Blog Purpose

The purpose of the blog is to report on the activities of the clubs and organizations and to post details about community announcements that are too long for the Announcements page. Comments and content are welcomed. Email the webmasters at

The BLUE heading is a link to more information about the post.

Nature Trail Committee Update

Nature Trail Committee Update

Our biggest item of interest is that our Committee has voted to rename and expand Wildflower Day. The event will now be called the Charlestown Nature Festival, and it will still be held in April, this time on Thursday, April 26, 2018, just after Earth Day. The event has been renamed not only because we are seeing fewer wildflowers along the Nature Trail, but also because we want to expand its perspective. Fully two dozen campus and outside organizations will be invited to participate with this Committee in the broadened springtime festival, which will be “Celebrating Charlestown’s Natural Environment”.

Maintenance improvements have been made on the Nature Trail, and more shade-tolerant native perennials have been planted on the hillside below the St. Charles building, in hopes of stabilizing the erosion in that area. Olaf the Troll, who was stolen from his lair in the hillside spring near the Trail last year just before Wildflower Day, is being replaced. But he will not be positioned until spring, so he won’t have to weather the ravages of winter. The gardens associated with the Nature Trail Committee are now all bedded down for the winter. New wildflower and tree signs are being ordered to replace the old ones which are in disrepair. The new signs will be in place before the spring Nature Festival. A Birder Group, yet to be officially named, is forming with support from the NTC. Anyone interested should contact Rick Jones at 410-314-9014.

Last summer we lost one of our founding members, resident arborist Harper Griswold. He is truly missed, and a memorial tree is planned on campus in order to celebrate his time with us.

The next meeting of our Committee will be at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 in the Cross Creek Crafts room. Please join us if interested.

Bert Clegern
Nature Trail Committee

Vial-of-Life Program, Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, and DNR Bracelets/Pendants

The Vial-of-Life provides a means by which every resident of Charlestown can ensure that the Charlestown Security and Emergency Services have up-to-date medical and personal information that they need when responding to a medical emergency. It consists of a Vial-of Life form, a special container for that form, and a special sticker to identify the container. You can obtain these items from Charlestown’s Security and Emergency Services office.  The form is provided HERE for your convenience, especially if any medication changes require that you update your information.

The EMS crew emphasizes the importance of keeping this information up-to-date, inside your refrigerator door. Equally important, is placing a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), if you have one, with your Vial-of-Life, on the front of your refrigerator door or on the back of your apartment front door. A MOLST form can be obtained ONLINE, from your physician or from the Medical Center, but must be signed by a physician.

However, this form cannot always help you if a life-threatening emergency occurs when you are away from your apartment home. Lisa Roeder, Charlestown Social Work Manager, notes in a back page article of the November 2017 Sunburst, if you do not have this form on your person, the EMS responders must do full CPR and transport to a hospital. To alleviate this situation, you can get a DNR (Do not resuscitate) pendant or bracelet to wear at all times.

The Vial-of-Life form is accompanied by narrative explaining the value and importance of the program.  For more information on MOLST and ordering a DNR bracelet/pendant, see the Maryland MOLST website and talk to your physician (at the Medical Center or elsewhere) or your Resident Services Coordinator/Social Worker.

Gatehouse Operations FAQ

Gatehouse Frequently Asked Questions

In light of recent events around the world, we are taking a conservative approach to enhance the safety and security of our community. We have reviewed our standard operating procedures with our security team and expect them to use professional discretion when screening visitors at the gate.

Q: Have security procedures at the front gate changed?
A: No, the front gate procedures have not changed.

Q: How do I get my visitors pre-verified to enter Charlestown?
A: Please call Security Dispatch at 410-737-8806 in advance of your unregistered visitor’s arrival. You will be asked to provide the following information: the name of the visitor; the approximate date/time of arrival, and the location where to direct your visitor.

Q: Do pre-screened visitors need to be verified to enter Charlestown?
A: No. Registered visitors that have already been pre-verified by Security and issued a unique numbered registration pass (sticker or hang tag) to aid in their entry will be admitted into the Community.

Q: How does my visitor get on Campus if Security was not notified that they were coming?
A: Unregistered visitors will be stopped at the gate. Security and Emergency Services Officers will obtain the visitors name(s) and determine the reason for the visit. The SEO should then complete the verification process by calling the individual being visited. Once approved, the SEO will issue the appropriate passes and open the gate to allow entry.

Q: What happens if Security cannot reach you to verify the visitor?
A: The Officer will inform the person that they will need to get authorization before access can be granted. The visitor will be asked to exit the property.
If there are further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Mike Fischer, Director, General Services at 410-737-8814 or Acting SES Manager Keith Feen at 410-737-8838, extension 601-8607.

Comprehensive Emergency Medical Program

Comprehensive Emergency Medical Program

Charlestown implemented a comprehensive emergency medical program July 1, 2017. The new program allows Charlestown Safety and Emergency Services (SES) staff to consult with the Medical Center on-call physician as necessary in making the determination to transport to a hospital. They are also supplied with more diagnostic equipment.  Before July 1, 2017, the EMT license required an automatic transport to the hospital.

To implement the program, all SES Officers have been trained and certified as Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) by the National Safety Council. The curriculum teaches first responders to:

  • Assess patients
  • Address airway and breathing emergencies, including training on ventilation devices and oxygen
  • Respond to cardiac emergencies, including CPR and automated external defibrillation training
  • Treat illness and injury, including medical emergencies, such as bleeding and shock, soft-tissue injuries, and muscle, bone, head and spinal injuries
  • Perform remote-location first aid and EMS Operations

The  SES officers carry more advanced diagnostic equipment to better assess and diagnose your condition. Some of these devices include pulse oximeters (indicating your level of oxygen saturation throughout the body), glucose meters (indicating your sugar level), along with blood pressure cuffs, and stethoscopes. They will continue to have bedside access to trauma kits, oxygen and AED’s. Additionally, this level of training will now allow our personnel to be more versed in patient assessments to include: the Cincinnati Stroke Scale, the Glasgow Trauma Scale, and others. The EMR’s also carry Glucose Paste (to elevate sugar levels), Aspirin (for strokes/heart attacks) and may assist you in administering epinephrine, as available. Additional medications are currently under review.

A new dispatch process will send two EMR certified SES officers to all medical calls of significance. While on-scene, one Officer will perform a full assessment, while the other is gathering information from the Vial of Life, medical records, allergies and other related necessities. The program has the capability of contacting an on-call Charlestown Medical Center doctor 24/7 as well as accessing the electronic medical record as needed.

Alert Line

Alert Line

As one of the many ways we try to keep residents informed, Charlestown has an Alert Line, 410-314-7944. This line is updated daily, Monday through Friday, and offers residents emergency information pertinent to the community. It is updated on weekends and holidays only in the event of an emergency.

Recently, we have had several phone calls to our apartments alerting us of situations on campus through the Swift Reach Network. This new system replaces the outdated speaker system that was used to alert residents of emergencies. It can send alerts campus-wide or to the specific area of an incident. The campus-wide power outage earlier last month brought several important items to our attention about using this new system effectively. Of primary importance is that the call line directory includes every resident in independent living and is up-to-date.

Read more about the Swift Reach Network Alerts Residents about Campus Emergencies and Power Outages

Blood Pressure Clinic

image of a blood pressure monitor

Free Blood Pressure Clinic
First and third Wednesday of each month
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

  • 1st Wed. – Cross Creek Card Room
  • 3rd Wed. – Charlestown Square Card/TV Room

Disposal of Unwanted Medications

Unwanted medication needs to be disposed of properly. There are two ways to do so.

Image of drug prescription bottle
  1.   Baltimore County Prescription Drug Take Back offers a free drop box for your outdated or no longer used prescription drugs. It is located outside Precinct 1 Wilkens – 901 Walker Avenue across from the District Court Building and at the Wilkens Ave. entrance to the UMBC campus.
  2. The Charlestown CVS Pharmacy stocks a supply of special envelopes complete with prepaid postage and already addressed to a DEA approved collector who safely and securely collects and disposes of pharmaceuticals containing controlled substances and other medicines.  When a resident has outdated or unused prescription medicines (pills and/or capsules) to be disposed of, he/she can go to the Charlestown CVS Pharmacy and request a special mail-back envelope.   Medicines should be removed from the original containers before putting them in the envelope. The envelope containing those medicines should then be sealed and placed in the outgoing U.S. Mail. This convenient and environmentally friendly alternative disposal option is offered at no cost to residents or to Charlestown. 

Five Charlestown Residents are Honored in 2017 Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

Five Charlestown Residents honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame
Tony Ellis honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Luncheon
Howie Nixon honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame

Five Charlestown Residents honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame Luncheon

Tony Ellis honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame Luncheon

Howie Nixon honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame Luncheon

Sara Nixon honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame
Valerie Ponsini honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame
Roberta Poulton honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame

Sara Nixon honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame Luncheon

Valerie Ponsini honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame Luncheon

Roberta Poulton honored at 2017 Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame Luncheon