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Vindy introduces the king of the deal & the kid who's ideal

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published June 20, 2008

There are two items on vindy.com that you must check out if you haven't already.

Item One: We are currently running a series in The Vindicator and on vindy.com called "How to Beat the High Cost of Living." And amid all the great stories being generated from staffers Denise Dick and Ed Runyan is a blog from Managing Editor Mark Sweetwood that is a must read for all deal hunters. If Bud's the King of Beers, Sweetwood professes to be the king of deal hunters.

Quick backstory: Three of us -- me, Sweetwood and Mahoning County Juvenile Court Administrator Anthony D'Apolito were meeting one day about coverage. We sidebarred for some reason, and Sweetwood made a flip comment about my cheapness. (I prefer to call it "efficiency.")

D'Apolito put his hands out as if to say "hold on a moment." He pulled a wallet from his pocket, wagged it in front of us, and announced himself as the cheapest guy he knows. (He said this with pride, mind you.)

The wallet came from his boss one day as a gift. The two had gone out to lunch the day before the gift. D'Apolito treated his boss because of a birthday or some other reason. And from his pocket he pulled out a hunk of leather and paper that he proffered as a wallet. The boss felt bad for the thing, apparently. D'Apolito did not.

But the next day, he was gifted with the new wallet (I called D'Apolito this week to get permission to use this tale. He was thrilled to share his title, and even asked to note that his dress shoes are older than his late wallet).

While the three of us eventually got back to our work talks, the fight for "The cheapest guy" was kind of launched. So, too, was this week's series, in a way.

Sweetwood prefers to call himself not cheap, but a deal hunter, who will barter, hunt and cajole his way to a price no one else will get.

I have to agree with him. He's pretty damn good at it. He's the guy who always has the tale about how he got "X" item for a price that is half of what others paid. He's the guy who went to Vegas and got a room for pennies, show tickets for nickels, dinners for dimes.

So in doing the living cheap series, Sweetwood has been penning a blog about how he goes about getting deals – and sharing deals with others. Check out the reads. They're fun.

The series continue through Monday. Denise has a great story on garage sales for Sunday.

Item Two: The Vindicator presented a "Great in '08" top high school athletes feature. We printed it last week in The Vindicator, and it's now on vindy.com.

There are great items throughout, including your opportunity to vote for your best high school athlete last season in all sports categories.

But what I enjoyed was having the six kids we selected as out best talk about their upbringing, the dedication and the future. All of them were great -- Audra Frimpong (Canfield), Amy Scullion (Salem), Deja Amato (Howland), Sheldon Brogdan (Warren), Dan McCarthy (Mooney) and Tony Jameson (Fitch).

But if you can only watch one video, watch Tony Jameson of Fitch.

My sons play sports. I want them to get a lot out of sports, but I'm also not prepping for the NHL or NFL drafts. What I want them to get out of sports are the life lessons I got. And the life lesson Tony got.

On his video interview, Tony simply stops you with his observations, his hopes, his regrets.

He was asked about the pressure of being a leader this year for his high school team as well as for his brothers (six of them, I think.) He said – with the coolness of a military or corporate leader – It's not pressure if you're leader. It's who you are. You don't wake up one day and say you want to be a leader. It's just the way you live.

He also outlined how he worked his younger teammates through the challenge of measuring up to him – three state wrestling titles at the start of the season, and one more coming at the end of of the season to make it four straight. What he told them: Measure up to your own standards. Don't measure up to mine. I'll take care of me. You set a bar for yourself and measure up to that.

Tony is the kind of guy I'd want next to me in a battle – or the workplace.


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