Last Updated on October 8, 2021

(web version)

October 6, 2020
Residents’ Council Website:

President Walt Howe called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:02 pm on October 6, 2020. The September 1, 2020 minutes were approved as distributed. Nathan Blumberg, Associate Executive Director, attended for the Administration.  The Council observed a moment of silence for those who have passed away.

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

  • Pat Rudolph, Vice President
  • Hope Tillman, Secretary
  • Ron DeAbreu, Treasurer
  • Jean Eichenlaub, Chair of the Benevolent Care Committee
  • David Elder, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee
  • Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair of the Conservation Committee
  • Bob Caulfield, Chair of the Dining Committee
  • Gordon Piche, Co-Chair of the Finance Committee
  • Mike Rose, Chair of the Grounds Committee
  • Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker, Chair of the Health Services Committee
  • Betty Elder, Chair of the Housekeeping Committee
  • Pat Payne, Chair of the Legislative/Political Committee
  • Jackie Graham, Chair of the Maintenance & Engineering Committee
  • Sam Cushman, Co-Chair of the Resident Life Committee
  • Ed Wallace, Chair of the Safety & Security Committee



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

President Howe adjourned the formal meeting at 8:10 p.m.

Hope Tillman, Secretary and Mimi O’Donnell, Assistant Secretary


The Residents’ Council resumed a full schedule during September after the August transition month when most Committees did not meet. As you will hear during the Committee Reports, we held Zoom meetings for most Committees (one met in person with a limit of 10), and resident members and key staff joined in. Committee membership is open to all residents. If you are watching this and would like to get involved or have questions, check the hallway bulletin boards for information on Council committee members and meeting schedules. Contact any of us to get started.

Our election held in July elected seven new members replacing those whose terms had expired. Thirteen candidates had stepped forward to run, and although seven were immediately elected, there were no losers. When a vacancy occurs during the year, we turn to those not elected to take over the unexpired term of the person they replace. As you will hear during our Committee reports, this has been important this year, and we are glad we had so many good candidates.

During September, we had a special project to select and forward candidates to fill the upcoming Board of Directors’ resident member vacancy. Charles Denton, who has served us very well since 2013, is stepping down at the end of this year. The Council’s job was to publicize the vacancy and recruit candidates to select three to forward to the Board. Vice President Pat Rudolph chaired the special committee charged with this task. Eight residents stepped forward for consideration, completing applications, and the Committee reviewed these and brought the best-qualified candidates before the full Residents’ Council. The Council then interviewed the candidates and held a secret ballot to select the best three candidates to forward to the Charleston Administration and on to the Board. We thank all those who applied, and we want to acknowledge the three outstanding candidates whose names were selected and forwarded: Pat Kasuda, Ann MacKay, and Dr. Stephen Schimpff. The Board of Directors Governance Committee will be interviewing them in the near future.

Mission Moments
John Lorenz and Vicki Barr are this month’s honorees.

Marty Tewksbury nominated John Lorenz. With COVID curtailing many of the good indoor deeds John enjoys at Charlestown, John has turned his talents and energy to the great outdoors.  Daily, he chooses a part of Charlestown’s campus and while walking cleans up debris and trash.  Most recently, he has taken on the challenge of cleaning up our forest area.  It has been amazing to see what he has discovered and hauled out, including a car battery, parts of a motorcycle, a barbeque grill, tires, bottles and much more.  In addition, he is cutting invasive vines and checking the security of the perimeter fencing.  All this and more, he adds to his vivid reports outstanding sightings of beautiful wildlife he encounters while doing his work.  Residents know truly John lives the Erickson Values and shares his talents to make Charlestown a community where we all celebrate life.

Dottie Francovitch nominated Vicki Barr for her thoughtfulness and generosity.  Dottie stated “These words describe our friend, Vicki.  Many of us on the sixth floor of Brookside are very often the recipients of her thoughtful generosity.”  Before placing her grocery order, Vicki calls around to find out if any residents would like to add items to her list.  When groceries are delivered, she sorts and bags the items, making sure that everyone gets what they ordered.  She then delivers groceries to each apartment.  This is a tedious task, which she gladly does for residents, who are unable to place individual orders.  She frequently orders other essentials online for those who are computer challenged.  Before the pandemic, Vicki reached out to new residents who moved to the sixth floor of Brookside.  She would visit and help them get acquainted with their neighbors and would usually invite them to join her and some friends for dinner.  A true ambassador, Vicki shares her many gifts and her love for community for all of us here at Charlestown.

VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Pat Rudolph): No report

SECRETARY’S REPORT (Hope Tillman, Secretary and Mimi O’Donnell, Assistant Secretary):
Walt announced that Mimi O’Donnell will be the Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer.
Residents’ Council dues will be collected in October, postponed from April.

The Council had no income or expenditures in September.  Thus, the Council’s account balance remains unchanged from the end of August, i.e., $1934.01.

The Council dues collection campaign is underway. Thanks to assistance from Mimi O’Donnell, Eugenia High, Dick Crebs, Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker, and Jackie Graham, a dues collection packet was placed in each cubby mailbox in use in Independent Living. Residents are responding generously.


BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub and Eugenia High, Co-Chairs):
The meeting was held via Zoom with Patti Santoni, Lisa Zehring, and Emily Fowler from Philanthropy in attendance.

Introduction: Jean Eichenlaub introduced Eugenia High, who is the new co-chair of the committee.  Her comments were how important Benevolent Care is to her, and she hopes it will continue into the future.

Treasure Sale: The Treasure Sale stores will reopen on September 15th, by appointment only. Although sales will begin, there will not be any cleanouts or pickups yet.

The virtual Treasure Sale on Facebook netted more than $3,000!

Treat of the Quarter was from Pat’s Porch, a small business in Catonsville.

Cars for Care:  12 have been donated, and nine have been sold for $8,900 net to date.

BCF Telethon – Wednesday, September 16th (10 am – 1 pm).

Eugenia is also a member of the Health Services Committee, and a suggestion has been made about residents donating old x-ray films.  Patti will look into its feasibility and to see how much money it could generate.

Janet Evans continues to make and sell greeting cards with proceeds going to BCF. Resident Judy Plymyer created a game called Charlestown Chase, which she is offering for a donation of $20 or more.  100% of the proceeds go to Benevolent Care.

The October meeting will probably be held by Zoom on October 28, 2020

COMMUNICATIONS (Dick Crebs and David Elder, Co-Chairs):
Election info is critical. It was noted that The Residents’ Council website collects and posts non-partisan information from sources such as the League of Women Voters and the Council’s Legislative/Political Committee to keep the community informed.

Dick Crebs will contact Mary Evans about (1) which offices receive away forms which are submitted to lobby desks or via MyErickson,  (2) renewal of opt-out option for information to be shared on Channel 972 and MyErickson, and (3) the MyErickson message icon. Ann MacKay asked if staff could explain why the Message Icon is not used very frequently. It appears to be only used for MyErickson update announcements.

The Residents’ Council website has several new updates. Recent articles include one by Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker on residents’ use of outside personnel for home services and another on Concerns for Logging into MyErickson using older Apple devices. The section on COVID-19 will be renamed “Healthy Habits: COVID-19 and the Flu” to reflect the fact that we are now in Phase 2. Dining menus are being added each Friday. Club leaders are encouraged to share their updated information with us so that we can update the club information on Council monthly meetings recordings are listed on The Council meetings will be available for all residents to view live via YouTube live stream.  That link will be sent out before the October Council meeting.

Wi-Fi, Comcast, closed-circuit tv, and telephone topics will be discussed at the October meeting.

Jeff Hofstetter, Erickson VP Enterprise Applications, was to join us for the October meeting but will attend our November meeting to discuss Wi-Fi and handling of data in Charlestown databases.  This requires lots of duplication and re-entry of information.

The October meeting will be held via Zoom on October 26 at 2:00 PM.

CONSERVATION (Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair):
The Conservation Committee met by Zoom.

Recycling will begin the week of Sept 21st.  The revised list for trash pick-up and the return to recycling is posted on channel 972 and the bulletin boards.
The following items are recyclable:

  1. Clean plastic containers from dining service with a triangle labeled 1-7, including the dinner containers with a big 5 in the triangle
  2. Containers with no # on them are not recyclable (this includes containers labeled compostable)
  3. Clean Metal cans (soda, soup)
  4. All glass
  5. All clean paper (newspapers, brown bags, boxboard, envelopes, copy paper)
  6. Milk cartons

All batteries will continue to be collected in the laundry rooms.

Sharps containers are available through security.

The Health Committee will arrange for a collection of unused medications.

Plastic bag collection in laundry rooms is discontinued until there is no threat of COVID-19.  Residents can bring their own bags to local grocery stores.

There was a discussion of ways to move to a zero-waste lifestyle.  Kudos to Mimi O’Donnell, who has eliminated the use of paper towels and napkins in her household.

We will have a Zoom meeting on October 20, 2020.

DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield and Ron MacNab, Co-Chairs):
The Dining Services Committee met physically on September 28th in BR-1.  Ken Zahn attended.

Ron MacNab, who was recently appointed by the Residents’ Council as Co-Chair of the Dining Services Committee, was introduced.

Chair Bob Caulfield asked the subcommittee chairs to comment on their experiences and concerns over the last several months of the pandemic. There was consensus that while the quality of meals, service, and options for dining have significantly improved, there are still notable problems and inconsistencies such as:

  • The phone call-in process often had long delays in getting through or no answer at all.
  • The closing of the Refectory causes inconvenience to those living in that area. Buffet service is not conducive to safe dining during the pandemic.
  • The lack of written and web-site menus caused confusion. Many people didn’t understand what was going on and what was expected of them.
  • Orders picked up for carry-out or delivered were often incorrect. Items were missing, added, or substituted. Perhaps it would be helpful if they had an expediter at the end of the line to make a final check.
  • Keeping track of menu timelines is confusing.
  • Initially, residents with special dietary needs did not have enough options for dining. This improved.

Ken Zahn responded to all questions and problems noted. He and his staff were applauded for their efforts on our behalf during the pandemic crisis.

Because of limited seating in the dining rooms, restaurants are unable to accommodate single diners. Ken asked for our support in encouraging couples to invite singles they know to dine with them.

The next meeting of the Dining Services Committee will be on Monday, October 19 in Brookside Classroom 1 at 2:00 P.M. Attendance will be limited.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

FINANCE (Gordon Piche, Chair):
The Finance Committee met on September 29 with Finance Director Pam Stiner, Assistant Finance Director, Eric Schwab, Executive Director Clara Parker, Board of Directors member Naomi McAfee, three Residents’ Council officers, and nine committee members.

Gil Fisher has been designated Finance Committee Assistant Chair.

The Occupancy Data and Financial Package reports for August were presented by Eric Schwab:

Independent Living     95.7%
Assisted Living             100.4%
Memory Care              97.1%
Skilled Nursing            79.5%

Independent Occupancy decreased slightly in August due to 5 less billed units. The occupancy levels in Skilled Nursing continue to be affected by the need to maintain the COVID unit and the discontinuation of double-occupancy rooms. Settlements are beginning to pick up over the last few months, as 11 apartments settled in August and 13 in September.

August Operating Revenue of $7,375,000 was $205,000 below budget due to lower occupancy and fewer revenue-generating ancillary services being offered due to COVID. Included in August’s revenue was a $310k CARES Act payment. Budgeted operating costs were $72,000 below, resulting in an Operating Income of $666,000, $134,000 below budget.

Nonoperating income for August was $2.1M above plan due to investment performance. Cash flow from Operating Activities at the end of August continues to be impacted by the reduction in Occupancy and entrance deposit cash inflow. Ms. Stiner continues working closely with the Board of Directors Investment Committee to manage cash appropriately during the pandemic.

Regarding restricted funds, 15 residents received benevolent care assistance.  The number is expected to rise over the next few months.

The committee will meet next on October 27 at 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

GROUNDS (Mike Rose, Chair):

The Grounds Committee met via Zoom on Tuesday, September 22, with Mike Rose presiding and the following staff members:  Kiril Apostolov, Kevin Crawford, and Ryan Truitt. Thirteen members were participating, including the above.

Previous Topics:  One of the aerators on Lake Charles has been removed for repair or replacement, said Kevin. At the sailing pier, some spindles have been replaced. It is not known where the mold on Building 1 is. The HR sidewalk has been pressure-washed to remove stains.  The St. Charles loading dock will be cleaned and sealed. Dead tree removal was completed several weeks ago.

New Topics:  The privet hedge from the Chapel to Terrace needs some attention. A discussion was held of what could be done, but no decisions were made. Overgrown plants and trees at EW 202 will be pruned as needed. Jennifer Dempsey made complaints about the walkways between the garden plots not being mowed enough.  Again, Jennifer addressed the unattractive landscaping at the St. Charles’ front garden.  Kevin told of plans for updating in the spring but, in the meantime, would remove some of the ajuga. Debris, which can be unsightly, has been left for pickup near Bert’s memorial. It was suggested that John Lorenz be notified of a new location for debris, such as between the portable toilet and the boathouse.  He should also notify Kiril at for pickup.  It was also mentioned that some of the lights which are placed along walkways are in bad shape, some having been run over. Estimates for repairing the nature trail bridge are being solicited and should be available next week. Also needed are 4×4 replacements that hold wood chips in place on the trail.

Pat Kasuda asked about the 5-year plan, which Kevin said is behind schedule because of COVID.

The next meeting will be by Zoom on October 27 at 10 a.m.

HEALTH SERVICES (Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker, Chair):
The Health Services Committee met on September 8 via Zoom with six resident members in attendance.

Medical Center staff will administer the seasonal flu shot during scheduled appointments with their medical providers; by making an appointment, and at residents’ apartments. Though wearing masks, social distancing, etc., may result in lower flu infections, it is especially important to get the flu shot this year as symptoms, except for the alteration of taste and smell, mimic those of COVID-19.

Possible radiology film collection for sale with the proceeds to go to Benevolent Care is being determined in coordination with the Benevolent Care Committee & Staff.

The Health Committee is partnering with the Safety and Security Committee and with the Parkinson’s Group leader to revive the Fall Prevention Program halted by COVID-19.

Committee member Pat Kasuda continues to work with MD State Legislators to introduce Standards for Memory Care and encourages us to write our legislators in support. She continues her work with the Virginia I Jones Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Council. She will report to the General Assembly this year to include Quality of Care issues in establishing the need for Memory Care Standards.  Charlestown has the top rating for its Memory care.

Suggestions made to promote and engage residents in their health were: To make some simple changes to our dining menus to have us “see” the vegetable selections first. Then put the healthy choices at the top of entrees, e.g., salmon. Put the mac and cheese and the turkey over white bread with gravy and a side of fries at the bottom. Simple stuff has proven to make a huge difference: to promote hearing tests, to check hearing aids periodically, and to get back to regular exercise to restore muscle weakness, all need to prevent imbalances.

The collection of non-wanted medications will be scheduled for November. The announcement of dates is forthcoming.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 13 at 11 a.m. via ZOOM.

HOUSEKEEPING (Betty Elder, Chair):
The Housekeeping Committee met on September 18, 2020, via Zoom. The Housekeeping Committee welcomed Ms. Fenn, Mr. Shaw, and Mr. Apostolov from the Charlestown Staff.

Ms. Fenn reiterated that items dealing with cleaning and resupply were part of the housekeeping.  Any items dealing with repairs, painting, or installations are part of maintenance. The Residents’ Council’s Housekeeping and Maintenance Committees will work jointly to report any concerns.

Ms. Fenn said that the Housekeeping Committee could start their inspections at this time, avoiding large groups. Mr. Apostolov reminded folks that the emphasis is still on disinfecting the high-touch points at least twice a day.  Any emergency housekeeping items should be reported, and the best method is to use the My Erickson portal and use under Maintenance.

There were many concerns about trash collection and the additional stains/trash and smell it creates within the buildings and elevators. Again, no additional resident use trash dumpsters can be provided due to safety concerns. The only place that has this type of trash collection is outside at the Caton Ridge Dock. Mr. Apostolov said to let him know if resident trash is placed earlier than it should in the hallway for collection. A letter will be sent to those in violation. In addition, please contact Ken Zahn about food not picked up hours after delivery.  It was advised that no unwrapped treats such as brownies, be left on the package shelves.

There is still a delay in picking up large items for treasure sale as the CCI Housekeeping Staff is still working on the disinfection of common areas.

Kudos to the hard work of the Charlestown Housekeeping Staff. In general, residents are happy with the sanitization process.

Our next meeting is on Friday, October 16, via ZOOM.


Our Committee met on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. The meeting began with brief introductions of the new Chair and members. Wendel Thompson volunteered to serve as the Committee’s Secretary. Bill Miller reported that the County has confirmed plans to replace the main water line along Maiden Choice Lane. As a result, Charlestown will have access to a second source of water and will no longer be tied to a single source.

The Committee members voted to endorse a proposal by the League of Women Voters (LWV) to assist Charlestown residents to safely transfer their completed mail-in ballots to a drop box at the Arbutus Recreation Center during the early voting period from October 26 to November 2. Residents would be able to bring their ballots to two locations in Charlestown twice a day during one-hour periods. Ballots will be collected by LWV volunteers. Additional volunteers will be needed to help transport the ballots to the ballot dropbox. Approvals of this proposal are being sought from the Baltimore County Board of Elections and Charlestown management.

It was noted that six bills being monitored by this committee during the 2020 Legislative Session were enacted into law, and three others were passed but vetoed by the Governor.

The Chair announced two new items.  Kweisi Mfume and Kimberly Klacik, candidates for the 7th congressional district have been invited to make taped presentation at Charlestown.  Mfume will tape on October 26th; Klacik’s taping has yet to be scheduled.

Warren Deschenaux, former director of policy analysis for the Department of Legislative Services and long-time authority on Maryland’s budget will come to the committee’s November meeting to discuss revenue shortfall and the impact on 2021 legislative matters.

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, October 14th, on Zoom. It is anticipated that a major focus of this meeting will be plans for assisting Charlestown residents with safely transferring their mail-in ballots to the Arbutus drop box location. Approximately 16 drivers will be needed for approximately one hour for each dropbox trip.


Ten committee members met, by Zoom, on Tuesday, September 22, with General Services’ Kiril Apostolov, Don Hoffman and Chris Caldwell.

General Services Update: Due to our current situation, many major issues have been placed on hold or rescheduled. As we navigate through the process of rescheduling, repricing, and prioritizing, we will begin to receive more detailed information. Many issues will not be addressed before next year.

Issues currently being addressed are the Pond and Nature Trail, sconce lighting in Chapel Court, damage to Parkview elevator, stairway lighting in Edgewood and, outside door at the pool area.

General Services cannot have the trees [2] near the gatehouse removed. They are on corporate property.

The next meeting, by Zoom, will be held on Tuesday, October 27, at 2 p.m.

RESIDENT LIFE (Sam Cushman and Ron Fayer, Chairs):
The September meeting of the Resident Life Committee was held on the 16th using Zoom.  Eleven attendees participated, including Ron Fayer, the new Co-Chair of the Resident Life Committee; two Residents’ Council officers; and Rose Sands representing the Administration.

Sam Cushman led a discussion about efforts at Charlestown to understand diversity and inclusion issues.  Sam described the efforts of a small group of residents calling itself the Diversity/Equity Working Group and a plan to undertake a focus group meeting in the near future with the purpose of assessing resident concerns in this area.  The Working Group has been working with Heather Sheridan in the Administration in planning this focus group.

The remainder of the meeting briefly reviewed the status of the Resident Life Committee’s regular functions:  Mission Moments, Birthday Angels, Resident Welcome and Condolence Cards, Transportation, EMVs, and Pet Owners.

A significant agenda item for the Committee’s October meeting will be a discussion of the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on Charlestown residents and what we can do to alleviate this impact.  Ron Fayer will lead this discussion following his efforts to discuss the situation with members of other Residents’ Council committees.  The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 21, at 2:00 pm by Zoom.

SAFETY & SECURITY (Ed Wallace, Chair):
The Safety and Security Committee met on September 8 at 1 PM via ZOOM. The following items were discussed:

  1. Fall prevention Ed Wallace stated that several excellent videos on fall prevention were found on the Internet. The URLs were sent to Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker so she could have them examined and verified that they did not contain anything in conflict with Erickson messaging. If the videos are approved, they will be sent to Tom Moore to be shown on channel 972 during Fall Prevention Week in September (Sept 21-25).
  2. Emergency phone number. Ed Wallace announced that there is a shorter phone number for emergencies:(410)737-8806. This number is different from what is in the resident handbook, (410) 737-8838 ext. 601-8806.
  3. We need to get the latest statistics on falls.

The next meeting of the Safety and Security Committee will be on Tuesday, October 13, at 1:00 pm.

Nathan began his comments by saying it is good to hear what is going on and that he is appreciative that the Residents’ Council is so engaged.

Sales are picking up with 2 reservations so far in October as of today.  A couple of sales events are being planned for later this month, on a reservation-only basis.

The State of Maryland has eased some of the restrictions on in-person visitations in Continuing Care units.

Progress in the Wilton Overlook building is going very well, and the opening is expected in early 2021.

Dining Services is making great strides to improve allergy identifications on printed menus and implementing the Solo Diners program.

Over 400 employees have had their seasonal flu shots. This week a new mobile application which allows employees to handle their own data for personnel files has gone live.

Over 1300 residents in Independent Living and Continuing Care have been immunized for seasonal flu, and the door to door administration of flu shots is continuing this week for Harbor View and St. Charles.

The annual request for residents to update their Power of Attorney and contact information will be distributed soon.

In response to a question, Nathan stated that he did not have the exact number of vacant apartments and stated that there are some wonderful, available apartments with many units in the process of being prepared for re-occupancy.