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March 2024 Meeting Minutes

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Empower Tusc Coalition Meeting

  • Friday, March 8, 2024
  • Meeting Minutes


  • -Robert Bray, WBTC Radio & Media Chair
  • -Mary Burkhart, Pastor
  • -Lakyn Craig, Tusc Co Health Dept & Suicide Prevention Comm CoChair
  • -Shannon Fox, Tusc Co. Health Dept & Tobacco/Vaping Chair
  • -Bill Harding, Citizen Member
  • -Heather Hill, OhioGuidestone TTS
  • -*Bill Houglan, Citizen Member
  • -*Leslie Korns, ADAMHS Board Member
  • -Rebecca (Bee) LeMasters, ADAMHS Board Member/Be the Mission
  • -Peggy Leslie, Harcatus—RSVP Director
  • -*Connie Limbacher, Citizen Member & Coalition Secretary
  • -Katie Maurer, OhioGuidestone, Addiction Line-Access Navigator & Alcohol Comm Chair
  • -Kerry Metzger, Citizen Member & Coalition Chairman
  • -Terry Miller, OhioGuidestone TTS & Suicide Prevention CoChair
  • -Kristin Mulheman, OhioGuidestone OhioGuidestone TTS 
  • -Jeff Neidig, Owner/Pharmacist Mediwise Pharmacy
  • -Carson Norris, Youth to Youth (Y2Y) Student Representative–TCCC
  • -Shawn Patterson, The Redeemed 22/Be the Mission
  • -*Cheryl Ramos, Citizen Member & New Phila City Council Member
  • -Jodi Salvo, OhioGuidestone, Dir of SUD Prevention & Coalition Coordinator
  • -Gerald Sanders, Citizen Member
  • -Sierra Schweitzer, OhioGuidestone TTS & Y2Y Coordinator
  • -*Larry Stitt, Pastor & Faith Based CoChair
  • -Joe Svancara, Pastor & Friends of the Homeless Shelter
  •  Angela Toth, Carroll Co Coalition Coordinator
  • -*Harley Wheeler, Pastor

(-) Members
(*) Present Virtually

Meeting Summary: Meeting called to order at 9:08 AM by Kerry Metzger. 26 were present (20 Present & 6 Virtual); (25 members & 1 Non-Member) Introductions made. Approval of Minutes– Robert Bray made a motion to accept February 9th, 2024 meeting minutes with the correction of spelling Ron Bond’s name.   Larry Stitt seconded and all voted yes. 


Committee Reports


Executive/Steering Committee –Kerry reported that two ad hoc committees were created. One on Membership consisting of Jeff Neidig, Robert Bray, Larry Stitt & Shannon Fox which have met one time so far. Jeff reported that this is very challenging and they are looking at having different categories of membership, as well. There is a zoom training on March 28th through Montgomery County Coalition. Jodi recommended them as they are another great coalition in our state and this will help us in our development of the membership process.  The second Ad Hoc Committee that was set up was By-Laws which hasn’t had a chance to meet yet.  These need to be looked at and redone. The last revision was February 2022 and should be a yearly thing.  This committee is comprised of Kerry, Robert and Connie.


Alcohol Prevention Committee: Kerry reported that Katie Maurer will be stepping up as Chair. This is currently the time we start with the Parents Who Host, Lose The Most (PWHLTM) Campaign. We are able to use most everything from prior years. Anyone needing yard signs should let her know.  Kerry brought 


Faith Efforts –Bee LeMasters shared about there being a serious divide among the Christian Leadership in our county.  At three separate events that fall under the category of Addiction Services, Mental Health Services and Pastoral Care, they all had a common tone and mentioned that when approaching other churches there is a disconnect. Being a trained Treatment Specialist in Addiction Medicine and Resources and hearing the conversations that take place at these conferences, but seeing very little progression afterward, pitched an idea of Bridging the Gap between our church leaders in our community. God has laid this upon my heart many times, and after my own Spiritual Awakening I am excited to progress in this journey and Eric has agreed to help with Leadership and our spouses are by our side each step of the way.  With a combined effort of over 13 years in Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol and having worked on our own successful programs, it has led us to build our own curriculums for events such as this. I feel as an Organizer and Eric as the speaker we can put some data behind the churches impact on Addiction and Recovery in Tuscarawas County and Ohio as a whole. Erik and I have been on a path to save people, love Jesus and share our walk for many years. We worked side by side in one of the largest Addiction Treatment Systems in the United States and most certainly the largest in this area of Ohio. We have come to respect one another. I had taken a more Corporate Role and branched into fighting from a Non Profit Platform, offering my skills and experience as a 3 term Board Member, Speaker, and Outreach Consultant and Director of Development for some of the Largest Treatment Centers in the US. In return Erik Fredrickson has the blessing of taking the path of Successful Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Life Experienced Coach. He has come to the aid of Tuscarawas County many times as a face of Addiction and Recovery under his business Recovering Reality, and led many events such as The most recent Recovery Conference at Lifeway Church. Example: Pastoral Brunch & Bridge Building Discussion, where we will be offering a Bridge session where they will open up to Q & A diving deep into their own addictions. The categories will be as follows: Active Use (Youth & Adult), Traumas, Misconceptions, Relapse, Recovery, Industry Standards, Referral Processes, Collaboration of Christian Leadership has to be on a United Front, Strategizing, Planning


Media CommitteeRobert reported that Public service radio (PSA) messages are planned to be produced involving youth-to-youth regarding a video-audio tobacco message prepared by three local schools. Jennifer Demuth indicated overdoses and deaths from accidental overdoses declined in 2023 over the year 2022.  Statistics have been emailed to Kerry Metzger and myself for reference. HIDDEN IN PLAIN SITE TRAILER – Discussed upcoming need for volunteer training to present at the trailer and disseminating information to groups to make them aware of the available access for the trailer to appear at events.  Jennifer Demuth has an outlet with various groups and needs a pamphlet describing it.  Jodi Salvo was contacted and will make the information available, a Chamber Blast was also an alternative. Kerry Metzger requested a media project regarding the “DORA” (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) being proposed in New Philadelphia.  Research will be conducted and Jennifer Demuth indicated the Tuscarawas County Health Department has generalized information accessible to the public regarding alcohol consumption in Tuscarawas County which would be available to the media committee.  Cheryl Ramos reported that anyone wanting to know more should attend the New Philadelphia Council meetings. 


Prescription Drug CommitteeJeff reported that DEA Drug Take Back will be done at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital (CCUH) only. Jodi will cover costs of advertising with mini grant funds. We will try to include take back event at Dennison Rotary blood profile check in the Fall after speaking to all Tuscarawas County Rotary Clubs to partner with their events as well. We will get permission to create promotional flyer to hand out at this year’s Dennison Rotary event to highlight the DEA Event at CCUH and also the permanent drop box at Dennison PD. Pharmacy Prescription Bags design was finalized and printing 150,000 bags now. If the permanent boxes are approved later, we will use press releases and flyers at their local pharmacies to promote the new locations.  Permanent Drug Drop Boxes are being looked at in Dover and Bolivar. The Joint Solid Waste District is currently reviewing the drop box pick up and disposal process and will have more information in March for us to review and discuss.  Jeff and Jodi presented Empower Tusc and Rx Committee details to school nurses at School Nurses Meeting.  Much information was shared and discussed. Also shared that Empower Tusc will present to Claymont teachers March 15th.


Suicide Prevention Committee—Terri reported that the Suicide Prevention Memorial Walk is scheduled for Sunday, September 8th. Tentatively registration will begin at 3:30pm and the walk at 4:00pm. It was decided to have more than one registration table. A training on Safe Language/Trauma Informed needs to be held prior to the walk, especially for guest speakers. It was suggested that we hold an additional suicide prevention event in May 2025 for Mental Awareness Month.  Care Package items and resources were discussed—service directories, survivors group information, signs and symptoms quick reference guide, pocket resource, VA resources, connection cards, local support groups, youth specific resources. It was suggested that maybe different care packages for different type or age groups. Man Therapy Training will be held at the next committee meeting to relaunch the state campaign which uses humor to engage men over 40 years of age. Lakyn shared that they have decided to split the Strategic Plan into a 2-year plan to allow for activities to be completed with higher quality and more effectively. The State of Ohio Suicide Prevention Plan 2024-2026 was also reviewed and we align very well and have a lot of the same activities throughout. Shawn Patterson shared that he reached out to LifeSide Ohio and currently Tuscarawas County does not have any gun shows. Daniel Bennett shared that he can help with events partnering with gun rages and LifeSide. Robert shared that he received the 2023 Suicide Data from the county coroner’s office which reported 13 deaths by suicide. The majority (10) were male.


Tobacco/Vaping Committee Shannon reported that Surveys have been completed by most of area schools. Jodi is looking into consequences for the two city schools who won’t participate since they receive so many services which makes the survey results crucial. Retail Licensing, Secondhand Smoke Policy and Compliance Checks are currently on hold waiting on guidance from ODH due to the passing of the Preemption Law.  Updates on Tobacco Strategic Plan and a Community Health Improvement Plan will need done due to the passage of Preemption Law, as well.  Anti-Vaping Video Contest The two schools to participate, Tuscarawas Central Catholic (TCC) and Strasburg PSA videos were shown and Empower Tusc was able to cast their votes. Voting Categories include: 1st Place Anti-Vaping Video, 1st Place PSA, and People’s Choice Anti-Vaping Video. Claymont was not able to enter one in time, but we are asking that they still do one for the launching of a Youth Media Campaign provided by ODH that will run from April-June. Kerry shared that Empower Tusc Grants are available from multiple foundations for equipment. In the School Bases Nicotine & Marijuana Survey, a few schools expressed interest in receiving vaping detectors, if funding was available. Shannon will work on estimates for purchasing and parts. Upcoming Events/Presentations IV Development Day, Port Washington Resource Fair, Lifeway Recovery Conference which Lakyn provided cessation resources and collected “Smoke/Vape Free” pledge cards. Shannon has been completing AAR training with Kent State Nursing students, and will have a short presentation to parents about the dangers of secondhand smoke after Story Time at the Tuscarawas County Public Library on February 27th, as well as facilitate a Bingocize Cessation on February 20th at the Tuscarawas County Senior Center.


Youth SectorSierra reported Youth Advocacy Videos: these have been the main project for the Y2Y groups over the last few months. PSAs have also been completed by both TCC and Strasburg and will be recorded on the radio with Robert sometime this spring. There is a proclamation for the Youth Anti-Vaping Advocacy videos on Wednesday, March 13th at 9:15am where the videos will be shown and the students will have an opportunity to talk about their videos and PSAs with the county commissioners. Carson discussed his PSA and the resources youth can use to quit vaping. National Drug and Alcohol Facts week is March 18th-24th. Y2Y groups are working on door decorating with alcohol and drug related awareness, and TCC is decorating a bulletin board. Carson brought up that they may also do a table with resources for the week. Jodi asked if we would be able to schedule a National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week Proclamation next week with the commissioners-will check on it. Graduating Y2Y members will get a blue graduation chord this year to wear at graduation. This is a new thing that Y2Y members will get to do every year.  Special Speakers: TCC has been interested in bringing in speakers for their group when they meet. They have told me they would be most interested in hearing mental health talks as well as overcoming stress. Perci Garner is going to come speak sometime in the next few weeks. Let Sierra know if you know of anyone or have any ideas of who can speak within our community.


Marijuana Committee –The committee did NOT meet and nothing has changed currently. 


Old Business – No Report


New Business/Upcoming Coalition Events—Jodi is working on identifying issues with schools & court system on consequence data. Need qualitative data.


Public Speaks/Organization ShareAdjourn– Bill Harding made a motion to Adjourn at 10:30am and Larry seconded. All voted yes.

Our next meeting will be on Friday, April 12th, 2024 with the location TBD. If unable to find a location, it will be virtual only. Watch for Connie’s email.

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