing credit for their miles. What’s an inexpensive last-minute save?

Inactivity periods can creep up, especially since some major airlines have been reducing the amount of time fliers’ accounts can rest idle — no miles earned or redeemed — before wiping accounts clean.

American Airlines’ 36-month inactivity period switched to an 18-month limit on Dec. 15, United Airlines will make the same switch on Dec. 31 and Alaska Airlines will cut its inactivity period from three years to two years starting April 1, 2008.

Other airlines’ inactivity periods range from JetBlue Airways’ one-year expiration date to Continental Airlines’ indefinite commitment.

But saving miles is easy — no need to rely on travel to earn miles. A program member can shop, eat out, take a survey, watch an online ad, donate miles to charity or order magazine subscriptions to add mileage to an account in small increments, keeping it alive.

”It’s hard to believe that we would be talking about frequent-flier programs and someone’s worrying about their miles expiring,” said Randy Peterson, publisher of InsideFlyer magazine. ”Virtually any activity counts.”

Leisure-time solutions such as holiday shopping with the airlines’ retail partners or eating out at one of the thousands of restaurants linked to major airlines’ flier programs require little extra effort or spending.

Q: I am 59 years old, single, and have no mortgage or any other debt. I make about $55,000 a year. I have an individual IRA and a work IRA invested in indexed mutual funds with a combined worth of about $280,000. I have savings of $60,000 earning 5.25 percent interest.

Do you advise converting the IRA funds to a Roth IRA and paying the taxes now? If so, would you do it all at once, or do it over a few years?

I don’t plan to retire soon, but how bleak does my future look with those assets? My personal Social Security payments would only be $612 at 62, $968 at 66 or $1,484 at 70. I would qualify for one-half of my former husband’s Social Security if it is higher than mine, but how do I find that out?

What financial advice do you have for me to better prepare for my future? I tried to see a fee-only financial planner, but when I found out he would charge me more than $1,500 to give me advice (not invest my money, only look over my assets and advise), I passed. — G.G., by e-mail.

A:  As a single taxpayer with an income of $55,000 a year, you are in the 25 percent tax bracket for federal income taxes. You’ll probably be in the 25 percent tax bracket when you retire as well. This doesn’t mean you will pay taxes on all income at 25 percent. It means that the highest rate you will pay will be 25 percent.

Remember, you can have $10,050 of income tax-free because of your personal exemption ($3,400 this year), your standard deduction ($5,350 this year), and the $1,300 elderly deduction when you are 65 and single.

Depending on your other income, much of your Social Security benefits may not be taxed, either. You can have another $7,825 of income that will be taxed only at a 10 percent rate. So you can have income of $17,875 a year before you enter the 15 percent tax rate. Then you can have another $24,025 in income before you start paying taxes at 25 percent.

That’s why doing a Roth IRA conversion now won’t do much for you. You’ll have to pay 25 percent taxes today to avoid a 15 percent or 25 percent tax rate tomorrow.

And cheer up, your future isn’t bleak. If you work another seven years to age 66 and save a portion of your current income, you have a reasonable shot at doubling your financial assets of $340,000 to $680,000. That amount, at a 5 percent withdrawal rate, would provide you with $34,000 a year. Add about $12,000 more from Social Security and your cash retirement income may be $46,000 a year, with virtually all of it taxed at 15 percent or less.

That’s nearly 84 percent of your current earned income. Since 7.65 percent of your current income goes to the employment tax, you only need to replace 92.35 percent of your earned income in retirement, less any current saving. Basically, you’ve got a very good shot at maintaining your current standard of living in retirement.

If you were married at least 10 years and your former husband is a long-term high earner, you have a chance of bettering your Social Security benefits by drawing on his record, not yours. I suggest making an appointment and visiting the local Social Security office to get an estimate. It will be time well spent. Don’t, however, expect a bonanza from this — the difference will probably be small. Remember, there are lots of people out there who would love to have your earnings record and expected benefit.

You aren’t the only person who has balked at a $1,500 bill for creating a financial plan. A good planner, however, will spend the time it takes to have you gather all the necessary information, will massage that information for different options, and will present her findings. Done correctly, it’s a very time-consuming process.

That $1,500 represents 10 hours of work at a billing rate of $150 an hour. That’s a common rate for counselors who don’t have an M.D. — so you could think of it as 10 hours of therapy that is likely to improve the remainder of your life.

Ironically, many people are so service-fee phobic, they will happily pay a 5.75 percent commission on a $30,000 mutual fund purchase instead, even though the commission is greater.

The problem with many financial plans is that they are designed to open the door to selling you financial products rather than scoping out your options for the future.

Ask the planner what her primary source of income is. If her primary income is commissions from product sales, save your money. You can find a fee-only financial planner by visiting the Web site for their association, http://www.napfa.org, and clicking on ”Find an Adviser.”


Questions about personal finance and investments may be sent by e-mail to scott@scottburns.com or by fax to 505-424-0938. Check the Web site: http://www.scottburns.com. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns.

Wednesday
A.M. Akron Toastmasters — 8 a.m., Fairlawn Country Club, 200 N. Wheaton Road. $6. Information: 330-666-0645.
International Referral Network — Akron West Chapter — 11:45 a.m., Rosemont Country Club, 3777 Rosemont Blvd., Copley Township. Reservations: 330-237-1111.
Greater Akron Professionals — 7 a.m., Edgar’s restaurant at Good Park Golf Course, 530 Nome Ave., Akron. Information: Don Conrad, 330-688-4998.
AmSpirit Business Connections — Green Chapter — 8 a.m., Menches Bros. Restaurant, Shops of Green, 3700 Massillon Road, Green. Free. Information: Jeff Houck at 330-294-0642.
AmSpirit Business Connections — Mayfield Heights Chapter — 8 a.m., Odyssey HealthCare, 6140 Parkland Blvd., Suite 105, Mayfield Heights. Free. Information: Jeff Houck at 330-294-0642.
Thursday
Bath-Richfield Kiwanis — 6:30 p.m., Fellowship Hall, Grant Street and Broadview Road, Richfield. $8. Information: 330-819-0175.
Akron Downtown Kiwanis — Noon, Greystone Hall, Mill and High streets, Akron. Topic: Learn Public Speaking. Cost: $3 for drinks or $10 for full buffet lunch. Information: 330-518-2117.
Friday
Business Network International — Aurora Borealis Chapter — 7:30 a.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 342 S. Chillicothe Road, Aurora. Information: Keith Smith, 330-595-7900; Karen Bosley, 330-995-5333; or http://www.bni-ohio.com.
AmSpirit Business Connections — Stow Chapter — 8 a.m., Arabica Coffee House, 3707 Darrow Road, Stow. Free. Information: Jeff Houck at 330-294-0642.


Calendar items may be sent two weeks in advance to the Akron Beacon Journal, Business News Department, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640.

They fake authority to get security guards to let them into offices. Follow unquestioning employees who swipe cards to get through limited access doors. Hop fences. Pick locks.

They sit outside retail stores with laptops, plucking credit card numbers out of thin air. They log onto the Internet and hack into company networks, printing out financial data, personnel records, trade secrets.

But the ”victims” aren’t complaining. After all, they hiredSecureState to find out just how vulnerable they are.

Founded six years ago in Bedford Heights, SecureState is a security assessment firm, invited by companies to test everything from computer networks to human behavior.

”Generally, a company will hire us and say, ‘Go at our systems and see how far you get without us telling you anything about them,’ ” explained Vice President Stephen Marchewitz.

A solid 75 percent of the time, SecureState ends up handing shocked executives printouts of confidential files, he said.

Customers range from Fortune 500 companies and government facilities to banks, hospitals and retailers. Clients have included Goodyear, Diebold,FirstEnergy, KeyCorp, National City Corp. and NASA Glenn Research Center.

In six years, the company has grown to a staff of 35, several with military intelligence backgrounds like company co-founder and President Ken Stasiak.

Stasiak studied accounting and computer programming at the University of Akron, where he currently teaches information technology classes.

Dave Kennedy, a former Marine
who supervises a ”physical attack and penetration” team, said a lot of security breaches could be stopped by mindful employees.

In one case, Kennedy sat in his car outside the front door of a grocery chain with a 5-foot antenna sticking out of his sunroof and a laptop visible on his dashboard.

Employees on smoke breaks saw him repeatedly — one worker gathering grocery carts waved to him — but not a soul reported his suspicious behavior to a supervisor.

All the while, Kennedy was hacking into the store’s wireless network, collecting credit card and Social Security numbers.

In another case, he and his ”black ops” team were hired to test a plant’s physical security.

The team hopped over barbed wire fences and evaded security cameras and guards while slipping into the facility, picked locks on desk drawers to retrieve passwords tucked inside, and installed a wireless access point so they could monitor computer activity from outside the building.

And if SecureState employees get caught in the act, it’s just an opportunity for the evaluation to continue.

Kennedy says his team has talked security guards and police officers into letting them continue their sneaky maneuvers by explaining who they were and what they were doing, with no one asking for identification.

They do, however, carry written permission from a company executive — what Marchewitz calls a ”get out of jail free card.”

Most of the time, SecureState doesn’t need to be that clandestine. It’s easy enough to prey on the trusting nature of the average person, Marchewitz said.

That can mean ”piggybacking” onto an employee entering a secured door, peeking over someone’s shoulder as they punch in a code, or using some made-up story to coax an employee out of a password.

”We get through almost 90 percent of the time,” Marchewitz said.

After receiving SecureState’s written assessment, companies have a better idea of how to secure their buildings, fortify their networks and train employees.

In many cases, Kennedy said, he’s learned SecureState was called in by managers who knew there were security breaches but needed proof to convince top executives or parent companies of the need to fix them.

”There’s a shock and awe factor and it can be good firepower to hit upper management with,” he said.

Kennedy estimates that 3 percent of companies fully understand their security vulnerability and ”these types of assessments are good starting points.”


Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com.

Internet security risks
hardest to defend in 2007

• Critical vulnerabilities in Web applications enabling the Web site to be poisoned, data to be stolen and computers connected to the Web site to be compromised.

Best defenses: Firewalls, security scanners, application source code testing tools, application penetration testing services, and a formal policy that all important Web applications be designed by trusted and tested developers.

• Gullible, busy, accommodating computer users with privileged access who fall for ”phishing” e-mails. Phishing is an attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy e-mail.

Best defenses: Security awareness training is important but not sufficient. Better to send out periodic and benign spear phishing e-mails and educating or cutting off those who fall for them, and/or establish new monitoring systems that constantly search the network for evidence of deep penetration.

Biggest trend in 2007

Cybercriminals and cyberspies have shifted their focus, evading many
countermeasures that companies and government agencies have worked for years to put into place.

Facing real improvements in system and network security, the attackers now have two new prime targets that allow them to evade firewalls, antivirus software, and even intrusion prevention tools: users who are easily misled and custom-built applications.

Best practices

• Configure systems at the start with the most security allowed and use automation to keep users frominstalling/uninstalling software.

• Keep patches and antivirus software up to date.

• Use proxies on your border network and configuring all client services to pass through the proxies to get to the Internet.

• Protect sensitive data through encryption.

• Perform proper DMZ segmentation with firewalls.

• Remove the security flaws in Web applications by testing programmers’ security knowledge and testing the software for flaws.
Source: SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute, http://www.sans.org. />

Anup Gupta

A good marketing plan can help launch a new business or grow an existing one. In the process it is important to avoid five key marketing mistakes:

• Not identifying your target market

Some new business owners begin with unrealistic expectations and aspirations. They feel by filling the airwaves and print media with the company name and message that lots of business is sure to follow quickly.

However, are your potential customers being reached with this broad-brush approach? How do you know what vehicle is best for your needs? The answer comes by researching the market, talking to people and using the resources of your library and the Internet.

With this valuable information, target your message to the market for maximum impact within your budget. Trying to appeal to everyone just doesn’t work.

• Inconsistency in your marketing

Before you launch your business, work with a marketing professional to have your logo designed, develop a tag line, color scheme and a complete identity package.

It is vitally important to project a consistent image in any and all types of advertising, marketing and promotional pieces. For example, if you decide on teal as your logo color, don’t accept blue or green on your promotional pieces. This confuses potential customers and dilutes your marketing efforts. Be consistent.

• Not having a clear marketing message

Marketing messages that are contrived, too subtle or too long can easily miss the target market entirely. The most ingenious marketing plan is wasted if nobody gets it or is turned off.

To promote the strength of its luggage, the manufacturer launched a television ad campaign where the luggage was tossed out of a high-flying plane. The scene then cut to show how the units held up as they smashed into the ground. The action ad demonstrated the rugged quality of the luggage. Unfortunately, audiences did not get over the vicarious fear and shock of the fall. And that distracted from any positives in the message.

• Over-promising

Have a goal of under-promising and over-delivering. Earn your reputation as someone who keeps promises. In this highly competitive economic climate, it’s not enough to deliver what the customer expects. Strive to go the extra mile or more — deliver beyond the customer’s expectations.

It could be as simple as a follow-up call to make sure the customer received the shipment on time and as expected. Another example: send a handwritten thank-you note. And make yourself easily accessible. Support your clients’ events. Show them you care.

• Not focusing on repeat business

Eighty percent of customers in most businesses represent repeat sales. Too often, marketing campaigns are heavily focused on bringing in new customers, not building relationships with current ones. Highly satisfied existing clients and customers can be your best source of new business through referrals. Great performance does not go unrecognized.


For information on this subject or other business-related matters, contact Akron SCORE via e-mail at http://akronscore.org or by calling 330-379-3163. Services are free and confidential. SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Q: I have a question about the retirement age requirements for full Social Security. I understand people born after 1937 will have to be older than 65 to collect full benefits. I also understand the age requirement is gradually going up and will eventually be 67. I was born in 1951, and my brother was born in 1949. What are our ages for full Social Security? Will the age for the early retirement option increase the same way? — J.P., Warren

A: You and your brother’s full retirement age will be the same, 66.

Full retirement age has been gradually increasing according to the following schedule: two months will be added for each birth year from 1938 to 1942; everyone born between 1943 and 1954 will have to be 66 for full benefits; and beginning with the 1955 birth year, the age will again be increased by two-month increments each year until it hits 67 for those people born in 1960 or later.

There are no increases in the early retirement age. No matter what your year of birth, early retirement benefits are still available at 62.

For more information, go to http://socialsecurity.gov and click on the ”filing for retirement” link.

Q: I worked for General Motors in Lordstown from 1966 to 1983. Now I work under the State Teachers Retirement System and plan to retire in two years. Is the statement Social Security sends me each year an accurate estimate of what my benefit will be when I am 62? I was told I couldn’t receive pensions from both systems. — B.Z., Sebring

A: The annual benefit statement isn’t correct, because it doesn’t take into account your STRS eligibility. Public pensions affect Social Security benefits and require an extra step in computing benefit amounts.

Anyone who has worked under both systems and expects pensions from both can go online at http://socialsecurity.gov and request an estimate using our public pension calculator.

Although your public pension might lower your Social Security benefit, the years of work with General Motors guarantees you a monthly check.

Q: I am currently drawing unemployment, and I am old enough to start receiving Social Security retirement. I was thinking of filing for benefits to help supplement my income until I find another job. If I apply for Social Security, will that affect my unemployment benefits? — D.B., Akron

A: The unemployment benefit shouldn’t affect Social Security, but I don’t know if the reverse is true.

You need to contact the unemployment office to see how Social Security will affect your payments.


Send questions to Joe Paukovich, Social Security Administration, Second Floor, Federal Building, 2 S. Main St., Akron, OH 44308. Fax: 330-375-5616 or e-mail: Joseph.Paukovich@ssa.gov.

Seattle Times

With the New Year upon us, our thoughts turn to bubbles and the year that was.

To many observers, 2007 was a cork-popper on par with the last tech bubble, which had its influential and enduring byproducts — Google, foremost among them — and many more flashes that quickly faded. Kozmo.com ring a bell?

So, what of 2007 will have a lasting impact and what will drift quietly into obscurity?

The Seattle Times asked a panel of technology party guests to review a list of events, trends and products that made the scene in 2007 and rate them on a scale of ”forget about it” (1) to ”game-changer” (5).

On to the results:

Apple iPhone

It generated mondo hype and they’re still talking about it.

Score: 4.3

Comments: Believe it. For all its failings — ActiveWords proprietor Buzz Bruggeman listed the lack of search, sync with Exchange and a short battery life — the iPhone had the highest score in our survey, as much for its own success as for how it will change the
game for competitors. ”I think other Smartphone manufacturers are going to have to improve the quality of their handsets in a hurry, or offer customers steep discounts in order to stay in the game,” wrote NPD analyst Chris Swenson.

Wii

It came out late last year, but the rush was on early this year for Nintendo’s hit video game console to fill the void caused by holiday shortage.

Score: 3.9

Comments: ”Interesting because it runs counter to the direction that Sony and Microsoft were going — a great interactive controller, versus high-end graphics. But not game-changing,” wrote Ed Lazowska, a computer-science professor at the University of Washington. It would have been, Swenson wrote, if Nintendo had made enough product.

Spread of RFID chips

Though the technology isn’t new, RFID is becoming widespread in government and financial cards, including passports, driver’s licenses and credit cards.

Score: 3.8

Comments: Privacy concerns still swirl around this one. When they’ve been tackled, ”you’ll see this take off,” Swenson wrote.

Virtualization

One of the hottest public-stock offerings this year was VMWare, underscoring the impact that virtualization — software that creates virtual versions of an operating system on a single computer — is starting to have.

Score: 3.7

Comments: From Microsoft analyst Matt Rosoff: ”Not sexy, but perhaps the most important trend in IT today.” Lazowska: ”It’s been around since the 1960s (IBM has continuously shipped it on mainframes since that time).” Swenson: ”I’ve read numerous stories about IT managers getting rid of dozens of servers and running all of those apps in separate virtual environments on a single box. This is the nightmare scenario for server companies come to life.”

Clean tech

Biodiesel and other companies that focused on energy issues grabbed much of the venture dollars.

Score: 3.5

Comments: People seem to see the need for this and want it to be big, but acknowledge it’s not quite ripe. ”Clean tech will be huge, but it won’t be biodiesel as the dominant solution,” wrote Susannah Malarkey, executive director of the Technology Alliance.

Android

Turns out Google wasn’t working on a mobile phone, but a whole dang wireless development platform centered on an open-source operating system.

Score: 3.3

Comments: It’s the openness of the platform more than the platform itself that got people’s attention. ”The debate over 700 MHz (spectrum) has forced operators to declare their new found love for being open,” wrote Chetan Sharma, a wireless consultant and author.

Facebook widgets

With social networking well established, Facebook opened itself up to software developers to build small programs on its platform.

Score: 3.3

Comments: Notable for being an ”open platform,” in the vein of Android.

DRM-free music

All the haggling over rights and downloading of music have led to this. One form that emerged is pay-what-you-want.

Score: 3.3

Comments: ”The music pirates are still going at it,” Swenson wrote.

Speech recognition

Bill Gates has talked about it for years, but this might be a breakout year, with TellMe, Nuance, Google, VoiceBox and many others offering products.

Score: 3.2

Comments: ”There has been steady improvement over the last decade, and . . . will continue, as will the occasional frustrations. Give me brain implants,” Lazowska wrote.

PC to TV

The year saw a number of devices that stream content from the computer to the home TV. Among others, Apple TV, Slingbox and Xbox 360 (functioning as a Media Center extender).

Score: 3.1

Comments: File this in the ”still niche” category. Rosoff estimates the lines between the two will be blurred in another decade. ”But the game-changer won’t be any of these products, but probably some product or service delivered by cable or IPTV providers,” he wrote.

T-Mobile
HotSpot@Home

Will this service alter the cell phone company’s business model? With it, you can make mobile calls on the wireless cell phone network or on Wi-Fi, which saves money.

Score: 3.0

Comments: The company says it’s drumming up new business: 45 percent of HotSpot@Home customers are new to T-Mobile. ”As a disruptive technology, it will be better felt as the carrier gets more handsets into the lineup, making the choice of HotSpot@Home easier,” wrote William Ho, research director at Current Analysis.

Amazon.com‘s Kindle

Is this the device that makes a breakthrough in electronic books?

Score: 3.0

Comments: Our panel liked the idea but thought the hardware was too expensive and/or needs more maturing.

WiMax

Though the true form of the technology has yet to come to market, the push for wireless broadband, led by Clearwire, is launched in more markets.

Score: 2.9

Comments: While pricing plans need to be improved, this technology or something like it ”holds the promise of providing access in a geographically expansive footprint,” wrote Quinn.

Halo 3

The video game broke entertainment sales records and claimed millions of hours that kids and adults could have spent reading or playing outside.

Score: 2.9

Comments: It would have been an even bigger success if Microsoft could have kept Bungie from leaving the company.

Windows Vista

It actually came to market in November 2006 but it reached the masses early this year. Lots of criticism. Lots of glitches. Lots of sales.

Score: 2.7

Comments: Yeah, it’s kind of inevitable. Vista haters can hate, ”but eventually it (or one of its successors) will be on most of the personal computers sold,” wrote Rosoff. Swenson agreed: ”Eighty percent of the revenue for Windows comes from the OEM channel, and we’re on track to ship more than 100 million more PCs in 2007 than were shipped in 2001 during the (Windows) XP launch. With those numbers, it’s hard to have a ‘bad’ release.”

From Beacon Journal wire services

Pitt junior point guard Levance Fields will be out eight to 12 weeks after breaking a broken bone in his left foot to become the second Panthers starter knocked out of the lineup in as many games.

Fields was hurt driving to the basket in No. 6 Pittsburgh’s (11-1) first defeat of the season, an 80-55 loss in Dayton on Saturday night. He will have surgery today on the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, the school said Sunday.

”We’re extremely disappointed for Levance,” coach Jamie Dixon said. ”We expect him to make a full recovery and return sometime later in the season.”

Small forward Mike Cook was lost for the year when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Pitt’s 65-64 win over Duke at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 20.

Pitt’s next game is Wednesday at home against Lafayette.

Fields was averaging 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 12 starts for Pitt this season, his second as a starter. He had started 49 straight games at Pitt.

Fields’ injury leaves Pitt with little depth. Ronald Ramon is likely to replace Fields at point guard, but has been inconsistent this season. Ramon is nursing a sore shoulder and missed all eight shots in the Dayton loss. He is 1-for-15 in the last two games.

More college: Another injury

• Auburn forward Korvotney Barber, the national field-goal percentage leader at 72.0 percent, is expected to be sidelined at least four weeks after breaking his non-shooting left hand in the Tigers’ 79-59 victory Saturday over Towson.

Skiing: Photo finish loss for American

• Magnus Moan of Norway battled snowfall and strong wind Sunday to win a Nordic Combined World Cup event in Oberhof, Germany, edging Bill Demong of the United States by 0.1 of a second in a photo finish. Moan finished in 40 minutes, 8.8 seconds for his first win of the season, with Petter Tande of Norway taking third, 9.1 behind. Demong started the 15-kilometer race 4 seconds behind Moan before a strong push at the end. ”We both stuck our foot out and it’s probably within an inch, maybe two, that Magnus got it,” Demong said. Demong was 15th in the ski jump in foggy conditions. ”On my second jump, I had no idea where I was in the fog,” he said. ”But the track was hard and in great shape, so we had an excellent race.”

• Thomas Morgenstern, 21, had the best leap of the day in the second round Sunday to win the first stop of the prestigious Four Hills ski jumping tournament in Oberstdorf, Germany. The Austrian who has won seven of eight World Cup events this season, was boosted by optimal wind conditions on his second jump of almost 154 yards.

• Nikolay Morilov of Russia and Arianna Follis of Italy won the sprint races in the Tour de Ski cross country races Sunday in Prague, Czech Republic. Morilov finished the 1-kilometer freestyle race, which took place in front of the Prague Castle, in 1 minute, 35.8 seconds, edging Simen Ostensen of Norway by 0.3 seconds. Ostensen still took the the overall lead in the tour by 12.1 seconds.

Tennis: Serena Williams to play

Serena Williams recovered from the flu and will compete today in the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament in Perth, Australia, a tuneup before defending her Australian Open title. Williams had a hitting session Sunday and is expected to play for the United States against the Czech Republic after missing the opening matches against India. ”I just had the stomach flu. I was really sick and that’s not very fun to have. But I’m good . . . I recovered really fast,” Williams said. Meghann Shaughnessy substituted for Williams and won her match over Sania Mirza of India before Mardy Fish secured the 2-1 win. The Australian Open starts Jan. 14.

• Jelena Jankovic and Novak Djokovic won their singles matches Sunday as top-seeded Serbia beat Taiwan 3-0 at the Hopman Cup.

• Shahar Peer of Israel rallied to defeat American Julie Ditty 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 Sunday in a first-round match at the Australian women’s hardcourt championships.

Other: Canseco to name more names

• One-time big league slugger Jose Canseco will name more names in a sequel to his 2005 steroid memoir Juiced, according to published reports Sunday. The new book, with the working title Vindicated, will arrive in bookstores on opening day 2008, Canseco’s lawyer, Robert Saunooke, said. Saunooke said the book would accuse ballplayers not named in former Sen. George Mitchell’s report of using performance-enhancing drugs.

Kyle Nagel
Cox News Service

DAYTON: When Ohio State prepared to play Florida in the BCS championship game last winter, the Buckeyes were forced to prime themselves for two quarterbacks.

A year later, there’s still a dual threat.

In building an 11-2 record and a title game appearance, LSU relied on both veteran Matt Flynn and sophomore Ryan Perrilloux to guide it from the quarterback position.

They helped the Tigers rank first in school history in attempts (415), fourth in completions (234) and fifth in passing yards (2,980).

They also became the program’s top scoring offense, at 38.7 points per game.

Flynn, a 6-foot-3, 227-pounder from Tyler, Texas, is the starter.

His first career completion was a 67-yard touchdown, but he played behind No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick JaMarcus Russell for the past two seasons.

In 2005, as a sophomore, Flynn was the offensive Most Valuable Player of the Peach Bowl while subbing for an injured Russell, but he failed to find regular playing time until this season.

”He’s been a second-team guy his entire career and he got a chance to play,” said Richard Dickson, the LSU sophomore tight end. ”It’s his turn, and he’s making it happen. I’m proud of what he did, and I hope we can get a win for him.”

With his starting opportunity, Flynn has completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 2,233 yards and 17 touchdowns.

He also has faced injury several times this season, at which times Perrilloux has shown his value.

A 6-3, 227-pound sophomore from LaPlace, La., Perrilloux was a coveted high school recruit who redshirted in 2005 and was behind both Russell and Flynn last season. He has played in 11 games this year — sometimes switching with Flynn on the same series — and has completed 68 percent of his passes for 694 yards.

He subbed for an injured Flynn to lead the Tigers to a victory against Tennessee in the SEC championship game.

”Perrilloux throws a harder ball. He throws a bullet,” said Demetrius Byrd, the LSU junior wide receiver. ”Both can run and throw and make good reads, so other than that, there’s not really a difference.”

Florida exploited the two-quarterback system last season, as Chris Leak tossed for 213 yards and Tim Tebow threw for a touchdown and ran for another against the Buckeyes.

The two LSU quarterbacks also have a difference in style — one known more as a thrower, one as a power runner — so the game film of last season’s title game loss can be useful.

”We’ve seen two quarterbacks,” OSU cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said. ”We just have to try to stop them both.”