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Fostoria's Past: A Century of history in the making
By Gene Kinn
Staff writer (The Review Times)


In April, 1990, the body of Michelle Huffman, 23, of Fostoria, was pulled from the bank along a Scioto River tributary in Ross County. Her 16-day-old son was still missing.

In late June, 34-year-old Chris Doyle of Fostoria admitted killing Huffman and her son. The infant's body was later discovered along the Blanchard River in Findlay. Doyle and three other men implicated in the killing and disposal of the bodies were indicted, convicted and sent to prison.

On Nov. 7, 1990 Amtrak began serving Fostoria after a major lobbying effort by the city, Chamber of Commerce and local industrial leaders.


1991- (More about the year)

In 1991 the city experienced a severe financial reversal. Two police officers, a meter-maid and three other employees were laid off as of April 30.

During previous negotiations with unions representing city employees, city officials said they would lay off as many as 15 workers if the unions did not agree to numerous concessions, including wage freezes. The unions overwhelmingly rejected the proposals.



Ground-breaking for a new Fostoria Middle School took place May 11, 1992. The new structure would replace the condemned Emerson Junior High School.

Voters had rejected a millage proposal to build the new school three times before passing a smaller 4.9 mill, 23-year bond issue at a special election in February.



Former Fostoria counselor and defrocked Episcopal Priest Douglas D. Hodges, 57, was indicted on Sept. 29, 1993, on eight counts involving alleged sexual incidents between Hodges and four former female patients.

The charges stemmed from incidents which occurred between March 1990 and October 1991, according to court records.

In February, Hodges had been arrested and charged with one count of sexual battery and was then released on his own recognizance.

Later, other alleged victims came forward resulting in the additional charges.

Civil and criminal charges against Hodges dominated the news during 1993.



Marilyn Quayle, the wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle visited Fostoria on Sept. 29, 1994. She was welcomed with roses, a crowd of nearly 200 and the Fostoria High School marching band when she flew into Fostoria Metro Airport to campaign for Rex Damschroder. Rex was the republican candidate for the 89th District Ohio House of Representatives seat.



Fostoria's new north water tower was raised 15 feet in the spring og 1995, at no cost to the city.

When the new tower was constructed, engineers used basic plans of the 147-foot south tower on Zeller Raod. After the new tower was erected, officials realized that the ground at Culbertson and Hackson streets was 15 feet lower than the ground on Zeller Road.



Another new city administration took over in 1996. Former Fostoria High School Athletic Director Jim Bailey named Ron Reinhart as his safety service director and Dale Helms as zoning inspector. Utilities Superintendent Charlie Dodge wa named administrative assistant to the mayor.

In January, Bailey proposed a rental housing code, but after many complaints, public meetings and changes, the proposal evolved into a property maintenance code which was passed by City Council.

Eventually, every building in Fostoria was inspected by Helms and Assistant Zoning Inspector Thom Lonsway. More than 1,000 code violation notices were issued that year.



Two local men were facing the death penalty and a juvenile was also being held in connection with the murder of Larry Snyder, whose body was found Jan. 25, 1997, inside a smoldering house on West North Street.

Scott Seibert, 19, and Todd Peace, 20, were arrested in connection with the homocide. Those two, along with juvenile Ian Duran of Fostoria were all found guilty. They were spared the death penalty, but were all sent to prison.

Snyder had been assaulted with a tire iron, crow bar, knife, hammer, ax and physical force after allegedly threatening to expose the theft of merchandise by the other three.

In May 1997, Fostoria voters approved an additional one-half percent income tax raising the tax here to 2 percent.

That was the first local income tax increase in 15 years and was expected to bring in an additional $1.2 million a year for five years.

The funds would be divided into five areas, with $250,000 going to safety forces for vehicles and equipment; $250,000 for parks, beautification, trees, recreation and cleanup, $300,000 for infrastructure improvements and community development; $250,000 to the general fund and $200,000 to the Kaubish Memorial Public Library.



A new $32 million Norfolk Southern-Ford Motor Company auto mixing plant east of Fostoria opened in January of 1998. Some 200 employees were expected to be hired when the center got up to speed.

New cars from Detroit would be brought in by rail, off-loaded, then reloaded onto semi car carriers for delivery to dealers throughout a wide area.

The center was one of four such facilities which Norfolk-Southern developed in various Midwest cities.


1999- (More about the year)

In November 1999, 37-year-old John Davoli confounded the experts by defeating incumbent Mayor Jim Bailey.

Davoli, who married a local girl, moved to Fostoria about 10 years ago. He served two terms as a councilman-at-large before running for the top spot in the city government.

The challenger promised to crack down on curfew violators and crack cocaine and have a kinder, gentler zoning department. He also promised to spend more money on the police department and less on trees and flowers.

It was a strange election in that many Republicans supported Mayor Jim Bailey, a Democrat, while Democrats rallied to Davoli and put him over the top.

Information courtesy of William Cline