Currently viewing the tag: "Thurmont Addiction Commission"

James Rada, Jr.

At the beginning of the school year, staff at Thurmont Middle School noticed that the boys’ bathrooms smelled fruity, which is not a smell most people associate with boys’ bathrooms.

That was when the staff realized that e-cigarettes and vaping had become a problem with middle-school students.

The Thurmont Middle School PTA and Thurmont Addiction Commission sponsored “Teens and Vaping: What Every Parent Needs to Know” at Catoctin High School on April 8. Stephanie Kimble, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program manager with the Frederick County Health Department, gave about three dozen parents and students an overview of vaping.

Vaping is the use of a small electronic device that aerosolizes nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals that the user inhales. The devices are often called e-cigarettes or e-pens, but the most-popular device is a JUUL, which looks like a flash drive. A small JUUL pod is inserted into the JUUL, which has the equivalent nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. It also has a variety of other chemicals.

“Kids call it the iPhone of electronic cigarettes,” Kimble said.

The FDA does not regulate these devices, and they are often marketed to youths. For instance, you can purchase skins to decorate a JUUL, just as you can purchase skins for smartphones.

JUUL, because of its small size, presents a challenge for parents and educators in part because it is easy for teens to hide. Many students also falsely believe that JUULs don’t contain nicotine.

“JUUL does not sell a device that does not contain nicotine,” Kimble said.

Besides nicotine, Kimble said JUULs contain benzoic acid, glycerol, propylene glycol, natural oils, and extracts.

“Glycerol is found in foods,” Kimble said. “The stomach can digest it. The lungs can’t.”

Among the risks of vaping are: (1) Exposure to nicotine, which is addictive and can hinder brain development in youths, which continues until age 25; (2) Exposure to toxic substances; (3) Increased likelihood to smoke; (4) Injuries from malfunctioning vaping devices; (5) Poisoning from direct exposure to some of the chemicals used; (6) Exposure to heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead that the aerosol picks up from the metal coils.

While tobacco usage among students has been trending downward for years, health officials worry that vaping usage will show an upward trend. Right now, the data for the devices, which have only been around since 2015, is still being collected.

If caught vaping, students can receive a citation, just as they would if caught with alcohol.

Kimble said parents need to learn what vaping devices look like and what the risks of vaping are. They should talk to their children about the risks and set a positive role model by not vaping themselves.

The Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC) held its first monthly commission meeting of 2019 on January 10 at the Thurmont Town Office.  Discussions included a review of 2018 events hosted by TAC, as well as planning and scheduling for 2019 events as suggested by those in attendance at the meeting. All commission monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month and are open to the public. The next meeting will be held February 14, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

The TAC works within the community, as a community, to fight addiction. TAC’s efforts work through the three pillars: Education and Awareness, Support and Recovery, and Prevention and Outreach. Each pillar lead holds workshops and planning sessions throughout the month to address the needs of the community. Any individual interested in volunteering at events or as part of a pillar, please contact Ed Schildt at 240-285-8079 or attend a meeting.

TAC will kick off the 2019 Speaker Series on February 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Town Office on East Main Street in Thurmont. The guest speaker will be Teri Austin, founder of Austin Addiction and Mental Health Center in Frederick. The topic for the evening will be pain management options, education, and knowledge to support navigation through addiction and recovery.

Please join TAC for this very important speaker series and discussion on Feburary 21. Future Speaker Series dates will be April 18 and June 20, with guest speakers and topics to be determined.

The commission is currently finalizing a resource guide that will be available to the community in the near future to assist anyone looking for information and resources to support someone seeking recovery resources.

There are also preliminary plans to host fun days and sober events throughout the year. Please look for more details in the future.

TAC recognizes two important groups of organized citizens that are developing powerful programs and services in the community.

The Music is Medicine Foundation, founded by Chastity Fox, will soon open “The Path Peer Recovery Community Center,” which will provide space for professional counseling services, as well as support groups, therapeutic programs, and a connection point for the community to find many resources available. Stay tuned for more details.

TAC also recognizes the FUSE Teen Center, founded by Susan Crone (also a TAC member), that offers the youth of our community (grades 6-12) social options in a safe and supervised setting. FUSE hosts weekly events at Trinity Church of Christ, located on East Main Street in Thurmont, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-6:30 p.m., and Fridays from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Stop by and volunteer or bring your children for a great time.

The Thurmont Addiction Commission would love to talk to your organization, team, civic group, and so forth, to share valuable insight and educational information about the disease of addiction and the path to recovery. Education and Awareness is the key component to prevention, support, and recovery. Please call Ed Schildt at 240-285-8079 if you would like a TAC team to attend your meeting or event.

February 2018


Homes Taken Off Town’s Water System

Town staff had to do an emergency fix to the town’s water lines. Four homes outside of town limits, but on the town water system, received their water through a water line that was installed in the 1930s. Over the decades, 200 feet of the 8-inch line has been exposed to the elements. Because of the extended subzero temperatures that the region had this winter, a major break occurred in the line on January 8. Temporary fixes to the line could not be maintained.

In one instance, a temporary pump placed on the water line malfunctioned, and one home’s basement was flooded.

Town staff evaluated the situation and determined that the old water line was unrepairable. It would need to be replaced, which would cost $1 million to restore service to the four homes.

Since this would be too expensive, an alternative solution was sought. It was discovered that one of the homes could be connected to an existing 10-inch water line. The other three homes were too far away for this solution to work for them. For these homes, the town reached an agreement with the homeowners to drill wells that could service the homes and take them off the town’s water system. The estimated cost for this solution is $50,000 per connection or $150,000.


Transfers to Capital Projects

When fiscal year 2017 ended, the Town of Emmitsburg had excess money in its general fund. The excess needed to be transferred to capital projects per audit requirements. Town staff put together a list of projects and amounts that they recommended be funded with the excess.

  • $66,300 towards the Community Park Pool and its grounds. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $17,245 for the dog park. The commissioners modified the dog park plan to include no leash stations (for now) and four benches instead of seven. (Approved with modification.)
  • $15,000 for the general streets fund. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $14,000 for curbs, gutters, sidewalks, roads. The commissioners asked that the St. Joseph’s Lane pedestrian walkway become a future agenda item. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $10,000 for the general planning fund. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $6,526 for building maintenance at 140 South Seton Avenue. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $4,500 for building maintenance at 22 East Main Street. (Unanimously approved.)

The total transfer amount was $133,571.


Town Starts Monthly Street Sweeping

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willetts announced that town staff will now perform monthly street-sweeping in Emmitsburg, which is required for the MS-4 permit that the town is seeking.


Community Day Race

The Emmitsburg Commissioners unanimously approved a 6K race on Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day, June 30, 2018. The Catoctin-Ettes will run the event as a fundraiser.



Conrad Weaver was appointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for a two-year term, from November 4, 2017, to November 4, 2019.

Wendy Walsh was reappointed to serve on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, from February 20, 2018, to February 20, 2020.


Town Gets Grant for LED Lighting

As the Town of Thurmont moved to increase its sustainability and reduce costs, one of the changes it has been working on is switching over to LED street lights downtown and in subdivisions. The Maryland Energy Administration recently awarded the town $34,650 for this project. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted unanimously to spend $28,035 of that amount to have Catoctin Lighting replace the street lights in Catoctin Heights. The remaining balance will be used to purchase additional lighting fixtures for a yet-to-be-determined location.


Curb Side Grass and Leaf Pickup

Curb side grass and leaf pickup will resume in Thurmont on April 2. Residents should have received notice of all the pertinent information and dates with their utility bills.


Work Continues on Employee Manual

Town staff has been crafting an employee policy manual for town employees for the past few months. “It’s something that would be able to assist our supervisors and managers, assist our employees, and assist in the overall management of our staff here,” Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the mayor and commissioners.

A draft of the manual was presented to the mayor and commissioners during a workshop meeting, where they went through the document to address any questions and concerns. These will then be used to make changes to the final manual.


Mid-year Budget Review

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received a mid-year budget review in January to see how close they were staying to the approved fiscal year 2018 budget. According to Chief Financial Officer Linda Joyce, at the halfway point in its budget, the town was 15 percent under budget.


Thurmont Addiction Commission

The Thurmont Addiction Commission is now up and running. The group has a Facebook page, where interested parties can be kept up to date on meeting times and topics. One topic that has been discussed between the commission and Frederick County Health Department is a needle exchange program. Commissioner Marty Burns pointed out that this was a presentation being made by the Health Department to gather input. It did not mean the program would happen.

As you know, the Opioid crisis in our nation has a firm grip, locally, in Northern Frederick County. We’ve lost too many of our loved ones to this epidemic. A group of local citizens has decided to organize a Commission to better serve Thurmont in its fight against addiction. The Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC) is a new council, fully sponsored and recognized by Thurmont’s Board of Commissioners. Its goal is to address this problem head-on in a multi-faceted approach. It consists of three “pillars.”

“Education and Awareness” will focus on helping our community learn about the complex nature of this problem and seeking to give  them the tools necessary to recognize the signs of addiction (

“Support and Recovery” will provide families access to the many resources available they may not know about, as well as an advocate for local support systems for addicts and those recovering from the effects of a relative or friend suffering from addiction (recoverypillar

 “Prevention and Outreach” will seek to interact with those in high-risk groups to offer alternative activities and provide necessary information to assist in making decisions that do not involve addictive substances (

The commission is comprised of five voting members: Jay Churchill (chair), Mike Randall (co-chair), Rachel Hubbard, Kim Kerens, and Ed Schildt; two alternates: Myra Derbyshire and Gina Carbaugh; student representative: Gage Randall; and town liaison: Commissioner Marty Burns.

Anyone who is interested in joining any of the pillars is welcome to email the pillar representative directly. We are actively seeking volunteers. All events are open to the public.

Upcoming TAC events include: February 8—TAC Meeting at Thurmont Town Office at 7:00 p.m.; February 15—Speaker Series at Thurmont Carnival Grounds at 6:30 p.m. (Terry Austin, guest speaker: Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse and Addiction in  your household, plus first steps to getting help); February 23—Support and Recovery Pillar meeting, small meeting room, Thurmont Public Library at 6:30 p.m.; February 28—Introduction to the Enemy Program at Linganore High School at 6:00 p.m.

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