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THE RECORD OF THE CHARLESTOWN RESIDENTS’ COUNCIL
December 4 2018
Residents’ Council Website: ccicharlestown.org
President Wendel Thompson called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:00 PM, December 4, 2018. The November 6, 2018 minutes were approved as distributed. 66 association members attended. Visitors included residents, Naomi McAfee and Charles Denton, members of the Board of Directors, and Nathan Blumberg, Associate Executive Director. The Council observed a moment of silence for those who have passed away.
Wendel called on the following officers and committee chairs for reports; the text of those reports appears following the formal minutes:
- Anne Erfle, Vice President
- Sherry Stewart, Secretary
- Jack Murnane, Treasurer
- Jean Eichenlaub, Chair of the Benevolent Care Committee
- Walt Howe, Chair of the Communications Committee
- Bill Tilles, Chair of the Conservation Committee
- Bob Caulfield, Chair of the Dining Committee
- Joan Green, Assistant Chair of the Finance Committee
- Ted Durr, Chair of the Grounds Committee
- Louise Dempsey, Chair of the Health Services Committee
- Diane Lyons, Chair of the Housekeeping Committee
- Seldra Funk, Chair of the Legislative/Political Committee
- Lois Kimber, Assistant Chair of the Maintenance & Engineering Committee
- Sam Cushman, Chair of the Resident Life Committee
- Janet Allan, Chair of the Safety & Security Committee
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: None
- NEW BUSINESS: Anne Erfle made the motion to approve a $50 honorarium for David Pollitt as a donation to the Benevolent Care Fund. Sherry Stewart seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Nathan Blumberg then presented “Words from Management” which appear below for those residents interested in reading the full text of the message.
President Thompson adjourned the formal meeting at 7:50 p.m.
Sherry Stewart, Residents’ Council Secretary
Hope Tillman, Residents’ Council Assistant Secretary
ANNOUNCEMENTS/ PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Wendel Thompson):
Mary Beverungen nominated Bob Ricketts for his work in the library. Bob completely reorganized all the books in the Ruth H. Houck Library of Charlestown. The project involved re-shelving all the books making the library much easier to use. He created signage with all illustrative location maps. The volunteers call Bob the “Energizer Bunny.” When he adopts a task that meets a need, he jumps right to it. The task is completed in a timely and superior manner with help from others. Bob surely demonstrated Team Leadership in getting this task done.
The second mission moment was submitted by Ryan Truitt, Grounds Department Supervisor. He wanted to honor the Invasive Plant Crew. Initiated by the late Bert Clegern, this group is now led by resident, Dave Callahan and numbers over 20 members. Every Saturday except for snow and rain, they rid trees and shrubs of invasive plants. They clear the earthen dam along Lake Charles. This is a very difficult task as there are numerous thorny locust trees there. In early spring they rid the campus of invasive Garlic Mustard. They create areas such as the Briar Patch seen just below St. Charles along Erickson Way to provide small animals protection from prey. In tandem with the Grounds Department, they have volunteered hundreds of hours to save trees and assist with long term preservation of Charlestown’s beautiful campus.
Residents were honored to hand out Staff Appreciation Fund checks to hourly employees today. Recipients were very happy to receive them.
Announcements: I have four announcements. We have a Legacy Tree in the Cross Creek Lobby that recognizes those who have bequeathed gifts to our Benevolent Care Fund. Have you seen the Legacy Tree in the Cross Creek Lobby? At 2:00 pm tomorrow, we will be adding donor leaves to the tree. Come celebrate with us. Refreshments are promised.
Second. Some of you have experienced problems with your Wi-Fi which I consider one of the high value benefits of living here. You will be glad to hear that our management is engaging with a nonErickson company to evaluate our Wi-Fi signal and connectivity issues with a report due next year.
My third announcement is that our normal January meeting date fell on New Year’s Day, so we have moved our January Council meeting to the following Monday, January 7 and our work session the following Monday, January 14.
My fourth announcement is that I have asked Walt Howe and Hope Tillman to be co-chairs of our Nominating and Elections Committee to prepare for election of new Council members next August.
VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Anne Erfle):
No Council Contact forms were received this month.
SECRETARY’S REPORT (Sherry Stewart):
At the November 12 Work Session Wendel began with an introduction of Mental Health resources here at Charlestown. All agreed that issues surrounding mental health are complex and wide ranging as several anecdotes described. Louise will have this issue on her agenda for the next Health committee meeting.
The discussion then switched to the issue of guns on campus and the concern of some residents and employees about their safety on campus. Mike Fischer has worked with the Baltimore County Police to arrange for a collection of guns from residents who want to turn them in. State rules and regulations were then presented. Sam Cushman moved to have a presentation for residents where information can be presented which would then be followed by a survey to determine resident interest and support. Anne seconded. This presentation would be informational in nature, explaining what other CCRCs have done and what things can be done legally but would not be designed to encourage discussion or opinions about guns or the control of guns at Charlestown. The motion passed with 15 in favor and 4 opposed.
TREASURER’S REPORT (Jack Murnane):
During the month of November, I issued a check in the amount of $300.00 and received a deposit in the amount of $10.00. The check was for the Staff Appreciation Fund and the deposit was a contribution to the Archives.
At the end of the month of November, the book balance amounted to $5,333.11 and the Bank balance amounted to $5,333.11. There was no difference.
There were no Bank charges.
BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub, Chair):
The meeting opened with the Philanthropy Department in attendance.
Naomi McAfee, new chair of the Benevolent Care Foundation, gave an update on their focus:
- Board is reviewing raising more funds for the Foundation to get it to the 10 Mil. Goal.
- Benevolent Care cost rising but still only includes 1% of the population.
- Naomi also reported that the investment income was lower this year, while Benevolent Care costs will reach over $1M/annually.
Discussion around year end giving – encouraging planned gifts/entrance deposit designations as an easy way to include Benevolent Care in your estate planning.
The 2018 Benevolent Care campaign finished up with total donations (including Gala) of $175,000 net with only 32% of the community participating. Discussion on how we get inclusion from the remaining 68%.
Jim Davis Foundation again donated $100,000 for Benevolent Care this year. The annual net income from Treasure Sales is ~$180K. Cars for Care had 10 cars donated year to date = $14,650 for BCF.
When the new Wilton Overlook building is complete, the area designated as Skilled Memory Care will hopefully be eligible for Medicaid.
The Philanthropy team is already talking about ideas for the Gala and the Tin Cup Golf Tournament. New for this year urge friends and family to sign on to the Amazon site: Smile.Amazon.com: and designate Charlestown Community, Inc. Amazon commits a Percentage of your purchase to BCF. Donor Tree Installation is December 5 at 2pm. This year we received $30K in cash and $10K in planned gift for an Emerald leaf purchase. They are available for purchase until 12/31/2018.
No meeting in December.
COMMUNICATIONS (Walt Howe, Chair):
The Communications Committee met on November 26th at 2:00 PM in Charlestown Square classroom 116. 12 members were present.
- Mary Evans drafted a revision to the “10 Ways to Stay Informed at Charlestown” document. She will incorporate suggested revisions and produce a final version.
- Public release of the new updated smart phone app for My Erickson was announced last week, and it is now available to all for download in the App stores. Like the computer version, My Erickson registration is required.
- Connectivity and slowdown problems with Wi-Fi have been observed and will be investigated by an outside consultant.
- Charlie Eichenlaub briefed on the latest changes to Evergreen topics and his article on the Board of Directors now in the resident website blog page.
- Hope Tillman, chair of the website subcommittee, provided the following items
- A Relook at the website design and structure continues. The current focus was on the front page, and it was agreed that a “Search” link will be added to the top white on blue menu to give search more visibility than the current hourglass icon.
- As a follow-up to the recent ELLIC class on the resident web site, four hands-on classes to teach how to use the resident site together with My Erickson will be offered in January and February. The first two will offer instruction on use on laptops and desktops, and the second two will feature use on tablets and smart phones.
- Development of a new resident survey of methods of communicating and obtaining information, last done in 2014 has begun. Once developed, it will be offered to all residents through paper surveys distributed to all and supplemented by an online option, for those who can take advantage of it. The goal is to find the best ways to communicate with all residents and get good information on preferred methods and how use of technology may be changing over time.
No meeting in December. Next meeting will be January 28, 2019.
CONSERVATION (Bill Tilles, Chair):
Attendance: Members of the Committee, one resident guest, and Earl Shaw (Housekeeping & Laundry Manager).
Both recycling and trash were higher than the monthly average for last year. Earl Shaw explained that there is typically more trash and recycling during the colder months of the year when fewer residents are away on vacation. In addition, trash numbers can increase in months when we have a Treasure Sale event.
A tri-fold bulletin board, showing what can be recycled and what cannot, is being displayed at our various restaurants. It is being moved after several days to a new location, so all residents will get a chance to see it. In conjunction with the tri-fold boards there is a recycling handout being prepared so residents can have a reference for recycling activities. The committee is trying to get the word to every resident to recycle items correctly and regularly.
The plastic bag collection process, where residents can place their plastic bags in the cardboard box in each laundry room, is going well. Several resident volunteers are assisting with collecting and taking the bags back to the Giant.
The next meeting will take place on December 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm in HR 142.
Diane Lyons questioned why Styrofoam cups which are not recyclable are now being used at the coffee stations. Bill Tilles pointed out that that was a question that should be raised for management.
DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield, Chair):
The Dining Committee met on November 19, 2018 with 13 members, Chef Victor Cirrincione and Ken Zahn, Dining Services Asst. Director attending.
Revised rosters and schedules were distributed. A compilation of reports from the various “Coffees with the Managers” was reviewed and it was requested that Aida Blanco be added to the distribution list for the coffee reports.
General – An “Evening with the Chef” program will start in January, the first one being at the Atrium. The program will give the chefs an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and perhaps lead to new menu items.
In response to questions about the variability of specific dishes from restaurant to restaurant it was pointed out that some dishes have many different recipes and each restaurant chef may choose a different one from the approved corporate menus.
Menu focus group meetings were held at the various dining room locations during early November to suggest items for the new menus coming in January.
Dining Town Hall is scheduled for November 30 at 11:00 am in the auditorium.
Dietary Focus Group – Issues raised at the meeting included the need for more sugar free or low sugar items; a request for a simple fruit plate at the Shortline, and Chef Victor’s noting that with Signature dining you have the ability to request what you may want deleted or added to a dish.
Atrium – Atrium patio scheduled to be open in the spring.
Chesapeake/Shortline – Renovations to Chesapeake will start in mid-January and last about 3 months. The work will be mostly cosmetic and phased in during that time. A meeting/event will take place in January to present the plans to residents.
Shortline to start Sunday brunch service beginning November 11.
A written critique of the newly reopened Shortline based on dozens of comments from residents and managers was reviewed.
Fireside – There are three new employees at the Fireside: Chris Lipp, bartender; Lauren Mayer, catering manager; and Miranda Edo, dietitian who started in Continuing Care. Dietary consultation can be scheduled by calling 601-8007 or 601-8058.
Refectory/Terrace – Elevator from kitchen to Refectory dining room has been repaired and service is returned to normal.
Fried chicken has gone over well at the Terrace, thanks to the new fryers.
During the period of May through October 11,000 more meals were served than during the same period last year. Outdoor patio dining closed for the winter.
The Dining Committee will not meet in December. The next meeting will be in Brookside CR1 on January 21, 2019 at 2:00pm.
FINANCE (Gil Fisher, Chair; Joan Green reporting):
The Finance Committee met on November 27 with Pam Stiner, Finance Director.
Pam presented the October Occupancy Rates and Financial Reports. Occupancy Rates for October were excellent—over 97 percent for independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Skilled nursing occupancy was almost 90 percent.
The October Financial Report shows operating revenue exceeding budget projections by $334,000. Operating income (derived by subtracting operating expenses from operating revenue) was similar amount over budget projections. Operating expenses were right on target.
For non-operating income, investment income was significantly lower. Pam pointed out that Charlestown has done better than the market as a whole because our investment strategy is conservative.
Turning to restricted funds, the Staff Appreciation goal for 2018 was exceeded, with a 66 percent participation rate. Eighteen residents received assistance in October for benevolent care. The expenditures were about $142,000. This is significantly higher than recent months and relates in part to three residents owing money for two months. It appears that monthly expenditures will stabilize at around $100,000 monthly.
Pam announced that Eric Schwab has been selected as the new Assistant Finance Director.
The Committee will not meet in December. The next meeting will be on January 29, 2019, at 9 am in Brookside Classroom 2.
GROUNDS (Ted Durr, Chair):
The Grounds Committee met on November 27th with 10 attendees. He reported on the St. Charles sycamore trees blocking drains if not cleaned and swept, a task for staff.
The report on Lake Charles still has not been received from the county.
Security problems for the shed were reported.
It was agreed to proceed with a study on the issues of rain, heat and environment change affecting Grounds and Lake Charles.
HEALTH SERVICES (Louise Dempsey, Chair):
The Health Committee met on November 13, 2018 with 12 members and 2 guests present.
It is estimated that 95% of Residents received the flu vaccine this year. The majority were vaccinated during the two Medical Center flu clinics.
In October the Food and Drug Administration approved Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) for the treatment of acute uncomplicated influenza in patients 12 years of age and older who have been symptomatic for no more than 48 hours. This is the first new antiviral flu treatment with a novel mechanism of action approved by the FDA in nearly 20 years and claims to kill the flu in 24 hours.
Dsuvia, a new opioid tablet that is 1,000 times more potent than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl, was just approved by the FDA as a fast-acting pain alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals. The painkiller Dsuvia will be limited to use only in health care settings such as hospitals, surgery centers and emergency rooms.
The Old/Unused Medication Take Back Initiative continues to collect large amounts of unused drugs from residents and staff. The next Dedicated Collection Day is scheduled for January 14th.
The current prescription plan for State retirees that was to be discontinued at the end of the year will continue through 2019.
Resources available for residents through the Medical Center include: Physician on Call 24/7, Social Worker, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric Nurse, alcohol and depression screening done regularly, and annual wellness visits. It is unclear to the Committee how alcoholism, depression, and drug problems are currently dealt with and we will seek further information from the Medical Center.
A member clipped a recently published article where diabetic needles and certain new unopened medication could legally be recycled under strict oversight in certain states. More information is needed regarding Maryland laws.
Renaissance Garden/Caton Woods
Staffing Changes; Gisele Kouevi, Assistant Director of Nursing; Allison Allen, Continuing Care Social Worker; Alexandra Compton, Assisted Living Manager. A new dietitian has been hired and will start in Continuing Care. It is expected that this will allow dietary consults for Independent Living residents in the near future.
Large print books and word find books were selected from the Treasure Sale and given to Caton Woods for resident reading areas.
The Continuing Care electronic newsletter has been renamed the CC Courier.
The Health Committee will not meet in December. Our next meeting is scheduled for January 8th at 11am in Brookside Classroom 2. Please note change in location.
HOUSEKEEPING (Diane Lyons, Chair):
The meeting was held on Friday, November 16th. Five members and Earl Shaw, Housekeeping Admin, attended.
St Charles: Carpet areas to be cleaned were identified.
Edgewood: Entrance level 2, stairwell #1 needs cleaning but high traffic from vendors and appliance storage room create difficulty in maintenance.
Chapel Court: Areas needing attention have been identified.
Parkview: What to do about excessive boxes of puzzles stacked in public area of 3rd floor?
Brookside: Water fountain on Terrace level needs to be cleaned due to construction.
Herbert’s Run: A 6th floor apartment displaying an American flag that is secured to the handrail will be checked by Earl. Inquired about the Unisex bathroom in Herbert’s Run lobby. It is scheduled to be repainted, etc. Lobby will also be refurbished with furniture and removal of dusty plastic plants.
Harbor View: Earl Shaw will meet with committee member to review laundry room abuse. There is a company that services all the lint filters on the dryers. They come monthly. In pool area, new drains are scheduled to be replaced in the shower stalls on December 16th.
The issue of corner guards on the elevators and convex mirrors inside the elevators was discussed. Per Earl it is now against Erickson policy to place both in and around the elevators. Safety hazard. However, the mirrors are permitted in the open areas.
Café area in Cross Creek. Contains small tables and chairs, coffee machine that offers regular, decaf coffee and hot water. Spilled cups are messy. Housekeeping will now maintain paper towels to clean up any spills. Sink removed because it is not supposed to be a dining area. However, the long counter top is there in case anyone wants to spread out food.
In order to facilitate repairs, we are advised to place a CCI work order with Maintenance and also contact the facilities coordinator for the building with any special concerns.
Question about movers damaging the elevators or doorways. If part of the Charlestown Let’s Move operation, Charlestown pays for damages. If a resident hires a private mover, and damages occur, the resident will be billed.
There will not be a meeting in December. Committee members are urged to report any carpet stains or other issues directly to the Facilities Coordinator or submit a CCI work order.
Our next meeting will be January 18th, 2019.
LEGISLATIVE/POLITICAL (Seldra Funk, Chair):
The Committee met on Wednesday, November 14 at 10:00 in BR-1.
Ann MacKay gave an update on MaCCRA and NaCCRA activities; Phyllis Lansing notified the committee of a Death with Dignity consensus meeting being held by the League of Women Voters.
State-wide, Baltimore County and Precinct election results were reviewed. Names, addresses and e-mails for elected officials will be posted campus-wide for residents’ use.
The issue of long waiting lines for voting at the Charlestown polls was discussed and letters will be sent to the county board of elections, the county executive and our county councilman detailing the problem.
This Committee will not meet in December.
Our next Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 9 at 10:00 in BR-1.
MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING (Jackie Graham, Chair; Lois Kimber, Assistant Chair, reporting):
The committee met on November 27th with General Services’ Kevin Crawford and Jessie Morgan. 8 members and 1 guest were present.
General Services Update:
- Repairs to Shuffle Board Court are scheduled for completion
- St Charles elevator issues have been completed; St Charles roof repair is being addressed as emergency replacement
- Cross Creek cooling towers scheduled for replacement in January
- New LED lighting, for pool area has been ordered
- Bridge to Charlestown Square is in stages of repair
- Mirrors will not be installed in new elevators
Issues to be Addressed:
- Repair of handicap stalls in the ladies’ rooms at Brookside [hallway] and area near Fireside (Since the meeting Fireside handicap stall has been repaired.)
- Removal of dead trees near pool area
- Repair to doors Bldg. 1 and 2
- Review water pressure in men’s room in pool area
- Repair of damaged walls near elevator on Main St and the Brookside pool room
- Cross Creek roofing run off still in review
There will be no meeting in December.
Our next scheduled meeting will be on January 22, 2019.
RESIDENT LIFE (Sam Cushman, Chair):
The committee met on November 21st. Four members were present, along with 4 visitors. It was suggested that the Council ask for a bulletin board in each elevator to give residents more access to Residents’ Council information. It was also suggested that Residents’ Council information on the lobby boards be lowered so that residents who are short or who use a wheelchair or EMV could read it more easily.
Pet Lovers: Participation in the Halloween parade was low with only one dog participating. Pet owners make up 7.5% of the residents. A small committee has been formed to study Charlestown pet policies. This committee met 3 weeks ago and will schedule follow-up meetings after a good general discussion; non-pet owners are represented on this policy committee. Donna Seely has agreed to be the liaison between the Pet Lovers group and the Resident Life Committee, but she does not want to chair the group. At present we are looking for someone to do that. Someone wanted to know how complaints are reported to the Council. Anne said a form is available online and such complaints come to her. We discussed establishing a committee to handle pet concerns specifically. Sam said the Council was discussing this and that this responsibility may fall under the Resident Life Committee.
Values and Harmonious Living: Sam suggested that a significant level of bias continues at Charlestown, much of it very subtle. Sam will work on collecting examples of this for the next meeting and we will discuss the best way to address it. Several efforts already exist in this regard: the Multi-racial Discussion Group, an LGBTQ Support Group, and the Journal Club/Discussion Group, but Sam suggested more needs to be done. A Dining Together group of diverse residents who eat together has been organized and we are hoping this approach will catch on throughout Charlestown.
Transportation: A very promising Focus Group Meeting was convened in November led by Dave Schuch and Mike Fischer. However, since that time we have seen no evidence of any action being taken to implement these changes. Mary Jo will ask Dave about this.
Resident Welcome and Condolence cards: under renovation.
EMV’s: A question was raised about training available for residents who purchase an EMV. Mary Jo will contact Janet Allan about this.
Firearms: The Residents’ Council voted to have an informational forum, to be followed by a residents’ questionnaire. Research is under way to find out what other Continuing Care Communities are doing about this issue.
Governance: Sam reported that a significant effort is ongoing in various forums for improving resident and management communication.
Our next meeting is scheduled for December 19 at 2:00 pm in HR142.
SAFETY & SECURITY (Janet Allan, Chair):
The Committee met on November 13 with 8 members, three guests, and Reyn Giese, Assistant Director of General Services.
A flyer announcing “The Take Back Your Gun” program in cooperation with the Baltimore County Police will be placed in resident cubbies. Residents interested in participating need to call security by 11/30/18. Janet reported that she has heard there was a robust response received by security as a result of this letter.
New rules concerning monetary fines to residents, employers and vendors for speeding and parking violations will be well advertised before implementation in 2019.
Parking lot striping and marking is in process at Brookside, Herbert’s Run and St. Charles. Further work will be based upon the weather. The Committee urged that pedestrian walkways also be restriped.
Uncivil behavior towards EMV users by residents will be discussed at the next General Services meeting.
Traffic signage is under study by Erickson Living with the goal of implementing national road sign standards in all Erickson communities. Since such a change is not imminent, the Committee requested that needed one way and pedestrian walkway signs be posted.
The Committee will not meet in December. The next meeting will be Tuesday January 8, 2019 in BRC1.
WORDS FROM MANAGEMENT (Nathan Blumberg):
Nathan said that the holiday celebrating at Charlestown was in full swing, with lots of decorations and over 50,000 lights.
The Staff Appreciation Fund was very successful this year raising $256,00 from 66% residents to be shared by 1,030 hourly employees, for an average of $250.
Nathan gave a shout-out to members of the Invasive Plant Crew who received a Mission Moment commendation.
Nathan noted that the MyErickson app is now available for smartphones.
Channel 970, 971, 972 have been offline since last week. Nathan showed the audience the broken power supply, cause of the outage. The box is over ten years old. They are looking at two possible solutions with the goal of getting us back online as quickly as possible. (1) They are in conversation with Comcast to see if it would be possible to update to HD quickly. (2) They are looking to replace the broken part, which will not be received until the end of next week. In the meantime, Nathan Blumberg recommended for residents to look for information on the resident website ccicharlestown.org and on MyErickson.
The Swift 911 text message emergency alert app is now available to residents. A flyer was put in resident cubbies the end of last week. Any questions should be given to Mike Fischer.
General Services announcements: Ribbon cutting for St. Charles elevators’ completion will be this Friday, December 7th. Brookside and Herbert’s Run renovations are moving along very well.
Resident meal utilization is up 2% more than last year.
Phase 2 of Chesapeake renovation to be discussed at the Dining Services Town Hall this Friday at 2 PM. Renovation will begin on January 16.
Nathan Blumberg agreed to look into the use of Styrofoam cups brought up earlier in the meeting.
Nathan wished residents a happy holiday.