Fostoria groups improve quality of life here

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The Review Times is publishing its annual Community Update in Friday’s newspaper. The 16-page special section includes stories and photos of the progress the city, schools, industries and businesses have made in the past year. The story below is a sampling of what readers can expect in Friday’s Community Update 2017.

Fostoria is home to many clubs, groups and organizations whose members are committed to improving the quality of life for all those who live, work and play here. Following are some of those groups and what they do for Fostoria.
Many community members are sprucing up the city one garden at a time.
The Fostoria Garden Club Ltd. completes yearly beautification projects, concentrating on rejuvenating areas that were developed 20-25 years ago but were neglected in recent years.
In 2016, the group transformed the landscape around the Fostoria Municipal Building. Old plant material was removed and replaced with new shrubs and perennials. A memorial bench for longtime Garden Club member Carol Hall was also donated to the city and is at the front entrance to the building.
The club also planted rosebush and annuals in the infant section of Fountain Cemetery and planted and maintained many of the landscaped areas downtown and at other various locations throughout the city through the “Adopt-a-Bed” program.
Projects are funded by monies earned from the annual Fostoria Farmer’s Market, which consists of eight themed markets that begin in spring and continue through the summer at the corner of Tiffin and Main streets. Market themes are developed and promoted, vendors are accepted and space layouts are arranged.
In June of 2016, Fostoria Garden Club was presented with a plaque and a $200 check for the Outstanding Permanent Beautification Award at the Ohio Association of Garden Club’s state convention for its project at East Center and North Town streets. In addition, member Phyllis Hahn won the coveted John Moore award for creative excellence at the Wood County Fair.
Fostoria Garden Club members also give back to the community by sharing their knowledge of plants and gardening with each other and providing programs to other groups. Hahn has given programs on “house flowers” and “healthy eating with herbs” to senior citizens at the Geary Family YMCA and a presentation on “Houseplants & Design” to the Fostoria Woman’s Club.
Members Lois Trumpler and Georgie Widmer helped students plant seeds at Riley and Longfellow elementary schools. Club members also planted flowers and vegetables for DayBreak of Fostoria’s initiative to stimulate Alzheimers patients and helped residents and family members plant flowers as part of St. Catherine’s therapy program. The club has also donated numerous planters to various community groups.
Each year, members decorate the Kaubisch Memorial Public Library for the holidays, usually with hand-made ornaments and trimmings. This includes the main Christmas tree, the tree on the children’s level and the front window area. The club is also responsible for helping decorate rooms at the Wood County Museum.
This year members also decorated an empty storefront window in downtown Fostoria as part of the Christmas in Fosterville.
Other community service projects include making Christmas cards for more than 300 residents at Fostoria’s three nursing homes and donating to the Fostoria Sharing Kitchen.
Plans for 2017 include renovating the landscape areas in Gray Park and adding mulch to the downtown areas. The club will also sponsor its bi-annual Garden Tour and Flower Show July 9.
The Fostoria Ladies Garden Club was established in 1971 in affiliation with the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs. In 2011, the group became the Fostoria Garden Club Ltd. and invited men to join the club. Thus far one gentleman, Matt Cunningham, has joined.
Officers for the 2016-17 year are Carol Kinn, president; Georgie Widmer, vice president; Deb Erndt, secretary; and Lois Trumpler, treasurer. Hahn and Jo Zbiegien are the club’s advisors. Local members serve in regional capacities as well. Zbiegien is the Region 1 treasurer, Ellen Stoudinger will soon be installed as the Region 1 director and Hahn serves as secretary for the Wood County Garden Clubs.
There are a total of 36 active and two honorary members. Members attend fall and spring regional meetings, fall Wood County Fair meetings and the annual Ohio Association of Garden Club’s statewide convention.
Club meetings take place at noon on the second Wednesday of the month. Although the club has no permanent home, meetings are normally hosted at the Kaubisch Memorial Public Library. The group has also met at various restaurants and the Fostoria Woman’s Club.
For more information, contact Carol Kinn at 419-435-1718 or
The Friends of the Kaubisch Memorial Public Library first organized in March of 2008; however, it “never really got off the ground,” according to current President Lynn Searles. The Friends reorganized in July of 2011 with a “core membership of enthusiastic ladies” who focus on fundraising and service to the library.
“The staff at the library is very appreciative of our efforts,” Searles said. “We consult with them to determine how to best help.”
Through membership dues, fundraising efforts and donations, the Friends were able to purchase the following items for the library: three computer towers and touch screen computer at $2,412.35; an Ipod Nano at $150; “Big Book” book bins at $990; 10 internet hot spots at $2,000; summer reading incentives at $500; book bags for children at $392.50; and crayons for the book bags at $90.65.
In addition, the group was able to host the following programs at the library: reptile program at $235; cooking show at $400; bigfoot program at $183; haunted places program at $250; motel for speaker at $101.91; and a star wars party at $300.
The group also organized two other programs, which officials said were well received: a bee presentation and a dog program.
Additionally, members volunteer and help at the two book sales the library offers — one in the fall and one in the winter; and they offer a membership drive and host a staff appreciation lunch for library employees during National Library Week in April.
As of 2016, the Friends membership consisted of seven businesses and 117 individuals.
Officers include President Searles, Vice President Paula Greene, Treasurer Julie Beeson, Secretary Susie Kinn and Historian Sheryl Burtch.
“We are always looking for new members who enjoy getting together once a month to share ideas of how we can help our library provide the best service to our community,” Searles said. “It’s not required that you be an avid reader. Just someone who cares about our library.”
Membership dues range from $5 for seniors to $100 for lifetime members. Membership forms are available at the library, 205 Perry St., or by attending a monthly meeting.
The group meets at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of each month in the Fruth Room at the library. Meetings typically last approximately an hour.
In addition, an annual meeting takes place in February, at which time officers are elected for the coming year and committees are formed.
The Fostoria Kiwanis Club seeks to help area children blossom.
The global organization of volunteers dedicates its efforts to “changing the world one child and one community at a time,” according to its mission statement.
Through fundraisers and dues, the group offers various child and community support through programs and events as well as supports other organizations in line with its mission. The biggest fundraiser the Kiwanis Club hosts is the annual Pancake Day in March. Members have expanded the event to better cater to all community members by offering carryout, delivery and curbside options as well as dine-in. In addition to all-you-can-eat pancakes, the event offers an assortment of raffle prizes.
Another fundraiser the group hosts is Peanut Days. On these days, scheduled every October, members sell boxes or individual bags of salted peanuts.
With these monies, the club financially supports Fostoria City Schools HOBY students; Summer Recreation Program: Fostoria Community Enriching Our Youth; Kaubisch Memorial Public Library’s Summer Reading Program; the Fostoria Learning Center; United Way of Fostoria; the Fostoria Sharing Kitchen; Pantry Plus of Seneca County; Fostoria Area Habitat for Humanity; Camp Fire Northwest Ohio’s Safety Town; Grade A 4H banquet; the Geary Family YMCA; and local preschool programs during the Week of the Young Child.
In addition to financial support, the Kiwanis Club also uses funds for community outreach programs and projects. Every year, the organization hosts a luncheon for incoming Fostoria City and St. Wendelin Catholic schools; organizes a prayer breakfast on the National Day of Prayer; partners with the Salvation Army for holiday bell ringing; and works with the Pantry Plus to help low-income families purchase school shoes for their children.
Kiwanis members also participate in highway cleanup four times a year; install American flags five times a year on national holidays; and deliver Meals on Wheels two to three times per month.
In 2016, the group took on two additional projects. Members partnered with Paint the Town Foundation in sprucing up City Park, Gray Park and Jackson Park and hosted a book collection in connection with the annual A Christmas for Every Child toy store to help get books into the hands of area youth.
Fostoria Kiwanis Club was chartered on June 1, 1928 and has 25 members, including one — Dr. John Slosser — who was honored in 2016 for 50 years of membership.
Members meet at noon on Tuesdays, aside from the fifth Tuesday, in the lower level of Good Shepherd Home.
For more information about the Fostoria Kiwanis Club, contact President Amie Hathaway at 419-619-5002 or visit the club’s Facebook page.
Fostoria Rotary Club
Fostoria Rotary Club is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace worldwide, but more importantly locally.
The Fostoria Rotary Club has been a part of the community since its establishment in 1920. Current officers include president Andrew Sprang, superintendent Fostoria City Schools; vice president Renee Smith, executive director Fostoria Economic Development Corporation; secretary Arlen Lowery, retired[; along with immediate past president Kathy Stearns. Currently the club has 42 members.
Celebrating 97 years of community service this year, Rotary is involved in many local efforts including student scholarships awarded to graduates of Fostoria and St. Wendelin, the Golden Apple Awards which honors local educators, the Risdon Square landscape project at the corners of Summit and Countyline Streets, the Rotary Recycling project located at the St. Wendelin Parish parking lot, the Rotary Christmas Parade which brings many groups and organizations together in celebration, many sponsorships and donations which includes thousands of dollars yearly to local organizations.
Fostoria Rotary is also involved in a literacy program where the local club supplies a book weekly to our local schools, the Rotary Foundation, which includes 28 members of the local club who are Paul Harris Fellows from significant donations, MESA (Medical Equipment Sent Abroad) which the Fostoria Rotary Club participates in, Rotary Students of the Month in which two students from Fostoria and St. Wendelin are chosen and the S.T.R.I.V.E. ( Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education) program which is a fun interactive program focusing on students at both Fostoria and St. Wendelin.
The club meets at noon on Monday in the lower level of the Good Shepherd Home.
For more information about the Fostoria Rotary Club, contact John Irwin at 419-435-0463 or Arlen Lowery at 419-435-1211 or visit us on Facebook @ Fostoria Rotary Club.
For more than 120 years, the Fostoria Woman’s Club has been part of the Fostoria community.
“Hundreds, even thousands, of women have enjoyed the activities,” President Sharon Stannard said. “But their lives are also enriched by the opportunity of developing friendships that span across the years. This is a club that will continue to function as there will always be women interested in being part of an organization in which they can learn and serve.”
Today, the club has 40 active members with a mission to create and maintain a non-profit organized center for “social and intellectual activities of Fostoria and area women,” Stannard said.
Members have activities such as a fine arts department, which brings varied monthly programs and is responsible for the planning and execution of the club’s annual Spring Tea; a travelogue department, which invites guest travelers to share their travel experiences at dinner meetings; a lunch bunch, which takes monthly trips to area restaurants and shopping sprees; scheduled card flights for bridge, euchre and pinochle teams; and a monthly book club and monthly card luncheon.
“Our members are expected to be involved in club activities and fundraising efforts,” Stannard said. “Many of our members also volunteer in the community at the hospital, in the schools, at blood mobiles, at churches and other community events.”
In addition, the club annually offers home-made apple dumplings; Peddler’s Alley, which features home-made bake sale items, a luncheon, a spaghetti dinner and a craft show; and chocolate and nuts sale, of which a portion of funds is donated to A Christmas for Every Child.
Other donations include a scholarship, which is presented to a graduating senior from St. Wendelin and Fostoria City schools.
To better understand the present, Stannard said “one needs to know the past. It is only then that one can appreciate what we have today.”
The history of the Fostoria Woman’s Club begins in 1897 when Fostoria women began an organization called the 1897 Literacy Circle, The Shakespeare Reading Club, according to Stannard. Their activities centered around studies and readings from a variety of topics and authors. They evolved into the Federation of Woman’s Club, which joined them to a state organization.
Meetings took place in member’s homes, local banks, the YMCA, etc. During this time, several departments formed: social, music, drama, flower and garden, home economics, mothers, fine arts, travelogue and spiritual life. They then moved out of the state affiliated organization and became the Fostoria Woman’s Club.
Written records show that in the very beginning several hundred women participated, which, according to Stannard, is most likely due to the fact women rarely worked outside the home back then.
“Even though lots of bridge was played, their focus was on improving their community,” she said, explaining they built a public restroom, contributed to the school’s nurse and health program, Christmas Seals, planted victory gardens, hosted flower shows and put on plays and musicals for the community.
In March of 1926, Lucy Emerine deeded her home, 135 E. Fremont St., to the Woman’s Club. The home was renovated and an auditorium, called The Little Theater, was added on. Members furnished the home and hosted their very first meeting for the 1926-27 year. For 60 years the ladies’ cars lined the street; however, in 1986, donations were received to purchase the property at 127 E. Fremont St. and an off-street parking lot was built for all club events.
Aside from providing a venue for Woman’s Club meetings and events, the facility is also available for rent. Baby showers, wedding showers, family reunions, church services, funeral dinners, etc., have been hosted at the club house. Other clubs and city events have used the facility as well.
Those interested in renting the club house can call Sandra Bennett at 419-435-8731. The club can also prepare lunch or dinner for other group meetings.
Current officers include Stannard, president; Patti Gregg, 1st vice president; Barb Deuble, 2nd vice president; Marj Maurer, treasurer; Lynn Helms and Georgie Widmer, co-secretaries; and Beverly Ziegler, corresponding secretary.
Inquiries about becoming a member can be made to any club member or by calling the club house at 419-435-2196 and leaving a message. Someone will return the call.
Fostoria Rail Preservation Society became a 501(c)(3) in 2005 with a mission to preserve, promote and educate Fostoria’s importance in nation and world railroad history.
The society hosts the annual Fostoria Rail Festival, Santa at the Depot, Wine & Cheese Tasting and the Railroad Employees Reunion.
“We continually promote Fostoria’s tourism as railfans are visiting the Fostoria Rail Park,” Secretary/Treasurer Ellen Gatrell said. “Railfans stay over night, eat in our restaurants and contribute monies to Fostoria businesses. When some residents consider trains to be irritating, railfans love the activity, flocking to our Iron Triangle to view the trains.”
She noted Rail Festival attendees in 2016 arrived from 18 states and Canada, including 187 hometowns.
“Fostoria tourism is our primary goal,” Gatrell said, stating more than 16,000 Fostoria Railfan Packets have been distributed to railfans either at the rail park or at train shows the society has attended.
In 2016, the society completed maintenance/cleaning of restrooms, recycling, installing concrete sidewalks and picnic tables, purchasing webcams, recycling containers and trash bins at the Fostoria Rail park; replaced dead trees at the rail park with six red dogwood and crabapple trees, purchased by Dr. Gregory and Jody Hensley; Whitta Construction rebuilt the west end and foundation of the 1878 LE&W Depot; BMP Maintenance upgraded the LE&W Depot exterior drainage system and volunteered its services at the rail park by helping build the B&O caboose railroad track panel; and other volunteers donated their time laying the rails of the track.
Funding for projects and events is accomplished through membership, grants and donations.
FRPS executive board members include President Pete DiCesare; Vice-President Herm VandeKerkhoff; Gatrell; and members, Teresa Lee, John Potteiger, Kay Rochotte, Steve Cramer, Tom Miller, Jim Roberts and Mike Rozelle.
Membership numbers for the non-profit are more than 150, with members living in 18 states, Canada and Peru.
Meetings are hosted the fourth Thursday of the month, except for November when the meeting is on the third Thursday, with no December meeting.
FRPS is a member of the Toledo National Train Day executive board, ORTA (Ohio Rail Tourism Association) and Ohio Operation Lifesaver (train safety) program.
For more information, visit the Fostoria Rail Preservation Society website or Facebook page or the Fostoria Rail Park Facebook page.
Fostoria’s Glass Heritage Gallery will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.
Plans are underway but officials have hopes for a ribbon cutting ceremony, monthly drawings for a piece of Fostoria-made glass and possibly commemorative souvenirs to distribute to the community.
The Fostoria Ohio Glass Association is a member organization governed by a board of directors who oversee the operation of the Fostoria Glass Heritage Gallery. With more than 200 members nationwide and several Canadian members, the association has an annual meeting in September of each year when rotating elections of board members take place.
The Fostoria Glass Heritage Gallery, located at 109 N. Main St., displays glass which is representative of glass produced by all glass companies founded in Fostoria during the glass-producing era of 1887-1920.
Aside from the Fostoria Glass Company, Buttler Art Glass, Fostoria Shade & Lamp, Consolidated Lamp & Glass, Seneca Glass, Nickel Plate Glass Company, Fostoria Novelty Glass Company, Fostoria Incandescent Company, Mosaic Glass Company, the Fostoria Glass Specialty Company and Novelty Glass Company also began in Fostoria, adding to the city’s rich glass heritage.
The idea of the Fostoria Glass Heritage Gallery began in 1990 when the Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce was looking for something to revitalize the downtown business area, according to gallery President Bill King. A committee was formed and businesses assisted in the creation of the gallery and the glass education of those involved.
Before the grand opening on Aug. 7, 1992, J. Miller Co. allowed the gallery the use of a display case in its store for a sneak preview.
Now the Glass Heritage Gallery has more than glass.
Officials had a rare portrait of Charles Foster restored last year. The painting, according to King, was most likely painted while former governor Foster was U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Benjamin Harrison.
After reading an article in the Findlay Courier, the gallery contacted Chicago art conservator Barry Bauman. Bauman offers free portrait restoration for non-profits; however, the GHG had to pay shipping and material costs. The gallery received the restored portrait in October.
In addition to the Foster portrait restoration, the Gallery added several previously unidentified Fostoria Glass Company product lines made while the company was in Fostoria (1887-1891). A member in Colorado discovered documentation on line #89 or “Basketweave.” Thanks to the same member, the gallery now has several “Basket” items on display as well as a tall, crystal banquet lamp, Fostoria’s #3, that was manufactured in Fostoria.
“It’s really encouraging for the Glass Heritage Gallery to have support in many varying ways from individuals across the United States,” King said. “It’s support like this and the many residents who have enabled us to celebrate our 25th anniversary later this year.”
Membership for the gallery is $20 per year and $32 for a couple’s membership.
Others have supported the Glass Heritage Gallery by donating glass for sale or display or in memory of a loved one. Donations are tax-deductible as the gallery is a 501(c)(3).
The Fostoria Heritage Glass Gallery is currently closed but will reopen March 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hours from April to December are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The building is handicapped accessible.
For more information, call 419-435-5077 or visit or Fostoria Ohio Glass Association’s Facebook page.
Other rich Fostoria history is obtained and preserved through the Fostoria Area Historical Society, which was incorporated September 10, 1973. The society gathers and shares historical knowledge, collects and displays items of historical interest and fosters an appreciation of Fostoria’s heritage for the education and benefit of its members and the general public.
In the past several years, the Historical Society has opened the Foster’s Museum on Main Street, made improvements to the museum on North Street and recently occupied the former Commission on Aging building at North Main and West North streets.
In 2016, the society participated in the annual Latino Festival, Fostoria SummerFest and the Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas in Fosterville, at which point it released the fifth volume of its “History of Fostoria” DVD series.
“Fostoria Grows Up!” features interviews with Fostorians sharing their memories of Fostoria in the 1930s-1950s. The film’s prequels include “Fostoria’s First,” “Pieces of Our Past,” “Railtown Mysteries” and “Called to Serve.” The series covers topics from the city’s inception in the mid-1800s to the suspected John Dillinger bank robbery of 1934 to the life of Governor Charles Foster, Fostoria’s railroads, the Fostoria Academy, Fostoria’s military history and more.
Also in 2016, the society celebrated Foster’s 188th birthday; hosted a re-enactment of the John Dillinger bank robbery; and presented public programs and events on the Iraq War, Native Americans, researching old homes, reptiles and Latino food.
Historical Society officers include Leonard Skonecki, president; Steve Cramer, vice president; and Susie Kinn, secretary/treasurer. Board members include Cindy Swartz, Mimi Schaffner, Georgie Widmer, Susan Yonker, Pete DiCesare and Lorrie Wolfelt.
The board meets at 5 p.m. on the last Monday of the month at Foster’s Museum on Main Street, 105 N. Main St. All members are welcome.
The Historical Society’s 2016 membership was 130.
For more information, call 419-435-3588 or visit the Fostoria Area Historical Society on Facebook.
Preserving the town’s history is just one way to help Fostoria grow.
Recently founded Paint the Town Foundation is helping by maintaining locations within Fostoria, rather than pieces of its past.
The foundation was created in August of 2013 by entrepreneur and Fostoria community member Nate Heiser, with the purpose of making improvements in the town wherever they are needed in an effort to help improve the quality of life in the community.
Members restored the Buckley Street tennis courts, located between Jackson Street and Eastern Avenue on the east side of Fostoria, in 2014 as its first project. The Foundation hosted a block party at the courts, inviting community members to come for food and fun while donating to the project. Approximately $10,000 was raised to seal and repave the courts as well as replace nets and freshen up the one-hoop basketball court.
The Paint the Town Foundation then set its sights on the various parks throughout town.
In April of 2016, members spearheaded renovation of Jackson Park with the help of Home Depot and Fostoria citizens. Playground equipment and structures were painted, the landscape received new mulch, the shelter house got a new roof and dead trees and debris were removed. More than $12,000 was invested into this project while local groups and individuals donated labor and time.
Likewise, in September of 2016, the organization worked with Lowes Distribution Center and the city to revamp City and Gray parks. New playground equipment was installed — including a handicapped swing — while old playground equipment was painted or replaced, picnic tables and pavilions were repainted as well as the lines on the basketball court and fresh mulch and stone were laid. More than $5,000 was invested into this project.
“The activity at these parks greatly increased after the cleanup and restoration was completed,” Heiser said.
The Paint the Town Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and donations are tax deductible. The group completes a project every year in an effort to clean up the city. Officials said they have not yet determined what the project will be for 2017.
For more information, contact Heiser at 419-435-3000.
Fostoria Lions Club has been making a positive impact in the community for the past 82 years.
In 2016, the group of community members raised more than $4,400 by hosting a golf outing and duck race as well as selling brooms, onions and poinsettias.
They spent more than $1,100 on sight conversation, $300 on youth activities and $1,000 on community activities. They also donated $300 to various state and international Lions programs .
In recognition of their work, they received Membership Growth, Humanitarian and Service awards and many individual awards for membership longevity, service and leadership.
The club has 19 members, including President Pete DiCesare, Vice-President Terrence Hoening, Secretary Mona DiCesare and Treasurer Floyd Lawless. Members meet at 6:30 p.m. twice a month — the first and third Thursdays — at Good Shepherd Home.
For more information or to become a member, contact DiCesare at 419-348-5686, email or look the group up on Facebook.



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