Cornice enhances Hometown Bank building

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The handsome new cornice atop Hometown Savings Bank's downtown Kent building that faces North Water Street restores the building to its original 1889 look, the bank's president, Howard Boyle, a stickler for historical authenticity, says.

Designed by Architect David Summers, the cornice uses Fypon, a polyurethane material that looks like, but in terms of weight and durability, is superior to the wooden cornices of the 19th century. The cornice has a two-tone coloration of dark green and gray green. Besides being decorative, the cornice channels rain water to down spouting and helps keep the front of the building dry. This protects customers entering and exiting the building and extends the life of windows and window frames.

In the late 1930s, the Hometown Savings Bank building suffered a fire and the cornice was left off the building.

"I guess they thought that updated the building for those times," Howard said.

Besides the cornice atop the building, Hometown's signage has been changed and uses a golf leaf-like coloration for the lettering against a dark green. The colors were chosen after considerable research for the signage on Hometown's handsome offices in Ravenna's Riddle Block No. 1.

"We'd already done the research for Ravenna so we just decided to be consistent since the two buildings were constructed at about the same time," Howard said.

The cornice looks so appropriate that customers remark, "I know you did something to the building, but what?" Howard said.

Gallantry at NEOMED

Lee Hall at last Monday evening's annual meeting of The Garden Club of Kent said she was lugging a couple of arms full of materials into the convention and meeting center of NEOMED in Rootstown where the event was to be held.

As Lee struggled with her load, a handsome gentleman in a dark suit, heading out to the parking lot, reversed course, came back, and held the door for her.

"To whom do I have the pleasure of meeting and thanking," Lee asked.

"Gershen," he replied.

"And what do you do here?" she asked.

"I'm the president," Dr. Jay Gershen, head of NEOMED, responded.

"Oh my," Lee exclaimed, impressed with the gallantry.

When I encountered Gershen later in the week in the Pufferbelly, he expressed surprise the story was circulating.

"Presidents can open and hold doors for others, too," he said, smiling.

Ametek helps United Way

Matt French, vice president of Ametek, has done such a good job as honorary chairman of the Portage County United Way and he is on board to continue in that capacity for the coming year.

Friday, he hosted a luncheon of business leaders at the Bertram Inn and Conference Center in Aurora and asked those present to help raise awareness of the United Way and the needs of the people it serves. He said members of his family, having seen those needs, are volunteering at the Center of Hope in Ravenna.

Matt also announced that Paul Haynes, Kent State University's new head football coach, will be the speaker April 26 at the United Way's annual celebration dinner. Matt said Ametek will again sponsor the fireworks display August 29 at the Flashes home opener with the Liberty Flames. A portion of the ticket sale proceeds go to the United Way.

Ametek under Matt's leadership is showing a lot of good corporate citizen leadership. He is following the good example of one of his predecessors, Roger Derr, who's retired, but when at Ametek kept the company engaged in a positive way with the community.

Still a Rough Rider fan

Harold Snowberger sent Editor Roger Di Paolo a note announcing he is now a Stow Bull Dog since he and his wife of 70 years, Irene, bought a condo in the Villas in Stow. At 91, Harold said it was time to consolidate and cut back a little.

Does that mean he will no longer be seen at Roosevelt Rough Rider games?

"Are you kidding?" Harold said. "Wild horses couldn't keep me away."

The Roosevelt alumnus, Class of 1939, started at Gougler Machine and for a time trained women as machinists with America's entry into World War II. Drafted into the U.S. Army as a private, he served in combat in Europe. By the war's end, he had been promoted to chief warrant officer. He returned Gougler and started in with janitorial duties, but spent the next 44 years there and retired as superintendent of the Mold Division.

Furukawa Rock Drill USA, the Japanese company that several years ago bought Gougler, last year decided to demolish the old buildings of the company on Lake Street including the tall smokestack, an area landmark. A picnic ceremony was set up for retirees for the occasion. Jeff Crane, president and CEO of Furukawa's Kent operation, invited Harold to do the honor of pressing the button that set off the dynamite that brought the smokestack down.

The demolition occurred April 25 last year; sunny skies and warm temperatures prevailed.

"We planned on 100 retirees showing up, but the excitement and opportunity to get together drew 300," Harold said. Furakawa sent out for more food and a good time was had by all.

An expert photographer

The Friday evening showing at Hudson Fine Art and Framing of the photographic works of Lester Lefton drew a good crowd, curious to see the KSU president's formidable artistic skills and mingle with him in a festive setting. His subjects were people, street scenes and interiors of interesting buildings. Lefton is an expert at the intricacies of digital photography and coloration and like other artists, he has a strong visual sense of objects and their relationship. That talent may explain some of his interest in the rebuilding of Kent's downtown and KSU's main campus.

A similar showing will be held in April at McKay Bricker Gallery in Kent. The Hudson showing was of Lefton's international portfolio. The Kent event will feature subjects from within the United States.

Proceeds of photos purchased support student scholarships.

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