Last Updated on October 8, 2021

(web version)

May 7, 2019
Residents’ Council Website:

President Wendel Thompson called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:00 pm on May 7, 2019.The April 2, 2019 minutes were approved as distributed.

60 association members attended. Visitors included residents, Charles Denton, member 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
  • Gil Fisher, Chair of the Finance Committee
  • Sherry Stewart, for 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
  • Jackie Graham,Chair of the Maintenance & Engineering Committee
  • Sam Cushman, Chair of the Resident Life Committee
  • Janet Allan, Chair of the Safety & Security Committee
  • Hope Tillman, Co-Chair of the Nominating and Election Committee


NEW BUSINESS:Cognitive Assessments and Home/Firearms Safety.  Janet Allan presented the report of the Firearms Work Group. Members: Janet Allen, Louise Dempsey, and Sam Cushman. They proposed that Medical Center physicians, nurse practitioners and/or social workers initially assess resident patients who have early dementia or cognitive impairment to develop a care plan. They suggested that that assessment include an evaluation of home safety with regard to firearms, sharps and EMV use. As appropriate, removal of firearms / sharps should be part of the care plan. Medicare will reimburse providers for this initial assessment as well as an annual assessment. We met with Nathan Blumberg on April 11, 2019, who was very receptive to this idea and stated he would contact Dr. Narrett, Chief Medical Officer for Erickson Health Medical Group. Following that meeting Janet Allen contacted Nathan Blumberg on April 22 for an update. Nathan stated that he had had some conversations with the Erickson Health Medical Group partners and plans to speak with them once they have done some research.  After this report Sam Cushman moved that Janet’s report be accepted. This motion was seconded by Lois Kimber. The Council accepted the report 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 7:48 p.m.

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


Mission Moments: We have two mission moments this evening. The first is Gale Jenkins who manages the Treasure Chest, the one-room down by the Brookside elevators that contains household and personal items for sale. They are open Monday from 6:30-8 and Tuesday and Friday from 11-1. She opens and closes the shop, manages the staffing, prices items, maintains the inventory, and keeps the displays attractive. She is devoted to ensuring that you have a pleasant shopping experience. Everything she sells goes to the Treasure Sale, 75% of which goes to our Benevolent Care fund.

Our second mission moment is for Ray Graves who began our web site ten years ago. Since then Ray has taken on responsibility for the computer rooms. And how wonderful it is to have computers at our disposal that always work and have software for games and making greeting cards. He works with IT to assure that the computers and printers are working and up-to-date with all the necessary applications that residents need for their personal needs. He has been Treasurer of the Computer Club and performs other duties that make this such an important resource for residents whose computers have crashed and don’t want to invest in another.

Announcements: (1) The Council discussed firearms at our work session. The comments covered a wide range of concerns, dealing with mental illness, the desire for registration of firearms, the satisfaction with the status quo. The Council voted to continue carrying out discussions among residents based on an assumption that there was a need to continue having such conversations to remain faithful to our commitment to give vent to the feelings generated by the murder suicide in September. If you want to be included in these conversations, please contact Sam Cushman or Janet Allan. This topic will be covered this Thursday at the Journal Club meeting at 10 a.m.

(2) Erickson is making fixes to our Wi-Fi infrastructure so that everyone has good reception and connectivity. If you have problems with your Wi-Fi, please call 601-8411 from your Charlestown land line or call the Charlestown Connect 800 number. They both get to the same desk. (3) Resident Handbooks are now available at lobby desks. (4) May 15 is the deadline for nominations for the 2019-2020 Resident Council.

Nothing to report this month.

SECRETARY’S REPORT (Sherry Stewart):
At the April 8, 2019 Work Session, Wendel led a discussion about the September murder/suicide incident and any actions that the Council might take. Joan Green recorded all of the comments. After each Council member had an opportunity to speak, Anne Erfle moved to pursue small group meetings for people who came to the Firearms Informational Forum. The motion passed with 13 in favor and 6 against.


During the month of April, I issued two checks in the amount of $540.00 and received deposits in the amount of $3,464.10. The checks were for bus transportation to Annapolis for the annual United Seniors of Maryland Forum on March 20th and to Oak Crest for the annual Regional Advisory Council (RAC) meeting on April 17th. The deposits were annual Association dues paid.

At the end of the month of April, the book balance amounted to $5,327.84 and the bank balance amounted to $5,327.84. There was no difference.

The collection of the Residents’ Association annual dues is still in progress.


BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub, Chair):
There was no meeting in April. Next meeting will be May 22ndin CTS 116 at 2 pm.

COMMUNICATIONS (Walt Howe, Chair):
The Communications Committee met on April 22nd at 2:00 PM in CTS classroom 116 with 16 residents and 4 staff attending.

Work continues to solve Wi-Fi connection problems in Charlestown. Reports on the work done so far by an outside contractor have been very positive. We continue to ask anyone with connection problems to contact IT and get on the list for fixes, including those who have reported problems previously but not had a satisfactory solution.

Several reports have been received on non-functioning classroom computers that were not resolved on a timely basis. We asked IT to investigate and resolve the problems.

The Website Subcommittee met the hour before the Communications Committee and continued its review of the RC website. An ELLIC class has been scheduled for November 2nd.

The Communications Committee plans a survey of all residents on their communications practices and preferences, updating a survey conducted five years ago. A draft Survey questionnaire was distributed before the meeting for review and some good suggestions were provided to improve it. The target date for distribution in print and online is early June. It will be well publicized in advance.

The Committee will not meet in May since the fourth Monday is Memorial Day. The next meeting will be on 24 June 2019 at 2 PM in CTS Classroom 116.

CONSERVATION (Bill Tilles, Chair):
The April meeting of the Conservation Committee Included committee members as well as Michelle Fenn (Housekeeping Supervisor, Erickson).

The Conservation Committee reviewed the Recycling and Trash Monthly Statistics for March 2019.  It showed that trashcollection was close to the 2017-2018 monthly average, but recyclingwas low because the Charlestown recycling truck was out of service for three days.

At the Committee meeting on April 16, Michelle Fenn and Marty Tewksbury reported on preparations for National Earth Day at Charlestown, which took place last Monday, April 22, 2019 in the auditorium. As an amendment to this report, I can report now that the meeting included a presentation on recycling by a representative from Waste Management, Inc., Charlestown’s trash company, including a Q & A session. The event was well attended, the audience asked a lot of questions and learned a lot about recycling.

In fact, a question that I reported on at the April 1 Residents Council meeting was clarified at the Earth Day meeting. It turns out that, like milk cartons, soup and ice cream containers are also recyclable. To repeat, soup and ice cream containers are also recyclable.

Residents have responded positively to the new notices posted in the laundry rooms providing guidance about the types of plastic bags and wrappings that are acceptable for recycling through local grocery store chains.

The next meeting of the Conservation Committee will be at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in HR 142.

DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield, Chair):
The Dining Committee met on April 15, 2019 with Aida Blanco representing Charlestown management, one guest and fourteen Dining Committee members. The various dining sub-committees met in April as follows: Atrium April 1st, Dietary Focus group April 5th, Chesapeake/Shortline April 8, Fireside April 9, and Refectory/Terrace April 11th.

Highlights of those meetings included:

  1. Residents are asked to inquire at the various dining venues they frequent about the availability of the recipe books that are supposed to be at all hostess stations.
  2. Residents are reminded that plain unsalted food selections are available upon request.
  3. The safety of our staff was again noted in resident use of needle paraphernalia.
  4. Websites: MyErickson, and MyErickson are helpful resources to residents.
  5. Dining venues continue to work on more effective and safer ways to valet rollators and EMVs.
  6. Chef Bailey will be hosting the next Chef’s table on May 23rd. This event is sold out.
  7. Residents have been increasingly giving immediate feedback for problems and this has been very helpful.
  8. New walkie-talkie communications devices have been received in the Refectory and are helping greatly.
  9. The Terrace patio is now open. Outdoor events are planned for Memorial Day, 4thof July and Labor Day.

Special Meeting – On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, a special meeting was held at the Chesapeake dining room to introduce and explain the concept of “small plate/bistro/tapas dining.” Approximately 50 residents were present, and staff included Paul Edelman, Chef Paul Brewer, Executive Victor Cirrincione and Director of Dining Services Aida Blanco.

  1. This concept of dining was recently introduced at Oakcrest.
  2. Approximately one-half of the Chesapeake dining space will be allocated to bistro dining – about 100 people.
  3. Construction is presently on schedule. Completion date is late June/early July.
  4. A soft opening is scheduled to allow for anticipated concerns and a controlled structured opening.
  5. There will be a separate kitchen staff trained and devoted to bistro dining.
  6. The hours of operation for this style of dining will coincide with the current Chesapeake dining room operation.
  7. The separate physical layout of the bistro dining area will consist of tables without tablecloths, and with chairs and banquettes.

The What and Why of Bistro: Bistro dining guests will be presented a separate menu consisting of four courses. All of the items will be individually priced. If all of the courses were ordered, that would be equivalent to the meal of the day. The food served will be on small plates and the portions will be smaller. The courses, other than dessert, might be an entrée, such as salmon with a sauce, a salad, a soup, etc. The concept is meant to be an alternative to the traditional full course meal. You will be able to choose different dishes, mix and match, and dine from a less structured menu. You then have the option to pay for what you ordered and save your bigger meal for another day. The plan is to give you more flexibility and more choices.

Notable:The Chairman of the Dining Services Committee will meet with the Dining Subcommittee Chairs within the month to update our membership roster and further discuss our mission to enhance the dining experiencefor our residents.

Aida Blanco advised us that there is a delay in the delivery of the chairs for the newly renovated Chesapeake dining space. Rental chairs will be used until the new chairs arrive.

The next Dining Committee meeting will be in Brookside Classroom 1 on May 20, 2019 at 2:00 pm.

FINANCE (Gil Fisher, Chair):
The Finance Committee met on April 30 with Eric Schwab, Assistant Finance Director. Thirteen committee members were present.

Eric presented the Occupancy and Financial reports for March. Occupancy rates were excellent in all categories: 98 percent or better for independent living, assisted living, and memory care, and 89 percent for skilled nursing.

The March total operating revenue exceeded budget projections by almost $400,000. Skilled nursing operating revenues exceeded budget projections by $314,000, although this was in part due to budget occupancy projections for the transition to Wilton Overlook, now expected for July. With higher occupancy than projected for skilled nursing it meant that expenses were also higher. This will even out over the time after Wilton Overlook comes on line. Some good news on expenses, utility expense was under budget by $33,000.

Looking at non-operating items, investment income was less than budget projections, but of course this is driven by the market and not within our control.

Turning to restricted funds, in March, 15 residents received benevolent care assistance, and these expenditures totaled about $87,000.

The Committee briefly discussed the recently-enacted increase in the minimum wage level. The higher minimum wage (increasing to $11 an hour as of January 1, 2020) will clearly affect the Charlestown budget, and the Finance Department is analyzing the change.

The next Committee meeting will be on May 28 at 9 am in Brookside 2 Classroom.

GROUNDS (Ted Durr, Chair):
The Grounds Committee met on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 with Ted Durr presiding.  In attendance also were: Ryan Truitt, Kevin Crawford, and 6 members.

Pat noted that the sidewalk to Caton Ridge had deteriorated.  Erosion at St. Charles pointed out by Ronald Dempsey.  Memo was sent to Aida about the Atrium patio.  Contracts have been lent but not approved as yet. Work has not yet started.

Lawn cutting is underway by former vendor Rupert. Brightview, the new vendor, is waiting for the new contract to be signed. Uncle John has planted more daffodils.  He also reported on an area at Parkview where the lawn is constantly being run over.

The subcommittee dealing with Lake Charles did not give an official report due to the absence of Marty Tewksbury. Pat and Lucy each reported several needs to Ryan and Kevin.  On behalf of a new resident in Brookside, Lucy requested permission from Ryan to plan daffodil bulbs in the woodsy bank across from Brookside, between Erickson Way and the board fence.  It was granted. Deer control or management was discussed.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 28that 10:00 a.m.

HEALTH SERVICES (Louise Dempsey, Chair):
The Health Committee met on April 9, 2019 with 11 members, 1 guest, and David Gearing, Director of Continuing Care.

Another successful Old Medication Collection for residents and staff was held April 29th in the Terrace, Fireside, and Cross Creek areas from 1-3 pm.

The Annual Regional RAC meetings were held at Oakcrest on April 17th. Nine Council members attended, including two from the Health Committee.

The Health Committee participated in the Nature Festival on April 25th in the CTS area and provided information on ticks, mosquitoes, and spiders.

An educational forum on AA was held in the auditorium on March 21st with speakers from the area Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous. The AA Group continues to meet each Saturday morning at 10 am in Pastoral Services’ Jeremiah Room.

Bill Miller, a guest representing the Parkinson’s Group, welcomes new members. He is concerned that we are currently without a Fall Prevention Program.

Renaissance Garden/Caton Woods:
A manicurist was hired. The projector in Caton Woods hasn’t been repaired because of the high cost. A dedicated podiatry cart for Continuing Care remains an issue.

There were no outbreaks of flu requiring precautions during the current season. Flu vaccinations and the use of a new antiviral misting machine on surfaces contributed to the good results.


Wilton Overlook construction is on schedule with inspections expected to begin late April. Bids are out for moving companies as it is anticipated that residents will begin moving in mid to late June.


The Continuing Care team welcomes Carla Roberts, Assistant Director of Nursing and Karen Leighton, Rehab Manager. Karen Leighton joined the team in February as the Rehab Manager responsible for administration of Physical, Occupational, and Speech services for the entire continuum of care including Post-Acute/Skilled Rehab, and Outpatient Rehab. Assistant Director of Nursing Carla Roberts has been an RN for 30 years. She has spent 90% of her nursing career in long term care settings. Lauren Price, Memory Care, has resigned to pursue different interests. An applicant from Oak Crest has been interviewed to replace her. Sarah Shanklin, Social Worker, has resigned. A strong candidate has already been interviewed for her position.

The next Health Services meeting will be on May 14th at 11:00 AM in Brookside Classroom 2.

HOUSEKEEPING (Diane Lyons, Chair):
The meeting was held on Friday, April 19, 2019.  Earl Shaw, new Facilities Manager, attended and one guest.  Reports from the various buildings were reviewed.  Areas needing carpet cleaning were noted.

Maple Terrace (Building 2) is undergoing major renovation with former dining offices being converted into apartments. Completion in June.

Earl Shaw gave the following feedback:

The carpet on the large stairs at CTS will be replaced because footprints with asphalt stains cannot be cleaned.

Apartment awnings will be removed and cleaned of mold and then replaced

The kitchen door by the Fireside which also services catering needs will have a new walk off carpet.  The present carpeting is badly discolored from the kitchen traffic. The new carpet tiles can be replaced easily.

Hiring continues to be an issue.  Currently vacancies are open for evening shift (2) and housekeeping (4).

The problem with people disposing of their household trash in the outside containers continues. Overflowing containers draw vermin and are odorous. Also, trash is being placed outside apartment doors days before pickup and in one case placed opposite the elevator in Chapel Court 2ndfloor. The trash container at this location has been removed. Efforts have been made by knocking on doors and explaining (often to aides) about pickup days – or hang tags have been left on doors. The April issue of the Sunburst contains an article on this issue.

Next meeting is May 17, 2:00 PM in HR142.

The Legislative/Political Committee met on April 10. At this meeting Hope Tillman demonstrated our new legislative tracking system. The purpose of the system is for any resident to be able to quickly track legislation of interest.  Members of our committee continually updated our tracking system with the status of bills, throughout the 90 days. Videos of the legislative hearings are also available on this system.

On Tuesday, April 30 at 7:00 in the auditorium our four District 12 legislators:  Senator Lam, Delegate Hill, Delegate Ebersole and Delegate Feldmark held a Wrap-Up of the 2019 General Assembly.  Members of the committee volunteered for various tasks for the event.

Our next meeting of the Legislative/Political Committee will be held on Wednesday, May 8, at 10:00 in Brookside Classroom 1.

The committee met on Tuesday, April 23rdwith General Services’ Kevin Crawford, Jesse Morgan and 6 members.

General Services Update

  • Curb, at the pond, has been cut for mobility access
  • All restrooms will be evaluated for needed repairs
  • Glass panel, In pool area, replacement on order
  • Leaking faucet, in Brookside, has been repaired
  • Broken push bar on door in bldg. 2 has been repaired
  • Cooling towers, Cross Creek area, at up and running
  • Brookside elevator repairs are scheduled to start in July.

Old/New items discussed

  • Complaints concerning signage throughout Charlestown
  • Sign to identify Caton Woods
  • Various interior repairs throughout Brookside

Next meeting, Tuesday-May 28th2pm in General Services Conference Room.

RESIDENT LIFE (Sam Cushman, Chair):
Six committee members were present on April 17 in HR142, along with one visitor.

PET LOVERS:  SPCA Week was a big success, both financially and in material donations.  A local veterinarian has expressed interest in making visits to Charlestown to see dogs.

BIRTHDAY ANGELS:  Continuing smoothly.

EATING TOGETHER GROUPS:  It was decided that face to face invitations were the best way to continue the groups.

COMMUNITY VALUES:  ELLIC recently sponsored a session on community living.  About 15 residents participated.   The Committee continues to get Mission Moments to review.

WELCOME CARDS:  Continuing smoothly

CONDOLENCE CARDS: Continuing smoothly.

FIREARMS:  BCPD conducted an informational session on firearm safety. The Residents’ Council thought that we could bring in Janet Allan and Louise Dempsey with information on mental health.   They found that the doctors in the medical center could gather information on mental health and safety on firearms. Erickson Living is planning a new program to increase awareness of mental health challenges and how to deal with this issue.

TRANSPORTATION:  No new information.

EMV USERS:  No new information.

Nature Day will be held on April 25th.

The next Resident Life Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 15, at 2:00 PM in HR142.

SAFETY & SECURITY (Janet Allan, Chair):
The Safety & Security Committee met on April 9 with 9 members, Reyn Giese, Assistant General Services Director and Craig Nelson, Assistant Manager of Security.

Reyn Giese introduced Craig Nelson as the new Assistant Manager of Security.

Sections of deteriorated pavement/roads are being repaved and parking striping/numbering continues with green striping for visitor spaces.

A new type of parking decal is being planned to indicate resident, staff, contractor or visitor.

A Family and Friends Card is in the planning stages. Frequent visitors can obtain a card eliminating the need to contact the Gate House for such visitors.

Due to several concerns of residents & staff tripping over vehicles, Security will work with Dining Services to better implement the valet parking for rollators and EMVs in dining areas.

There is an article in the current Sunburston fall protection.

The next Coffee with Reyn Giese will be held on April 19 from 1:30-2:30 at the Fireside.

June 2019 has been designated as National Safety Month. The Committee and Security will display safety posters around the community and sponsor informational tables on June 12 from 11:30 to 1pm at the Terrace, Cross Creek Lobby and the Fireside.

The next meeting of the Committee will be on Tuesday, May 14 at 1pm in Brookside Classroom 1.

The Nominating and Elections Committee met twice during the past month, April 4th and 18th, to continue identifying potential good candidates.  Good progress has been made, so far, and recruitment is nearing its end. Packets have been sent to approved candidates, and they have returned their signed consent and biographies. The committee will meet again on May 2 at 3:00 PM at Brookside Classroom 2.