Ed Acker sat in the dugout of the French Creek Valley American Legion home field in Saegertown twirling a baseball around with his fngers. His hands show his age and his work, bent and gnarled slightly, but fit to the ball perfectly. "This is what I lived for!'" he said as we  took a break from the heat while making a couple portraits for a story. A story he never, ever would care if it was written or not. A picture he reluctatly posed for would also fall into that category. "I didn't do anything for the recognition, I did it for the kids, and they were good kids. I love this game.' Ed Acker is sort of a local legend. He taught hundreds of young people the game of baseball and subsequently about life. He said that no one was allowed to swear. That was one of his rules. He thought baseball was a game meant to be played for fun and with the developed skills to win. Listening to his stories you know he had fun. Listening to people remembering his coaching you know he taught the skills to succeed.  Including a time he didn't even stop throwing batting practice even though blood was flowing from his face where a baseball had came back and caught him. Oh and that dug out we were in and that field we took pictures on was named Ed Acker Field. He lives the sort of life worth recognition, whether he wants it or not.

Here are a couple of neat things shared by a couple people who love him.

"Back when he was coaching legion over 30 years ago and at the very last game he announced to the guys on his team that he was retiring. As he walked out of the dugout he took and threw away his spikes( they had seen their last days). So about a month later they had a banquet. My dad got up to speak and the boys asked if they could interrupt for a moment. The whole team stood up and gave him a gift, inside the box were the spikes that he tried to throw away. The team got them out of the garbage and gave him the spikes back and they asked him to reconsider, and the rest is history." - Mary Crum - Daughter

Honestly, I don't have a favorite story of my papa. Every moment with him is special. Listening to stories of him growing up and coaching/playing baseball is always entertaining for me. He could tell me the same stories over and over and it would never get old. My papa is my inspiration and when I get older I wanna be as good as a person he is. -Hannah Crum, grand-daughter

Here is Pete Chiodo's story about Acker.

Maribeth McCarthy

"When I was in college, I was actually asked why I was in theater, because I was too fat for it." Maribeth McCarthy has told this story before, usually from a stage during rehearsal or back stage getting ready for a show. "That was when I was 50 pounds less than what I am now." McCarthy was the lead in a recent production of hairspray at the Academy Theatre and is currently playing half the lead role with her sister as Siamese twins in the Meadville Community Theatre production of Side Show. The Philly born actress/waitress says she is very happy with her life. 'Everyday I get to do the thing I love most, even waitressing is theatrical in a way. She feels the dinner theatre at the Riverside Inn is her second home and her favorite place to perform. "They are beautiful, accepting and talented as all get out people. I can be nothing but grateful to all the theatrical gods for being so kind and awesome." And by the way, when you see her, she is likely to call you darlin'.
Gerry Kosanovic
Corvallis, Oregon, born in Meadville
'Hey can I call you back, the Meadville Tribune is here, I think I'm going to be in the paper.' Gerry Kosanovic was sitting and talking on his phone at the Whispering Pines driving range Friday afternoon getting ready to hit a bucket of balls. He is home helping his mom who lives in Meadville...has her whole life. Gerry moved to Oregon many years ago and since his two brothers Joe and Jim have also moved out there. 'I need to keep in practice so I can play well when I get back.' He and his brothers play golf together and Gerry says they are very competitive. This won't be the first time Gerry has appeared in the Meadville Tribune. In 1948 he made news by being born. He, Jim and Joe were all born on the same day and are identical triplets. They were born at Spencer Hospital, which is currently the Grove St. hospital of the Meadville Medical Center. 'Front Page,' he said. 'It made my mother famous, it made me famous.'
Isaiah and Ray King
Westford, fishing at Pymatuning State Park in Jamestown

“Its why I love Jesus, I’m praying right now!’ Ray King said as his son Isaiah reached his fishing pole behind him to cast sending the minnow baited hook wizzing by his ear out into the stream. ‘I wear the hat in case anyone wants to talk to me about Jesus.’ The father and son were out fishing on an unseasonably warm spring Thursday afternoon below the dam at Pymatuning State Park in Jamestown. ‘Its nice to get out of the house and spend time together,’ Ray said. ‘Its the best part about home schooling, we’re studying nature right now,’ he said with a smile. ‘It’s not the best time right now,’ Isaiah chimed in referring to the time of day to catch fish. ‘We’re catching a lot of wood bass,’ Isaiah said after snagging a branch. A moment later Ray hollered out ‘Oh Isaiah I just had a big Perch, but I lost him, I thought it was just a snag, I wasn’t paying attention, I guess I’m not used to having a fish on the line.’ The two shared many laughs making fun of not catching much that day.
Heidi Stroh
Allegheny College Sophomore

‘I like that it has one eye cocked up, as if the face was wondering why you are looking at it - or a person discontented by their own reflection. Its nice to see a face in the mirror that is not your own, everyone worries about their own image and over analyzes it.’ said Heidi Stroh as she looked at a piece of art work hanging over a bathroom sink at Allegheny College.
‘Its placement makes it much more interesting than if it hung in a place you would expect it to be.’ Stroh likes photography and looking at art wrk. She says that looking at others art work is a gift the artist gives to us. “As i make art i understand that the piece is definitely a part of oneself and revealing it and calling it finished is like stepping out onto a limb.’
Robert Beck, Poplar Street, Meadville

“Probably not too many people making maple syrup in the city,” Robert Beck says as he works in his back yard.
Three years ago he tapped the two maple trees in his yard behind T.J.’s Pizza on Poplar Street. “I got about 5 pints of syrup,” he said. From that 5 pints, which he boiled on a turkey fryer right in between the two trees, he took fourth place at the Crawford County Fair in the novice division.
This year he is gearing up to enter again and is adding more maple items in hopes of winning more ribbons. He made maple sugar, which his wife, Cyndi, plans to use to make maple leaf-shaped sugar cookies to enter in the baked goods department of the fair. Robert also expanded his operation this year, including tapping some friends’ trees and bringing the sap back to his home to cook. He has also built a cinderblock outdoor burner and had a large tray built so he can cook even more sap. He has already produced about 5 gallons this year.
“They’ve been by a couple times” Robert says about the fire department, which enforces regulations prohibiting burning in the city. “As long as its a closed fire and water is handy, I’m OK,” Robert says. He isn’t sure whether he’ll try to enter the fair in the pro category or not this year, but he said he joked with fellow syrup maker Laura Dengler that he wants to get his location on the region’s annual maple tour some day.
Meanwhile he sees this as good family time with his kids and time outdoors. “It’s fun,” he says.

This idea is nearly a year old, but has come to fruition...until now. Monday we'll launch in The Meadville Tribune ' Folk,' an idea that sprung from casual conversations out on assignment and will become small portraits gleaned from small conversations. To read more about the project click on About Folk above  or here.

Below are the mock ups for the idea that I've been developing this past year.