Curbing tobacco use in Frederick

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Local and state leaders have turned their attention to tobacco use with a number of events and initiatives in the county to prevent the habit, especially among young people.

This week, Frederick Uncut producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey speak with several reporters from The Frederick News-Post about stories related to prevention of tobacco use. First, legislative reporter Samantha Hogan discusses how Maryland’s changing the legal age to buy cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 is designed to curb usage.

Later in the episode, city reporter Jeremy Arias talks about a trip to West Frederick Middle School in March for a program hosted by the Asian American Center of Frederick to raise awareness about the health problems with tobacco use. Students rang a bell every 72 seconds to signify the rate in America in which someone dies from a tobacco-related illness.

Finally, Mongilio talks about a trend educators are seeing with children in middle and high school using e-cigarettes. In early April, the Thurmont Addiction Commission held a discussion with parents about vaping and its dangers.

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'A Marriage Con' Part Two

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The five-part series “A Marriage Con” details how a man from Western Maryland allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from multiple women, including declaring them dead and creating fake accounts in their names.

As the series concludes, producer Heather Mongilio discusses the final articles and the failures in systems established to stop crimes like the ones Williamson is alleged to have done. Mongilio also talks about what questions remain in Williamson’s cases and how

the ex-wives and girlfriends are rebuilding their lives.

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Reporting 'A Marriage Con'

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The five-part series “A Marriage Con” details how a man from western Maryland allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from several women, including declaring them dead and creating fake accounts in their names.

With the series at its mid-point, producer Heather Mongilio discusses her reporting of it, including how she connected with Williamson’s wives and verified their stories through court documents and police reports.

Later in the episode, Mongilio talks about why these cases stand out from previous domestic violence stories she has covered.

Download the episode this week to hear directly from the women about their experiences in marriages and relationships with Williamson. Williamson’s location remains unknown with multiple states looking for him.

Part two of this series in Frederick Uncut comes will be out later this week.

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Scout leaders honored to have girls joining scouts

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Local girls now have a new opportunity to participate in programs long reserved for boys.

In February, girls ages 11 to 17 were allowed to join Scouts BSA, which was rebranded from Boy Scouts of America. The girls can now earn the highest rank in scouting, Eagle Scout. A year earlier, girls were allowed to join Cub Scouts, the lower-level scouting organization open to first- through fifth-graders.

This week, producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey spoke with Monica Robyns, scoutmaster for Troop 3017, and Jeff Geyer, Francis Scott Key district commissioner, about the addition of girls to the scouting program.

“The things that Boy Scouts teach [are] not gender-specific at all,” Robyns said. “It’s basically teaching people how to be better humans, better leaders, people with integrity, and that’s genderless. It’s an honor. I love being part of this group of girls.”

Also in the episode, Robyns explained why she got involved in being a troop leader and Geyer talked about the new opportunities local girls can participate in through Scouts BSA.

Summit to address the opioid crisis

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Frederick County continues to face an opioid crisis that has ripped apart communities across the nation. More than 47,600 people died across the country in 2017 from an opioid-related overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In Frederick County in 2018, there were 55 fatal opioid-related overdoses and 279 non-fatal overdoses. Last week, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick County Health Department and Frederick County Chamber of Commerce held a joint summit to raise awareness of the opioid problem.

On this week’s episode, producer Heather Mongilio went to the summit and spoke with some of the leaders there. Jay Hessler, a coordinator for the health department’s local addiction authority, said the summit brought awareness as well as empowerment for those who may be struggling

Later in the episode, features reporter Kate Masters joins to discuss the upcoming edition of 72 Hours.

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Vigil attendees rally to support local Muslims following New Zealand Mosque shooting

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On Sunday evening, hundreds of community members gathered in the parking lot and on the lawn of the Islamic Society of Frederick to mourn the tragic loss of life to terrorism.

The vigil came nine days after a terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. A white supremacist with hateful views of Muslims and immigrants carried out the attacks during Friday afternoon prayers, killing 50 people and injuring 50 others.

On this week’s episode of Frederick Uncut, producer Wyatt Massey talked to those gathered at the vigil about their reactions to the news.

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The financial strains seniors face

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Fred Berney proposed to his wife Ellen approximately a week after they met at a dance.

The two have been married for more than 50 years, and owned a video business together. But in 2014, Ellen was diagnosed with spatial Alzheimer’s Disease. She has trouble drawing two intersecting rectangles, finding buttons on a remote, reading and knitting. While her eyesight is fine, her brain cannot see.

Ellen had to stop working due to her diagnosis, and, every day, Fred faces a dilemma. If he works at the video company, he confines his wife to a chair in front of the television. If he takes care of Ellen, he cannot complete projects and is unable to bring in money.

But the Berneys are not alone. Financial hardships are common among seniors as they face more health problems and limited incomes.

Producer and host Heather Mongilio spoke with the Berneys at their Walkersville residence about how they met and their current financial strains.

Then producer Wyatt Massey and features reporter Kate Masters join Mongilio in the studio to preview this week’s issue of 72 Hours.

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The so-called "Momo Challenge" and why so many people have bought into the hoax

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What started as a now-deleted tweet amplified widely by Kim Kardashian, the “Momo Challenge” went viral in the past week, especially among youth. The fake challenge claimed there were videos encouraging children to harm themselves or commit suicide spliced into otherwise regular youth content.

The image of Momo is actually that of a sculpture created by a Japanese artist. The challenge associated with the image has surfaced before but gained particular traction in the United States last week.

Parents and school districts across the country reacted as though the challenge was real, including Frederick County Public Schools. Three schools in the county sent out email notices about the challenge without mentioning the story was a hoax.

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The consequences of a Methodist church decision

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A week ago, a multinational conference of United Methodist Church leaders voted to toughen the church’s stance on sexuality, banning gay clergy and same-sex marriage. The conference was intended to bring a resolution to the church whose position on sexuality had become increasingly ambiguous. Previously, local churches and jurisdictions have cut their own path on whether to advocate for gay rights.

However, the decision added fuel to an already controversial topic. LGBTQ church members and advocates felt the church was denying them basic rights. More conservative church members felt their church was returning to being a pure organization.

On this week’s episode of Frederick Uncut, the Rev. Dr. Eliezer Valentín-Castañón, senior pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, talks about being caught in the middle of the debate. As he told his congregation on Sunday, clergy or churches that do not follow the agreed-upon stance on sexuality will be removed. He would be one of them.

Later in the episode, producer Heather Mongilio speaks with two board members of The Frederick Center who discuss how the recent church decision on banning LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage affected their membership.

What budget season means for your tax dollars

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As the temperatures begin to climb and the season changes, the Frederick County Public Schools Board of Education and County Council are entering their own season: Budget season.

Over the next few months, the two elected bodies will be deciding where to put funding for the upcoming year. To better understand how the budget process works and what will be prioritized this year, Frederick Uncut producer Emma Kerr sat down with Brad Young, Frederick County Public Schools Board of Education president.

Later in the episode, Steve Bohnel, county government reporter for The Frederick News-Post, joins the show to discuss the county budget process. Bohnel details how much of county spending is pre-determined each year and where the “discretionary funds” may be headed in the upcoming year.

Bohnel has previously reported about how new legislation in the near future from the council on school construction fees and impact fees is unlikely.

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Why vaccinations are still a public health priority

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An outbreak of measles in Clark County, Washington, has provided more fuel to an ongoing national debate about the role of vaccinations and the freedoms from immunization requirements.

More than 40 cases have been confirmed in Washington, and the state's governor, Jay Inslee, has declared a state of emergency. So far this year, measles cases have been confirmed in 10 states across the country.

This week, Frederick Uncut producer Wyatt Massey spoke with Kurt Seetoo of the Maryland Department of Health Center for Immunization to learn more about the importance of vaccines. The center oversees various immunization and vaccination programs in the state, such as the Vaccines for Children Program.

Plus, producer Graham Cullen takes a field trip with a recorder in hand to gather audio of a vaccine being administered- to himself.

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How to pick out the perfect Valentine's Day chocolate

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With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, some couples will be scrambling to find the perfect gift. Randy Olmstead, chef and owner of Perfect Truffle in Frederick, has a business designed not just to fill the need for last-minute gift but fulfill the dreams of local candy lovers.

The chef said couples should think about what flavors the other person likes instead of simply buying any box of chocolate. Instead, the holiday can be made special by what is bought, he said.

“I’m going on 32 years of marriage, and I’ve learned that just you don’t just buy something. There has to be reason behind it,” Olmstead said.

This week, Frederick Uncut producer Emma Kerr visited Perfect Truffle to learn about how the chocolates are made. Olmstead detailed how he picks the perfect combination, such as his white ginger pear tea. The chef said not all candy is made equal.

Listen to this week’s episode to learn how Olmstead uses 17 different chocolates in his blends, along with the process of melting chocolate to put it back in the perfect solid form.

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Redistricting the Urbana, Linganore and Oakdale feeder schools

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More than 300 parents and community members attended the first informational session about the upcoming school redistricting, which primarily touches the Urbana, Linganore and Oakdale communities.

This week, we hear from those parents and community members who worry a redistricting could mean significant changes for students and their families. Hosts Emma Kerr and Wyatt Massey talk about what the redistricting — affecting nearly half of all Frederick County Public Schools — will mean for those families and what to expect in the coming months.

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Counting Frederick's homeless and discussing the temporary deal to open the federal government

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Workers counted over 300 people who are experiencing homelessness in Frederick County last year, an increase of 70 people over the previous four years.

News-Post reporter Wyatt Massey accompanied Frederick Community Action Agency employees as they conducted the annual 2019 count, and he joins Frederick Uncut to describe the people, tents and belongings he came across along the way.

Host Emma Kerr also talks about the government shutdown as a temporary deal leaves federal workers — like Matthew Perry, who joins the podcast as well — feeling uncertain.

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The federal shutdown's economic impact on Maryland

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“[The federal government] sneezes and Maryland catches a cold.” That’s how Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot describes how intertwined the state is with the federal government.

Franchot calls in to discuss with cohosts Colin McGuire and Emma Kerr the ongoing government shutdown - now the longest in history - and what it means for not just the thousands of federal workers who live in Maryland, but also contractors and tertiary effects.

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Lessons from 2016 and 2018 elections with an eye on 2020

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced the formation of an exploratory committee on Dec. 31. Speculation of a presidential run continues to buzz around former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told Stephen Colbert she “might” run.

In this episode, elections expert and former Maryland Secretary of State John Willis breaks down lessons learned from 2016, voter turnout in 2018 and his take on who’s got a chance.

Don't forget to Ask Us Anything. Email ekerr@newspost.com or send us a direct message on Twitter.

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Previewing the 2019 General Assembly in Annapolis with Del. Carol Krimm

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Del. Carol Krimm, who was chosen to be the Frederick County delegation chairperson this session, sits down with hosts Colin McGuire and Emma Kerr to discuss expectations for this year’s General Assembly and what bills she will be pushing for.

Stick around at the end for a new segment, Ask Us Anything, where we solicit questions from listeners and answer them on the podcast. Email you questions to Emma at Ekerr@newspost.com.

And be sure to subscribe to the FNP Politics podcast feed to catch episodes of In Session where our Annapolis reporter will report on all the goings on during this session. You can find it on Apple Podcasts and Google Play

The Super Bowl of Sermons

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As America becomes a more secular nation, Christmas and Easter are increasingly becoming the only opportunities faith leaders have to reach an extended audience at church.

Wyatt Massey, religion reporter at the Frederick News-Post, sat down with Frederick Uncut hosts Colin McGuire and Emma Kerr to take listeners inside churches and behind the pulpit on Christmas — the Super bowl of sermons. While some faith leaders choose to keep things hopeful and merry, others push for messages about today’s social issues like immigration. While they all say they are seeking authenticity, just how should a faith leader preach to this sudden influx of less loyal followers?

Plus, on this holiday issue, hear a little bit about the hosts’ favorite Christmas memories and what this year of podcasts has meant to us.

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Modern Dating- Part 2 (the women)

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In part two of our two-part series on modern dating, two young Frederick-area women sit down with host Emma Kerr to get candid about the dating landscape today.

Bleak and exciting all at once, this week’s guests give listeners insight into the other side of the coin. Dates are easier to come by, but challenges like keeping safe and decoding the ghosting-like behavior of their male counterparts make for an episode that is just as depressing as it is hilarious. They say despite all of the ups and downs, they still believe some day they’re going to find the one — he’s just a swipe away.

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