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March 5, 2019
Residents’ Council Website:

President Wendel Thompson called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:00 PM on March 5, 2019. The February 5, 2019 minutes were approved as distributed.

55 association members attended. Visitors included residents, Naomi McAfee, Charles Denton and Karline Tierney, members of the Board of Directors.  The Council observed a moment of silence for those who have passed away.

Minutes for February were approved as submitted.

Wendel called on the following officers and committee chairs for reports; the text of those reports appears following the formal minutes:

  • Sherry Stewart, Secretary
  • Jack Murnane, Treasurer
  • Jean Eichenlaub, Chair of the Benevolent Care Committee
  • Walt Howe, Chair of the Communications Committee
  • Sherry Stewart, Secretary, for Bill Tilles, Chair of the Conservation Committee
  • Bob Caulfield, Chair of the Dining Committee
  • Gil Fisher, 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
  • Walt Howe, Co-Chair of the Nominating and Elections Committee



President Thompson adjourned the formal meeting at 7:40 p.m.

Sherry Stewart, Residents’ Council Secretary
Hope Tillman, Residents’ Council Assistant Secretary



Mission Moments: We have two residents we want to honor as moments when we accomplish our mission. Sharon Stewart nominated Tony Ellis for his contribution to the Charlestown Community.  She states, “Residents refer to Tony as Mr. Volunteer.” Tony coordinates indoor and outdoor bocce ball games.  He coordinates setting up the Annual Putterland event that may be held in the summer this year. He does apartment cleanouts for the Treasure Sale and organizes delivery of Treasure Sale Purchases to residents. You may see Tony walking the Nature Trail as the liaison between the Nature Trail Committee and the Grounds Department.  Tony helps carry the Charlestown banner in the Catonsville 4th of July parade. With all that Tony does, he is a true asset to the Charlestown Community.

Bob Caulfield selected Evelyn Chesnutt as a candidate for Mission Moment recognition.  Bob writes “For many years Evelyn has been the guiding light of the Harmonizers.”  For most of the year on Tuesdays and Thursdays you will find her in the Music Room with 40 plus residents practicing for their two concerts in the Spring and December.  She strives to get the best out of the varied array of talent.  As the conductor of the Harmonizers, she selects the music, arranges for instrumental accompanists, and the myriad of other details involved in making this program successful. Evelyn not only focuses on the musical abilities of the group, she also follows up with members, who may miss practices due to illnesses or other extenuating circumstances. She is deeply concerned about the entire well-being of the membership and will lead the group in prayer for those in need.   It has been said that music and singing enhances the soul and the joy of living.  If that be true, Evelyn has given our community a great gift.  Evelyn is a member of the Benevolent Care Committee and in that capacity offers her support for fund raisers and promotional activities. Being the wife of a Rotarian, Evelyn practices the motto of “Service Above Self.” You will see her volunteering at numerous events such as the Rotary Book Collection.

Can we call the Follies a mission moment? Well, we certainly did a lot of sharing our gifts that celebrated a community with lots of laughing. Isn’t laughing a celebration of life! Lorraine Varacalle was the spark behind the follies. Martha DeSantis got the biggest laugh as we watched her exercise, finally discovering that what she was doing was getting into her leotards. And Linda Holfelder surprised us with the reason she loves jogging. Chris Buppert told a story about stinky soldiers who were told they needed to change their under wear, so the Sergeant gave the order: Baker, you change with Anderson; Jones, you change with Green.

Announcements: (1) The Council is sponsoring a forum on firearms March 13 at 10:00 am here in the auditorium presented by the Baltimore County Police Department. This is an informational forum about community safety with firearms.

(2) The Council will meet with the Board of Directors March 6 to tell them about the forum and other related efforts of the Council.

(3) The Voices of the Council, a review of this meeting presented by me and Anne Erfle, the Vice President will not be recorded this week due to renovation of the TV studio. This summary is usually available on Friday. To review this meeting, you will have to wait for the Saturday showing of the taped recording.


No items to report.


SECRETARY’S REPORT (Sherry Stewart):

At the February 11 Work Session our first guest was Sherry Parrish, Director of Resident Life, who explained what we could do, might do, should do and should not do when assisting other residents needing help navigating and finding what they need. David Gearing, Continuing Care Administrator and Lauren Price, Memory Care Manager, then joined us to talk about Wilton Overlook and among other things, its new features that would allow floor changes from skilled nursing to memory care to assisted living as demand for rooms changes. The remainder of the meeting was devoted to business such as attendees for the April conference at Oak Crest, Gil Fisher’s request that committees consider cost savings in their suggestions for the 2020 budget and the scheduled March 13 Forum on Community Gun Safety.


During the month of February, I issued a check in the amount of $270.00. No deposits were made. The check was for transportation to Annapolis, MD, so members of the Maryland Continuing Care Residents Association (MaCCRA) could meet with District 12 Legislators.

At the end of the month of February, the book balance amounted to $2,672.84 and the bank balance amounted to $2,672.84.  There was no difference.

Reminder: Starting April 1st, we will be collecting Association annual dues.


BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub, Chair):

The meeting was held on Wednesday, February 27th, with Patti Santoni, Emily Fowler and Lisa Zehring from the Philanthropy Department.

Patti presented a review of 2018 income: More than $628,000 was contributed to the Benevolent Care Fund and Foundation. At year-end the Fund and Foundation had $5.3 million in cash and investments plus $3.8 million in unrealized planned gifts.

An average of 14-18 residents per month receive benefits.  Costs rose to over $1 million annually.

The Treasure Sales, our largest fundraising group raised more than $181,000 with 75% going to Benevolent Care.

With the remodeling of the Chesapeake and Conference Room our Treasure Sales will be affected.   We will lose 1 (possibly 2) large Treasure Sale events. To lessen the impact, Treasures Unlimited Furniture Store and the Ladies Boutique will now be open to the public on the first Saturday of the month from 10:00 am until 1:00 PM.  Discussion being had on smaller “pop-up” sales over the next few months to sell off inventory since storage space is an issue.

Last year 134 apartments were emptied by Treasure Sale volunteers!  The Philanthropy Department has created a new Clean Out Form which spells the timeline for clean-outs to families so they are aware.

Coming events are:

  • July 8 – Tin Cup Tournament to be held at Rolling Road Country Club.
  • September 27 – GALA with a magic theme. The same band will perform.
  • Putterland: Could potentially be a summer event or just delay til 2020.

Committee members are asked to bring at least 1 new fundraising idea to our next meeting.

Upcoming presentations are:  Estate Planning One Year After Tax Reform, March 26th, 1 pm, Auditorium led by attorney Steven Bailey.

Financial Assurance, April 30th, 11 am, Auditorium led by Nathan Blumberg, Pam Stiner & Patti Santoni.

Next meeting is March 27th 2019, CTS 116 at 2:00 PM.

COMMUNICATIONS (Walt Howe, Chair):

The Communications Committee met on February 25th at 2:00 PM in Charlestown Square classroom 116. Attending the meeting were 15 residents and 5 Erickson staff members.

  1. The announced purpose of the meeting was to review the status of Wi-Fi at Charlestown and the projected actions proposed to solve the many problems reported by residents. Brian Gentile, Regional IT Manager for Erickson, and Jay Romero, Erickson Vice President for Enterprises Architecture and IT Operations, attended and spoke of plans to improve Wi-Fi at Charlestown.
  2. Wi-Fi refers to the wireless connection used to connect devices to the Internet and to each other. It is used by computers, tablets, smart phones, and an ever-increasing number of other devices, such as printers, cameras, smart speakers like Alexa, TV streaming devices like Roku, thermostats, and more.
  3. There are access points providing Wi-Fi connections all over campus. They include connections in the boxes in the wall outside apartments, and connections mounted in the ceilings of multi-purpose rooms and corridors. These are connected by optical fiber cables back to a central point in Brookside.
  4. There was a very active discussion of the problems now being encountered by residents in connecting to and using Wi-Fi with their devices. St. Charles residents, in particular, have problems, but problems can and do occur anywhere on the campus. Some residents reported repeated unsuccessful attempts by Charlestown technical staff to solve their problems. The Erickson representatives agreed that there were serious problems, and that up to now, the local technicians did not have the tools and equipment needed to diagnose and solve problems.
  5. Problems have changed over time as Wi-Fi usage has increased. The problem is not that the overall system lacks enough capacity, but that there are many dead spots and areas with weak connections.
  6. Erickson plans to work with an outside contractor to systematically identify and solve the problems. They are beginning with a few selected problem apartments to diagnose and solve their problems. They will then extend the work to more apartments to get a better picture of the variety of problems and determine solutions that will provide good connections for everyone. The Erickson reps say they are committed to finding a solution.
  7. The Erickson representatives agree to return to next month’s Communications Committee meeting to report on their findings and their progress. They emphasized they want to hear from people with connection problems. The Communications Committee has agreed to be the resident conduit for this project. Let us hear from you!
  8. The Communications Committee will next meet on March 25 at 2:00 PM in CTS Classroom 116, preceded the hour before by the Website Subcommittee.


CONSERVATION (Bill Tilles, Chair):

In attendance at the meeting on February 19 were six members of the Committee, 1 guest, and Michelle Fenn (Housekeeping Supervisor, Erickson).

Regarding recycling and trash pick-up, the committee reviewed the Recycling and Trash Monthly Statistics for the month of January 2019. Recycling was approximately equivalent to the monthly average. Trash was about 11 % higher, which we are looking into.

Michelle Fenn reported that work continues on the new recycling handout for residents describing what can and cannot be recycled. The finished product must be approved by management prior to distribution. The goal for distribution to residents is summer 2019.

The on-campus plastic bag collection project continues to operate well, thanks to the on-going efforts of several resident volunteers. February’s conservation article in the Sunburst has also resulted in greater resident participation in our plastic bag collection efforts.

New signs have been posted in the laundry rooms explaining what types of plastic bags and wrappings CAN and CANNOT be accepted for recycling via the local grocery store chains. We’re hoping this cuts down on the items that residents are putting into the plastic bag collection boxes that shouldn’t be put there.

Michelle Fenn reported that the Charlestown Housekeeping Department has arranged for a spokesperson from Waste Management, Inc., Charlestown’s trash disposal company, to make a presentation to residents about recycling. This presentation is scheduled to occur on April 22 (Earth Day) in the auditorium. It will be advertised both in the Sunburst and via a cubby-stuffer.

Residents may wonder what happens to plastic when it is recycled. Some examples are thread for clothing such as Gore fabrics used in Gore-Tex products and plastic panels used for benches and decks.

The next meeting of the Conservation Committee will be at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 in HR 142.

DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield, Chair):

The Dining committee met on February 18, 2019 with Aida Blanco and Ken Zahn representing Charlestown Management.

Reports of the various subcommittees and “Coffee with the Managers” for the month of February were reviewed.

Notable comments and discussion items included:

  • The impact of the renovations to the Chesapeake Dining Room. Comments included—cozy, intimate, tight and a mindset of patience with the prospect of the upcoming improvements.
  • The dining room focus group meetings relevant to the new Spring menus.
  • Emphasis made to have residents attend the managers’ meetings each month in each of the dining venues as well as the Dining Services Town Hall. A wealth of information is always presented at these meetings and it is also a time to ask questions.
  • Several residents made comments about new offerings at the Shortline: a fruit plate every day, pizza crust made from cauliflower for residents with gluten issues, to name a few.
  • New two-way radio usage at the Atrium is being evaluated as a means to improve service.
  • Shortline provides food delivery service to Herbert’s Run, Brookside and St Charles.
  • The servers will bus the tables at Shortline. You don’t have to do it yourself.
  • There are 44 candidates for the Scholars program.
  • Fireside will be recognizing an employee of the month on the second Tuesday of each month.
  • Refectory delivery service will include the buildings between the bridge at the end of Edgewood and the bridge at the end of Harbor View.
  • More emphasis is being placed on buffet items at the Refectory in order to avoid running out of items. In addition, there is a need to replenish food in smaller quantities so as to sustain a fresher look to the food displayed. A new process is also being put in place to avoid breaking down the buffet too soon.

A recap of the “process” and sequence of taking the meal order at the various dining venues was reviewed with dining committee members and management.

The next Dining Committee meeting will be in Brookside Classroom1 on March 18 at 2 PM.

FINANCE (Gil Fisher, Chair):

The Finance Committee met on February 26 with Eric Schwab, Assistant Finance Director.

Eric presented the Occupancy and Financial reports for January. Occupancy rates were excellent in all categories. The skilled nursing occupancy rate was about 93 percent, which is a nice improvement.

The January total operating revenue exceeded budget projections by $336,000. Skilled nursing operating revenues exceeded budget projections by $129,000, in large part due to the occupancy numbers in skilled nursing. Operating expenses were $112,000 under budget projections. None of the expenses were particularly notable. Looking at non-operating items, the strong market in January gave an increase of $3.7 million in investment income.nbsp;

Turning to restricted funds, in January, 17 residents received benevolent care assistance, and these expenditures totaled about $115,000. The Scholars Fund disbursed almost $60,000 in January.

Eric Schwab also covered some questions from the January meeting. The Residents’ Council might find interesting that participation in the 20-meal plan has been rising gradually over the last three years with 38 percent of residents participating in the 20-meal plan in 2018. The reasons for the increase are not clear, but residents reducing their costs might be one reason.

The Committee very briefly discussed the meeting regarding Lake Charles on February 25. This was the first of what will be many meetings to discuss future plans. It was noted that Michael Fischer outlined actions that must be taken in any case in the near term, including a new source for electricity, replacement of pumps in the Lake, and residents’ safety improvements required by the Heritage pendants security system. Cost estimates have to be developed for any work to be done.

The next Committee meeting will be on March 26 at 9 am in Brookside Classroom 2.

GROUNDS (Ted Durr, Chair):

The Grounds Committee met on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 with Marty Tewksbury presiding.  In attendance also were 4 members, Ryan Truitt, Charlestown Grounds, and 1 guest.

There was a review of the Lake Charles study report by DMW given by John Ogaitis.   This is the first of many meetings concerning Retention Pond 004, so labeled by Baltimore County.  It was also pointed out that the idea of incorporating fresh water from Herbert’s Run into the pond was banned years ago by the Corps of Engineers.

Barbara Garner, attending in place of her husband, Bob, recommended contacting Rails to Trails about the most desirable lake trail surface.  Bob Dunker stated that he thought primary users want to leave it as it is.  Parking area for buses will open up a view of the lake from the road.  A lake sign would be helpful for awareness and sales.  Dredging could cause leaks.  The County would pay for this procedure. Erosion problems were discussed.

Lucy McKean presented two audits to Ryan.

Three bids from landscapers are due back soon.  A stump is to be ground out from a recently fallen tree.  Another stop sign is to be added near the cemetery, making three along the road.

The next meeting of the committee will be Tuesday, March 26 at 10 A.M.

HEALTH SERVICES (Louise Dempsey, Chair):

The Health Committee met on February 12, 2019 with 9 members and 3 guests.

Dr. Pelczar explained that Maryland has widespread but fewer cases of the flu than expected and lower than the same period 2016-2018. The main virus seen this season is Influenza A or H1N1 at 98%. The 2% balance is Influenza B.  He also reminds us that the flu season has not yet peaked at this time. It is extremely important to be diligent about hand washing. Posters in the public restrooms show the proper way to wash hands to minimize spreading viruses.  In addition, posters showing the proper way to contain coughs and sneezes are being posted.

The Old/Unused Medication Collection Initiative continues to collect large amounts of unused drugs from residents and staff.  Therefore, we will continue to schedule collections quarterly. Staff members are also encouraged to participate by bringing in their old/unused medication. We will work to better communicate collection dates to staff.

As we reported last month, an AA group has recently been activated at Charlestown. This is an important resource for those who are addicted or have a problem with alcohol. If you have a desire to quit drinking, perhaps they can help. They meet in the Jeremiah Room of Pastoral Services every Saturday at 10am. For more information, call 410-314-2529. It is important to understand that alcoholism is a medical condition and not a moral issue.

The Health Services committee reached out to the Baltimore Intergroup Council of AA who agreed to present an informational forum here at Charlestown.  We asked Judi Welsh, Resident Services Coordinator, to make contact regarding details and arrangements.  As a result of those efforts, an AA educational forum has been scheduled for Thursday, March 21st at 11am in the Auditorium.

The lack of privacy between doctors and patients in the specialty suite continues to be an issue. Recently, the issue was raised again by a resident who sent a copy of the HIPAA regulations to the Medical Center. The Practice Administrator responded that he would bring the issue to the attention of Administration.

The Nature Festival is scheduled for April 25th. The Health Services Committee will again participate.  Dr. Pelczar will utilize some of the information from his March 1st ELLIC class on ticks and mosquitoes at the Nature Festival.

The annual regional RAC meetings will be held at Oak Crest on April 17th. Health Services is on the agenda for that meeting and the Chair of the HS Committee will be among those attending.

Information from an issue of Epidemiology magazine regarding urinary tract infections and the need for identifying specific antigens to insure appropriate antibiotic treatment was stressed. It is well known that UTI’s can have potential serious effects on the elderly population.

There was a detailed discussion regarding the rising costs of Insulin for diabetics.  Some patients are rationing their supply of the medication resulting in severe adverse effects.

It was noted that Walmart sells human insulin at low cost and without a prescription. This is an older version of the glucose-moderating hormone, whereas most insulin-dependent diabetics are currently prescribed insulin analogs that have evolved to help prevent dangerous swings in blood-glucose levels. It is extremely important to fully understand how the action of each insulin works before you attempt to use it.

Dr. Bowlin announced to her patients that she would be leaving the Medical Center Practice.


The following new staff members have been added to Continuing Care:

Franklin Richburg, Healthcare Counselor
Gisele Kouevi, Asst. Dir. Of Nursing
Allison Allen, Social Worker
Alexandra Compton, Assisted Living Manager
There is now a Nurse Supervisor available 24/7.

The next Health Services meeting will be on March 12th at 11am in BR CR2.

HOUSEKEEPING (Diane Lyons, Chair):

The meeting was held on Friday, February 15,2019.   Michelle Fenn, representing Housekeeping Department and 1 guest attended.   Reports from the various buildings were reviewed.  Michelle Fenn commented on the difficulty of hiring a replacement for Don, Harbor View floor tech. Applicants often do not show up.

Reports in most buildings call for spot cleaning of carpet. A situation with a resident putting out trash bags on Saturdays was addressed by a visit to the apartment.  It appears that aides are placing the bags out. A note with specific instructions was left. A US flag is draped over the railing in Herbert’s Run. Should it be removed?  With Bldgs 7, 8 and 9 beginning refurbishment and Brookside underway, there were no specific reports from that area.

The problem with people disposing of their household trash in the outside containers especially on weekends was discussed.  They are overflowing and since these containers are emptied twice a week, can cause odors and attract vermin. Other than actually confronting residents using the outside containers, a Sunburst article will address this in the April issue.

Michelle noted these problems and also informed us that on April 22, there will be a meeting with the Waste Earth Management open to residents.

Next Meeting is Friday, February 15, 2019.


A meeting was held February 13, at 10:00 in Brookside Classroom 1.

Three shuttle trips were arranged for the following legislative/political events:

  1. Participation by the MaCCRA Chapter at Charlestown in MaCCRA Day at Annapolis, which was held on March 6.
  1. The Baltimore County Town Hall at UMBC which will be held tomorrow night.
  1. A forum for United Seniors of Maryland which is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, in Annapolis.

The Committee voted on and approved the letter requesting an additional ballot scanner.

Committee members are tracking 17 legislative bills which are of interest to Charlestown residents.

Information, updates and videos on these bills are posted on for viewing by residents.

Because the Firearms presentation will be held at 10:00 on March 13, which is our scheduled meeting time, the Legislative/Political committee will attend this event in the auditorium in lieu of our regular meeting.  Our legislative tracking system will continue to be handled through e-mails for the remainder of the session.

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 10 at 10:00 at Brookside Classroom 1.

MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING (Lois Kimble, Assistant Chair):

The committee met on Tuesday, February 26th with General Services’ Kevin Crawford, Jessie Morgan and 7 members.

General Services Update:

Lighting in pool area is being addressed.

Water pressure in men’s shower, in pool area, has been adjusted.

Adjustments to interior doors, in pool area and the bldg. 9 exit doors, have been completed.

Cross Creek roofing run-off, at deck area, is to be reviewed

Various interior repairs, throughout Brookside, are in process.

New Issues:

Concerns and suggestions concerning the Handicap stalls, in ladies’ restrooms, throughout Charlestown.

Next meeting, Tuesday, March 26th, 2:00 PM General Services Conference Room.

RESIDENT LIFE (Sam Cushman, Chair):

At the February 20 meeting, eight members were present along with two visitors.

Donna Seely reported that Reyn Giese, new manager of Safety and Security, was at the last Pet Lovers meeting.  He was very open and cooperative. Visitors are allowed to bring pets on campus, but should register them.  They are subject to all campus rules and regulations.  Questions were raised about pets in RG and Caton Woods. Two cats are currently in Caton Woods but no dogs.  Kathleen Hart should be contacted and asked about a training program for pets who wish to visit RG.  The Pet Lovers group will sponsor an SPCA week at the beginning of April by providing tables at each restaurant on a rotating basis.

Pat Kasuda and Phyl Lansing reported that Mission Moments nominations are being submitted and that the Dining Together program is going well.

Sam Cushman reported that several discussion groups are continuing at Charlestown regarding the various “isms”. These include the Multi-Racial Discussion group, Journal Club/Discussion Group, Pollination Group, LGBT Discussion Group, as well as the Dining Together group.  80-90 residents attended a recent ELLIC presentation on talking about racism.  Interestingly, attendance at these seems to be mostly the same people all the time.  It was suggested that publicity listing all of these opportunities might increase awareness.  It is still possible that something could be done together with the Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Clara Parker is beginning an “Embracing Wellness” program.  Articles will be appearing in the Sunburst each month.

Phyl Lasing reported that the Charlestown Sandtown Connection” is doing well.  A block party is planned on June 1st and we may be able to take a shuttle to join them.

Welcoming cards are being ordered by Rose Sands, and Beverly Simpson sends them to new residents listed in the Sunburst.

The transportation committee is at a standstill pending decisions by management.  The next meeting will focus how to proceed.

Mary Jo Warthen offered to help any committee with minutes as needed.

Sam Cushman, Janet Allen, and Ken Jarboe are working with the firearms issue.  An informational forum to take place on March 13 at 10:00 am.  It will be chaired by Anne Erfle. This will be a followed by a survey to assess people’s attitudes toward firearms.  The possibility of a focus group on this issue was raised.

The next meeting will be held on March 20 at 2:00 PM in HR142.

SAFETY & SECURITY (Janet Allan, Chair):

The committee met on February 12th with 9 members and 1 guest. No staff were present.

A second draft of a skit for the Committee was reviewed, edited and approved to be sent to the Communication Committee for showing on 972.

The Residents’ Council will sponsor an Informational Forum on Gun Safety on March 13 from 10-11:30 in the auditorium. Members of the Baltimore County Police will discuss gun safety and MD gun laws. Results of a survey of gun polices in MD CCRCs will be presented.  A forthcoming survey of residents’ views on Charlestown’s current gun polices will be announced.

Several concerns were raised by members and included: pets being walked in the hallways when not coming or going to the outside; hazards of rollators and EMVs in the Fireside dining rooms and not parked outside; and the lack of mention in the February Sunburst article, “Share the Road” of civility issues experienced by many EMV users.

The next meeting of the Committee will be on Tuesday, March 12th at 1PM in Brookside Classroom 1.


The Nominating and Elections Committee met twice during the past month to identify potential good candidates and to assign candidates to committee members for follow-up. Good progress has been made, so far, and recruitment continues. While the Committee meetings are closed, residents are encouraged to contact any Committee member any time to suggest good candidates. Members of the Committee are Janet Allen, Bernice DeBels, Bob Caulfield, Walt Howe (Co-Chair), Pat Kasuda, Phyl Lansing, Bill Tilles, and Hope Tillman (Co-Chair).

The Committee which meets every other week will meet again on March 7th at 3:00 PM at Brookside Classroom 2.