Last Updated on December 4, 2019

(web version)

November 5, 2019
Residents’ Council Website:

President Anne Erfle called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:00 pm on November 5, 2019. The October 1, 2019 minutes were approved as distributed. 74 association members attended. Visitors included residents Naomi McAfee, Charles Denton, and Karline Tierney, members of the Board of Directors; Nathan Blumberg, Associate Executive Director; and Heather Sheridan, Associate Executive Director.  The Council observed a moment of silence for those who have passed away. The presence at the meeting of several first-time attendees was applauded.

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

  • Walt Howe, Vice President
  • Hope Tillman, Secretary
  • Bill Tilles, Treasurer
  • Jean Eichenlaub, Chair of the Benevolent Care Committee
  • Ronny Burrell, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee
  • Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair of the Conservation Committee
  • Bob Caulfield, Chair of the Dining Committee
  • Pat Rudolph, Co-Chair of the Finance Committee
  • Eugenia High, Chair of the Grounds Committee
  • Lois Kimber, Chair of the Health Services Committee
  • Jim Stadter, 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
  • Ken Jarboe, Assistant Chair of the Safety & Security Committee



Staff Appreciation Comments by Lois Kimber: I just want to take a few minutes to talk about Staff Appreciation. I am sorry to say that we are not doing as well as we did last year. At this time last year, residents had contributed $13,329 more than we have this year. At this time last year, 7.4% more residents had made contributions. I believe our population is the same as last year.  Let’s remember that our staff takes care of us 24/7, and this is our one and only time during the year to show our appreciation. Let’s make this the best Christmas ever for the Staff by making contributions now to the fund to say thank you for all they do for us. If you find that contributing a lump sum is a lot at one time, you can contribute monthly by adding your contribution to your Charlestown bill.  Since the campaign ends on November 15, there are fewer than two weeks left, so please, please don’t let the Staff down. Contribute now.  Thank you. I have some envelopes and cards here if you have misplaced yours. The checks will be handed out on December 3.  Volunteers are still needed to hand out the checks, especially at night at Renaissance Gardens, Wilton Overlook, and Caton Woods.

Nathan Blumberg and Heather Sheridan presented “Words from Management” which appear below for those residents interested in reading the full text of the message.

President Erfle adjourned the formal meeting at 7:45 p.m.

Hope Tillman, Residents’ Council Secretary
Ron DeAbreu, Residents’ Council Assistant Secretary



Mission Moments:
Sharon Stewart recognized Connie Andrews who collects aluminum cans and takes them to the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department where the fire fighters get money for them.  Connie started small, collecting in St. Charles where she lives.  Now Connie walks with the Tuesday morning walkers and stops on the way to pick up cans in recycling containers outside residents’ apartments.  She also has a cadre of volunteers who go around their own buildings early on recycling mornings.  It’s such a small idea that has grown.  We need to shine a light on the care of our planet.

Mary Van Dyke recognized Janet Evans for all that she does at Charlestown and beyond.  She leads the Betty Boop Bead Club which sells the finished jewelry and donates proceeds to the Benevolent Care Fund.   She, along with several other volunteers, goes to Lansdowne Elementary School to work with students in the classroom or does one-on-one tutoring.  She also goes to My Brother’s Keeper to serve lunch to homeless people.  You might think of Janet as a person with specialized eyesight who notes others who need help and follows through by helping them. 


The 2019-2020 budget was approved as submitted, including the same amount for the Archives that was approved in 2018-2019.
The Council moved to submit the Firearms Safety Work Group Report to Clara as presented.
The Council discussed ways to make the best use of staff liaison time in our committee meetings. Committee meetings are open to residents. We are now sending committee meeting agendas to the Administration ahead of the meetings.

Communications Committee Co-Chairs Ronny Burrell and Dick Crebs are organizing this year’s chats. Council Chats will be held at dining venues twice a year, in the fall at Atrium, Shortline, and Refectory and in the spring at Chesapeake, Fireside, and Terrace. There was a discussion of the best ways to engage residents.

The closing balance at the end of September 2019 was $4793.89. Dues in the amount of
$2.00 were deposited in the month of October and payments in the amount of $200.00 were made. The balance at the end of October 2019 was $4593.89.


BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub, Chair):
There was no meeting this month. In lieu of the meeting, here is a summary of the Benevolent Care Fund September results.

Campaign total (cash/credit card donations – does not include monthly donors) = $53,069 with 22% participation.   (2018 = $50,501 and 18.85% participation).

  • 11 new monthly donors, 4 donors increased from last year.
  • Ladies Boutique Fashion Show raised $825
  • Coat Sale raised $1,036
  • Blanket raffle raised $585
  • ELLIC presentation of BCF Facts & Myths had about 70 attendees.

Annual Gala netted $87,323 with 205 attendees (2018 = $79,542 with 185 attendees).

Total percentage of giving including monthly donors = 38.7%

The next meeting will be November 27th at 2:00 PM in Charlestown Square 116.

COMMUNICATIONS (Ronny Burrell and Dick Crebs, Co-Chair):
The Communications Committee met on October 28 in CTS116.

Council Chats were held on October 23 in the Atrium, Shortline, and Refectory Dining Areas.  Topics included maintenance, trees, and EMV speeding.

Evergreen Topics highlights included that a donation form for the Benevolent Care Fund [BCF] is now downloadable on the residents’ website.

The residents’ website has been updated now with maps drawn by resident artists  of the Nature Trail and Lake Charles/ retention pond.

Mary Evans Reported that Alexa will have My Erickson information available beginning early this month. There will be a still to be described “Tech Fair” during the first quarter of 2020.

Future Communication Committee Activities:  We will address facilitating email usage to and from the Council Committees and the residents at the next Council Work Session. Our representatives will meet with Brian Gentile, Erickson’s Regional Director of IT, on November 20. Wi-Fi remediation efforts will be a discussion topic.

Our next meeting will be Monday, November 25th at 2:00 PM in Charlestown Square 116, preceded by the Website Subcommittee at 1:00 PM.

CONSERVATION (Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair):
Attendance at the October meeting: Committee members and Michelle Fenn (Housekeeping Supervisor, Erickson).

Michelle Fenn reviewed the recycling and trash reports. She reported that Charlestown is searching for another driver with a commercial license to drive the recycling truck.  Recycling can be held for 2 weeks if the driver is not available. When we don’t have a driver, the recycling goes in the trash.  It was noted that the ratio of recycling to trash is about 1 part recycling to 3 parts trash.

The group also discussed the email from one of the residents questioning the cost of recycling.  Data from a 2014 memo from Finance shows that Charlestown saves at least $10,000 monthly by recycling.

The committee applauded the fact that all the material from the old RG building that has been torn down is being recycled.

The Erickson Living 2018 Sustainability Report was distributed and discussed. It was noted that 96% of possible new residents want to live in a “green” community.  It was also noted that as more Baby Boomers move to the community, there will likely be less need for paper communication as they will be used to electronic media.

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

DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield, Chair):
Our Committee met on Monday, October 21 with Dining Services Director Aida Blanco, Asst. Director Ken Zahn, and Chesapeake/Shortline Manager Paul Edelman.

Six subcommittees reported issues in commonality, including concerns with staff shortages and inconsistency in food and/or service. The process of hiring, training, and placement of new staff takes at least three weeks, to ensure compliance with MD State laws regarding student workers. Twenty-one new hires are being processed.

EMVs and rollators blocking aisles in the dining rooms are putting employees and residents at risk. Please allow staff to valet your mobility devices.

An increase in resident dining at the Chesapeake Bar with very positive feedback on the quality of the food offered is noted. Lighter fare small-plate menu choices have been requested. All items may be served plain upon request. Soon, one will be able to request more than one dish from the same category, as long as there are no more than four items, if using the meal of the day plan.

New nutrition information is lagging, and IT is working on it. Also, new recipes for baseline menus are sent to Erickson IT for vetting and presently lag by 3 weeks.

Recyclable paper products will be available in January 2020 when a new supplier starts its contract with Charlestown; better services are expected from this vendor.

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, 18 November 2019 at 2:00 pm in Brookside 1.

FINANCE (Joan Green and Pat Rudolph, Co-Chairs):
The Finance Committee met on October 29 with Pam Stiner, Finance Director, and

Eric Schwab, Assistant Finance Director in attendance.

Eric presented the Occupancy and Financial reports for September: Independent Living 98%, Assisted Living 99.8%, Memory Care 100%, Skilled Nursing 97%, Memory Care/Skilled nursing 94%.  To-date, the over-all occupancy rates are greater than budget predictions.

The September total operating revenue exceeded budget projections by $84,000, but operating expenses exceeded budget projection by $245,000, leading to a lower than projected operating income of $161,000.  The difference is mostly due to the need for increased staffing for Wilton Overlook, a one-time payment for Health Insurance, and increased costs for contract labor.   There was a small loss in the investment income, a non-operating income item, due to the fluctuation of the market.

No discussion of the Cash Flow nor Balance sheets.

With regard to restricted funds, in September, 17 residents received benevolent care assistance and these expenditures totaled $131,000.  Contributions for September totaled $124,282.

Finally, a discussion ensued regarding additional cost saving ideas.

Our next meeting will be on November 26, @ 9 am in Brookside 2 classroom.

GROUNDS (Eugenia High, Chair):

The Grounds Committee met on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 with Eugenia High presiding and the following staff members in attendance:  Kiril Apostolov, Kevin Crawford, and Ryan Truitt. The September minutes were approved as distributed.

John Lorenz noted that the bricks on the Memory Walk are now level. Ron Dempsey mentioned the great improvement in leaf removal at St. Charles.

Audit reports included boards on the sailing pier which need replacement; a tree near the cemetery that needs pruning; and mold inside Building 1’s lobby. Sheila French suggested that Lobby 7’s exterior needs power washing.

The Grounds Committee requested a copy of the assessment of Charlestown’s trees which Brightview is doing.

Kevin stated that a meeting with Solitude Lake Management which is responsible for algae control will be held. John Ogaitis has mentioned several chemicals which could be used on the algae.

Our next meeting will be on November 26th at 10 a.m. in the General Services Conference Room.

HEALTH SERVICES (Lois Kimber, Chair):
The Health Services Committee met October 8, 2019. The flu vaccine this year covers four strands.  There is a new flu Vaccine called Baloxavir, the generic name is Xofluza.  There is a new virus called Eastern Equine Encephalovit virus.  It is transmitted by mosquitoes.  It doesn’t like feeding on humans, but it can affect humans.  Symptoms are typical of any virus. 20% may develop the virus, 1/3 may die.  There is no vaccine available.  So far there have been 28 cases nationwide this year.

David Gearing reported that monthly meetings are held with RG North families.  Approval for 10 more rehab beds in Dorsey has been received. There are 23 Centenarians this year celebrating more than 2300 years of life.

Patty Hagan from Memory Care shared the importance of approaching someone with cognitive issues with dignity and respect.  Memory Care partners with the Programming Team at Wilton Overlook are making veteran blankets for Veterans’ Day.

Dr. Stephen Schimpff shared that we start aging in our twenties, and our organs decline each year, losing muscle mass, which affects our GI tract.  Therefore, fewer calories are needed.  We need micronutrients such as veggies, kale, collard greens, and swiss chard. It is noted that marketing today concentrates primarily on things that are not nutritious.

Presently Social Workers are referred to as Resident Service Coordinators which to some does not clearly identify and explain the role of a social worker. The title of Social Service Coordinator was suggested as an alternative.

Our next meeting is on November 12 at 11:00 in the Wilton Overlook meeting room.

HOUSEKEEPING (Jim Stadter, Chair):

The Housekeeping Committee met on October 18 with Michelle Fenn, the new Charlestown Housekeeping Manager, in attendance. The committee, along with Michelle, reviewed the guidelines used by the Charlestown Housekeeping Department for the upkeep of the common areas and restrooms in each building.

Next was a review of the Housekeeping Department’s Building Audit Checklist which is quite detailed. We decided that the checklist can serve as a guide for the inspections conducted by our committee members.

Committee members reported on the condition of the buildings they had inspected, and Michelle noted locations where cleaning and repairs are needed. It was stated that Ken of the Housekeeping Department does an excellent job cleaning Building 9.

Committee members were reminded to submit their Charlestown Satisfaction Survey if they had not already done so.

The next meeting will be held on November 15 at 2pm in HR-142.

The Legislative/Political Committee made plans for the 2020 Maryland General Assembly with the goal of providing residents with information throughout the session.  The 2020 session runs from Wednesday, January 8 through Monday, April 6.

The following items were decided:

  1. All Charlestown residents who want to learn more about our General Assembly and about our bill tracking process are invited to our next committee meeting.
  2. Committee members will work on a variety of ways to advertise our legislative activities throughout the legislative session.
  3. Annapolis Legislative Updates will be a new project this session.

Bus trips to Annapolis were announced for MaCCRA and United Seniors of Maryland.

There were preliminary discussions about the Maryland Primary Elections, which will be held on April 28, 2020.

The committee will encourage voter registration, which ends on April 7.

The Committee will continue to advocate for Early Voting and Absentee Voting.

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 13 at 10 am in Brookside Classroom 1.  All Charlestown residents are invited to attend this informational meeting about the Maryland General Assembly.  Please let a committee member know if you plan to attend.

The Maintenance & Engineering Committee met on Tuesday, October 22nd at 2pm with General Services’ Kevin Crawford, Chris Caldwell, Don Hoffman and Kiril Apostolov. There were 9 members present.

General Services Updates Completed items: Brookside elevators, Cross Creek reroofing, hooks on restroom stall doors, external waterproofing at bldg. 1 entrance, broken railing at the entrance to building 9, ground lights outside of the Terrace Café, and broken doorstop at Class 116.

Items being addressed: Inspection of all elevators by end of month, installation of automatic doors throughout campus, completion of pavement striping and lettering around campus, and the installation of two stop signs at mobility crossings.

Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 26th at 2pm in the General Services Conference Room.

RESIDENT LIFE (Sam Cushman, Chair):
The meeting was convened by Sam Cushman on October 16th and was attended by four other residents and Council Vice President Walt Howe.  Management was not represented.

The Pet Owners group was represented by Otto Gruel. The meeting time, date, and place have been changed, but no fixed date has yet been determined.  Despite the new name, all pet lovers are welcome.

The Harmonious Living and Mission Moments group was represented by Pat Kasuda.  Pat reported that the program is going well, with both residents nominating employees and employees nominating residents.

Sam continues to discuss with Clara how the Diversity and Inclusion Council could work together with more resident members and more resident input.

In collaboration with the Safety and Security Committee, the report of the Firearms Study Group on the issue of gun control has been compiled and sent to Clara; Clara has forwarded it to the Board of Directors.

Anne Erfle wants us to encourage residents to complete the Holleran Survey. Currently only about 50% have done so.  The BOD would like to see 70% or higher to consider this a useful survey.

Eating Together, Birthday Angels, and Resident Welcome and Condolence Cards continue to go well.

Ron Burrell of the Communications Committee wants to collaborate in expanding transportation to entertainment venues.  It was suggested that he speak with Dave Schuch who is in charge of Transportation.

Issues for further work are concerns about mental health issues and preventing falls.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 20, the third Wednesday of the month, at 2:00 pm in HR142.

SAFETY & SECURITY (Janet Allan, Chair; Ken Jarboe, Asst. Chair):
The Safety & Security Committee met on October 8 with 14 members; one guest, Craig Nelson, Assistant Manager of Security; the Resident Council VP; and the Assistant Treasurer/Secretary in attendance.

Chair Updates:

  • Part 1 of the How to Avoid Scams is in the October Sunburst and Part II will appear in the November issue.
  • The Report of the Firearms Safety Work Group was approved by the Residents’ Council and has been forwarded to Management and the Board of Directors.
  • The Committee will be working with 972 to develop a series on safety.

Security Updates:

  • 889 resident cars have been registered. Over 300 cars still need to be registered by 10/15 when unregistered cars will receive tickets. 850 family/friend passes have been issued.
  • New residents can only have one reserved parking space.
  • It was suggested that Security develop an article on the REAL ID requirements and the process to apply.

Additional Issues Raised:

  • Residents expecting infrequent guests can use a form found on MyErickson to alert the gate.
  • Concerns were expressed about the lack of signs with building names and numbers, making it difficult for deliveries, visitors, contractors, and Emergency Response teams. Erickson Corporate is in the process of developing new signage.
  • There have been no recent fire drills in the dining rooms; rollators /EMVs are still being parked at fire doors blocking them from closing. It was suggested that Security replace bulbs in the many EXIT lights around campus that are either dark or dim.
  • It was also suggested that better signage be placed at the entrance gate to alert drivers when 2 cars try to turn right.

The next meeting of the Committee will be on Tuesday November 12th at 1pm in Brookside classroom 1.

WORDS FROM MANAGEMENT (Nathan Blumberg and Heather Sheridan):
Nathan Blumberg remarked on the beauty of the campus at this time of year.  He also announced Aida Blanco’s promotion to Director of General services.  Her first day in her new position is November 11. Nathan noted various recently completed projects on campus, e.g. the new elevators in Brookside and the painting of the Edgewood hallway. He also noted that RG South has been torn down, and new construction will begin on the site in about a month. He thanked residents for completing the Holleran Satisfaction survey and urged us to be generous in contributing to the Staff Appreciation Fund. Heather Sheridan said management appreciates residents’ feedback and thanked the Council for providing management with committee agendas prior to their meetings.  He said having the agendas beforehand enables staff to be better prepared for the meetings.  Nathan Blumberg concluded by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Heather concurred with his remarks.