DAVID DIX: Local marathoner joins "Boston Strong"

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The goal of supporting "Boston Strong," a nationwide effort to rally runners for last Monday's Boston Marathon a year after the horrible bombings was realized last Monday by Jeff Meyers, an architect with David Sommers and Associates in Kent, who resides with his wife, Lauren, in Sagamore Hills.

Meyers ran his first ever Boston Marathon Monday and completed the 26.2 mile course from Hopkinton, Massachusetts to downtown Boston and finished among the top 5 percent of all runners with his time of two hours, 55 minutes and 38 seconds.

Last year's terrorist attack, the bombings that killed three and injured 264, was the major motivator for him. Jeff said up until then he was training for half marathons and had no intention of running in Boston. Moved by the bombings, he wrote the names of seven Boston victims in grease pencil on his bedroom window. Those names called to him as he rose every morning to train for his mission to run. He stepped up his training, sometimes running twice a day.

He then entered his first ever marathon, the one at Presque Isle last September, and did so well he qualified for Boston.

Jeff, accompanied by Lauren, traveled to Boston with a group of approximately 20 from the Kent-Akron area. All stayed at the Algonquin Hotel, which is near the finish line. Jeff's trainer, Paul Organ, owner of Marathon Financial Services in Kent, and a strong runner, who has coached high school cross country runners, served as his coach. He traveled to Boston, too. Another runner, KSU Professor Chris Was, who ran in Boston last year and then ran again this year, was also part of the group.

Kent jail site change?

Some of what I heard at Wednesday's monthly Kent City Manager-Kent Area Chamber breakfast at Mike's Place.

1. The new city jail is more likely to be located north of the present city hall on South DePeyster Street than it is on the block between Day and Summit Streets. The opportunity to sell city property facing Summit Street and the prices to acquire the block between Day and Summit are part of that equation, City Manger Dave Ruller said.

2. Regardless of the outcome of the Portage Park District levy, those who use "The Portage," the hike and bike trail that connects Ravenna and Kent, will be happy to know that discussions are in the works to improve the link with The Freedom Trail, the hike and bike trail that goes through Tallmadge and connects with "The Portage."

Currently, the connection involves walking or bicycling up over the hill on Middlebury Road, a somewhat perilous prospect given the vehicular traffic on that route. I checked with John Idone, executive director of Kent Parks & Recreation, who told me that the cities of Kent, Tallmadge, Stow and the Summit Metroparks are hoping to acquire easements that will permit a better way to link the two trails.

3. This is the third year that Kent City Council has approved spending an additional $250,000 to the city's near $1 million per year street maintenance and repair program, funding for which comes from a combination of locally generated and outside sources. The $750,000 additional over a three year period has resulted in an improved rating of the city's streets by an outside the agency. "But it's been a tough winter and the perception is that city streets need more attention," Ruller acknowledged.

Amazon for Miller book

"America's Covered Bridges," the book I mentioned in last Sunday's column, will be available at the Kent State University bookstore in a couple of weeks, but until then Amazon.com is the best bet, Terry E. Miller, the book's primary author told me this past week.

The book describes and explains the covered bridges of the United States and Canada. Co-authored by Ronald Knapp, it features beautiful photographs by A. Chester Ong who, with Knapp, has published four award-winning books about the covered bridges of China, most of which are much older than those of North America.

Tuttle, a major publishing house, is handling sales of the book, Miller said.

Ormiston YSU candidate

Gayle Ormiston, a former Kent State administrator who serves as senior vice president and provost for academic affairs at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., was listed last week as a candidate for the presidency of Youngstown State University.

Youngstown is looking over a list of 37 applicants whose names have been made public similar to those applying for the presidency of the University of Akron.

Cardinal directs Emmy winner

Vince Cardinal, who, among other duties, serves as artistic director of the prestigious Connecticut Reperatory Theater, has Tony and Emmy winner Leslie Uggams starring as Rose in his upcoming production of "Gypsy," the Jerry Adler and Richard Kline musical whose songs by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim became so popular in the 1960s.

Vince's parents are the late Kenneth Cardinal, the former Kent School superintendent, and Joanne, who survives. Vince is having a fabulous career in theater and heads up the Department of Theater at the University of Connecticut, which is considered one of the top programs in the country. He has run the theater department programs at Ohio University and the University of Miami in Oxford.

In his student days, he studied theater at Ohio University and in Roosevelt was a protege of the late James Thornton, who in the 1970s ran a community theater in Kent and Ravenna and eventually taught in the Shaker Heights schools.

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