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October 16, 1980

When the Potluck article - "Fostoria...Crossroads U.S.A." reached the readers there came a telephone call to your writer from Joanne Valenti, 301 S. Union St.

She said, "I was sure glad to see your aticle, and to know that someone is interested in the by-ass, and elimination of the traffic throughout town".

You see, Mrs. Valenti lives on South Street, just west of the Midblock and knows all about the volumunous and dangerous traffic on that street.

She continued, "I nearly got hit crossing the street by our house. Sometimes vehicles go through the red light and it is not unusual for vehicles to go 60 miles per hour."

I discovered in talking to Mrs. Valenti that she started her own campaign in 1979 to see what she could learn about the status of the by-pass, and to see what she could do to hurry it along.


The first thing she did was write to Columbus. An answer came from Ohio Department of Transportation - District Two in Bowling Green.

Here is the entire letter.

Dear Mrs. Valenti:

This is in response to your letter of Aug. 1, 1979 pertaining to the status of activity on the implementation of a By-pass route of US-23 for Fostoria.

The State's consultant is presently working on the completion of the Modified Design Report for the project.

We are presently involved in the enviromental concerns received from other agencies. It is necessary we address these comments prior to the Enviromental Impacct Statement.

After the acceptance of this phase of the project development it will be necessary to proceed to the Detail Design Phase.

This project is listed in the State's Long Range Construction Program in an active status but not yet scheduled for construction in our five year plan.

Director Weir's testimony before the State House of Represenatives House Finance Subcommittee in May 1979, listed this project that is now in jeopardy because of a lack of adequate funding.

Your proposed petition drive could have a positive effect for the support by the By-pass.

Thank you for your interest in this project.

James L. Andres, P.E.
District Deputy Director
R.P. Darr, P.E.
District Design & Planning Engineer


Mrs. Valenti had proposed in her letter to the Sate that she intended to start a petition drive to show the strong desire of Fostoria citizens to remove the U.S. 23 from the streets of Fostoria through the completion of the bypass.

She had already taken steps to have the petition printed. She had lined up other intereste dpeople to circulate them. Factories and business places had indicated their willingness to post the petitions and other material on bulletin boards.

At that point, she thought it was a good and resonable idea to talk with several local citizens who had been active in promoting the bypass program in earlier years, which she did. And what do you think they said - "Forget'll be spinning your wheels".

And so, a citizen who knew the perils and disadvantages of the highways through town...who thought she was doing a worthwhile civic project...quit in disgust...surprised that those prominent citizens to whom she talked had not only lost interest, but discredited her move to do something.

When I wrote the aricle, about a year ago, I was a school crossing guard at Countyline and Elm, and saw firsthand the traffic situation. In fact, I was nearly hit by vehicles on more than one occasion.

At one time I talked to a city official about the undesireable vehicles on our streets and the hazardous products that move through here, and he said, "We don't know what goes through town".


At that time I had no knowledge of Mrs. Valenti's action, otherwise I would have joined her.

Mrs. Valenti is still interested and ready to start again where she left off, as are others. The ground work has been layed.

Now it's time for city officials to do their fact they should be pleased that citizens are interested in doing things to improve Fostoria... and they should provide leadership for such action.

There are many improvements Fostoria can stand, but I don't know of a more important one than the U.S. 23 bypass.

Let's keep it moving.


Loy Luhman, Jackson Street, told me he enjoyed that article, and that in the museum at Milan there is one of the original wooden markers that were on all of the graves in the Confederate Cemetery. The stone markers were placed on the graves by the Daughters of The Confederacy in later years, when it was realized that the old wooden markers could not last forever.


In a conversation with Roger Doe, Sr., North Union Street, he disclosed that he enjoyed the article about the visit to Fostoria by Mr. and Mrs. Ecekert and he regretted he didn't meet them, since Eckert and he are the same age, lived closeby when they were boys and were probably in the same room at Union Street School.

A letter from Eckerts, back in Florida, said they thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Fostoria and hoped to return sometime when they could drive here and be able to get around to see the town more thoroughly.


I received the following note from a reader in Grand Junction, Colo., "Recently I read your article on Ossie Fox. I was born while my parents were living on College Ave. and Mrs. Fox gave my mother a copy of her book, Reginalrd Orook and the Gold Fish, for me. I still have this little booklet. I do not know the whereabouts of any of the other poems by Ossie Fox, but just wanted you to know that I have copy of Reginald." (Signed) Mrs. E.L. (Madge) Warner.


Ralph Sackett helped me considerably wih that story, but when he saw it in print he called to say he remembered still more that he forgot to tell me. Others appreciated seeing the story too.

A lengthy telephone conversation with another reader, which I will not name at this time, disclosed interesting information about other connected with the flower-growing business in this area. Again, it is on the agenda and will interest readers I am sure.


The August 28 story was about the escape of John Simon Welch from Andersonville Prison. That story helped a reader establish her connection with that family. Marie Harrington, Lytle Street, told me that her niece Mrs. Harold Harrington, Fremont, was a grand-daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Welch. However, she was not aware of it until Marie sent her the article. Mr. Welch died before Mrs. Harold Harrington was born and apparently she lost track of Mrs. Welch. When she saw the picture with the article she remembered seeing the photo years ago. She was pleased to get the article and to learn of the family relationship.


I was told in that story I made no reference to Judy Alge, as a great- granddaughter of Manecke. Judy's mother, Kathryn Manecke Alge, was the daughter of Ross Manecke prior to marriage. There were other descendents of Manecke who could also have been listed but were not because they were deceased.

A number of descendents of the Manecke family expressed their appreciation for the article.

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