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November 2023 Meeting Minutes

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Empower Tusc Coalition Meeting

  • Friday, November 17, 2023
  • Meeting Minutes


  • -*Robert Bray, WBTC Radio
  • -*Lakyn Craig, Tusc Co Health Dept 
  • -*Katelyn Gorius, Tusc Co. Health Dept.
  • -*Bill Harding, Citizen Member
  • -*Heather Hill, OhioGuidestone TTS
  • -*Bill Houglan, Citizen Member
  • -*Gail Houglan, Citizen Member
  • -*Peggy Leslie, Harcatus—RSVP Director
  • -*Samantha May, Windsor Laurelwood
  • -*Kerry Metzger, Coalition Chairman
  • -*Terry Miller, OhioGuidestone TTS
  • -*Shawn Patterson, The Redeemed 22
  • -*Miles Riley, Springvale
  • -*Jodi Salvo, OhioGuidestone, Dir of SUD Prevention
  • -*Gerald Sanders, Citizen Member
  • -*Sierra Schweitzer, OhioGuidestone TTS
  • -*Larry Stitt, Pastor
  • -*Joe Svancara, Pastor
  • -*Kane Tarrence, Brightview Health Community Outreach Mgr
  • -*Veronica Spidell, ADAMHS 
  • -*Robin Waltz, United Way, Executive Director
  • *Pam Trimmer, OhioGuidestone Executive Director

(-) Members

(*) Present Virtually


Meeting Summary: Meeting called to order at 9:06 AM by Jodi Salvo. 22 were present (Virtual); (21 members & 1 Non-Member) Introductions made. Approval of Minutes– Bill Harding made a motion to accept October 13th, 2023 meeting minutes.  Robert Bray seconded and all voted yes. 


Committee Reports


Executive/Steering Committee

Jodi announced her running for District 51 Ohio State Representative. Jodi will be on a four month hiatus, but will be working two hours every morning from 8-10am and one full day a week. She will be checking emails daily and is available if needed. In her absence, Heather Hill will be attending Empower Tusc Alcohol, Tobacco/Vaping, Marijuana and Prescription Drug Prevention Committee meetings, Media Committee and the monthly Empower Tusc meetings; Terri Miller will be co-facilitating with Lakyn Craig the Suicide Prevention Committee and Leadership Tusc project team meetings. Heather and Terri will work with Jodi and Kristin Mulheman to ensure that there is a seamless ability to move forward during this time. If Jodi wins the March Primary, the Executive team, Steering Committee and OhioGuidestone will work towards future planning.

There is no Coalition meeting in December and January-just the Christmas party on December 15th at 9 A.M. at the Convention & Visitors Bureau, breakfast will be provided. 

Alcohol Prevention Committee: Jodi sent out the first draft of the Hidden in Plain Sight promotional video. Connie will send a link out the link to coalition members. Veronica said they will be placing ads on social media and the Bargain Hunter for the holiday’s reminding parents to have conversations with their children around alcohol, conveying a “No” use message if underage, and a reminder for parents to be good role models to their children around alcohol. Veronica is also working with Katie Maurer with the Hopeline with alcohol retailers (pins servers wear, coasters, etc.). 

Faith Efforts HOPE Sunday- Jodi shared that the video has already been recorded for 2024. Tyler King videoed Markus Mcfolling with a one and done video recording. Since it is already recorded, we are hoping that pastors at county ministerial associations will be able to watch the video and work with the Faith Committee to provide guidance on the length of the video. This video in its entirety is longer than past videos. We will want community pastors to give guidance on keeping it in its entirety or breaking it into a shorter video.


Media CommitteeRobert reported that prior to the November election, Empower Tusc presented to 17 different groups in the county on Issue 2, which was a direct reach of 480 people.  On November 28th , Chamber of Commerce will have Al Landis discuss the effects of issue 2 on the workplace at First Federal from 8:30-10. Bill Harding gave the number 330-343-4474 to RSVP for event. Jodi acknowledged Robert Bray’s work on the Tusc Free Tusc PAC ad, which recorded Kerry Metzger, which was also a one and done recording.


Prescription Drug CommitteeJodi reported in the absence of Jeff Neidig that the National Drug Take-Back Day on October 28th, collected 81 pounds at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital and Bill Harding reported that 44 vehicles were received. Trinity Hospital did not participate this year due to past years having low participation and we are working with Dennison Rotary to coordinate the Twin City area for future take-back days held nationally in April and October that coincide with Rotary Health Checks. Jeff will place messaging around safe storage and disposal in newspaper, press release, and social media, around the holidays. 


Suicide Prevention Committee– Veteran Administration, VA S.A.V.E  (Signs Ask, Validate, Encourage) training will be held today from 11:00 A.M.-Noon in the Access Tusc  conference room. Presenter is Vivian Winters from the VA. This will be an in person training but will offer a virtual option and is a gate-keeper training (similar to QPR) and the committee will then look at which trainings we might consider for community promotion. The committee might consider offering gatekeeper trainings to persons such as barbers, hairstylists and others in the area.  Leadership Tusc. met this week and worked on their project that would assist in engaging men over 40 around suicide prevention. They spoke with Farm Bureau about “Check Your Engine” campaign.  They have also reached out to Brian with the VA for input. They are planning to conduct men’s focus groups to guide next steps. Next meeting will be held December 4th at 1:00 P.M. 


Tobacco/Vaping Committee Katelyn reported that the committee is working on anti-vaping video contest. There will be a 1st place in video, PSA and People’s Choice. More information to come.

Trying to educate schools on Tobacco Free Schools.  On January 1st, 2024, schools will be reclassified based on their policy on tobacco because of the Smoke Free Workplace law. First change was updated to include vaping products. Second change was to have an alternative to suspension for tobacco use and offer educational support instead of sending them home. The TCHD will be available to assist schools with policy changes.


Youth SectorSierra said all groups are working on the Advocacy through Art Videos due at the end of January for the Anti-Vaping Contest. The video will be 60-90 seconds long and focused on vaping. Some categories are health effects, marketing, etc. The goal is for every student to be a part of it. Robert Bray will do a PSA with the students on the radio towards the end of the contest. Groups have grown but not all students are consistent in attendance. Students chose to focus on ‘kindness’ activities because of drama in their school. One Y2Y (Youth to Youth) group made cards for Veterans. Jodi gave a shout-out to Sierra for all of her hard work on the growth and rebuilding of the Y2Y program. Kerry seconded that. When the videos are completed,  they will be presented to the Commissioners.


Marijuana Committee – Overall disappointed in outcome. Larger cities; Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo and Stark voted Yes for Issue #2. The majority of the state voted NO. Tuscarawas County was in the top five with the highest “no percentage vote”. Kerry feels it reflects all the hard work of Empower Tusc and the Drug Free Tusc PAC. Kerry had a shout out for Al and Debby Landis for all their hard work on the absentee ballot chase. He made a shout out to Jodi and Robert for all their work, as well. Tuscarawas County was at 57.5% that voted No on the issue. Kerry reported that for exact stats to visit the Secretary of State website. Plan B, is to weigh in as the legislature makes changes to the ballot initiative. The Ohio Senate president and the governor would like to see changes made by the legislature by December 7th.  They have 9 months to make their changes. Jodi and Kerri have both been talking with Senator Landis about youth prevention concerns, and the need to focus on taxing. Kerry suggested one potential consideration would be higher THC products should be taxed at higher levels. The Board of Elections should have votes tallied this week and we will know what precinct stats we have. These stats can help with requesting ordinances when working with cities, villages and townships.  Empower Tusc will continue to work hard on this issue to make the best out of a bad situation. Jodi thanked Kerry and recognize all of his work behind the scenes to strategically guide our efforts. We need to continue educating.


Old Business – No Report


New Business/Upcoming Coalition Events 

  • November 17th—VA S.A.V.E. Training—11AM – Cookies and cupcakes were donated by Tiffany Nichols from Business Development – Sunrise Vista Behavioral Health.
  • Nov. 21st – Holiday Farmers Market – New Town Mall from 3-7.
  • Dec. 15th Christmas Party at CVB from 9-10:30
  • Possible future events for Tusky Valley brought up by Shawn since too late to do something by Thanksgiving. Shawn will follow up with Larry and other Pastors to see what may be done either in person for food or delivery.


 Adjourn– Peggy made a motion to Adjourn. Larry seconded and all voted yes.


Our December meeting will be our Christmas Party on Friday, December 15th, 2023 at the Visitor & Convention Bureau. 124 E High Ave, New Philadelphia—parking available in the back & then ring the back doorbell! This is NOT a virtual meeting, In person only. There will be NO January 2024 meeting, so our next Hybrid meeting will be held on Friday, February 9th from 9:00-10:30 A.M. 

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