Last Updated on December 9, 2020
THE RECORD OF THE CHARLESTOWN RESIDENTS’ COUNCIL
November 3, 2020
Residents’ Council Website: ccicharlestown.org
President Walt Howe called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:00 pm on Nov. 3, 2020. The October 6, 2020 minutes were approved as distributed. Clara Parker, Executive Director, attended. 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:
- Hope Tillman, Secretary
- Ron DeAbreu, Treasurer
- Jean Eichenlaub, Co-Chair of the Benevolent Care Committee
- Dick Crebs, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee
- Hope Tillman for Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair of the Conservation Committee
- Bob Caulfield, Co-Chair of the Dining Committee
- Gordon Piche, 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
- Hope Tillman for Jackie Graham, Chair of the Maintenance & Engineering Committee
- Ron Fayer, Co-Chair of the Resident Life Committee
- Mimi O’Donnell for Ed Wallace, Chair of the Safety & Security Committee
- Lois Kimber, Chair of the Staff Appreciation Special Committee
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: None
NEW BUSINESS: None
WORDS FROM MANAGEMENT (Clara Parker):
Clara Parker’s comments are provided below.
President Howe adjourned the formal meeting at 7:55 p.m.
Submitted by Hope Tillman, Residents’ Council Secretary
ANNOUNCEMENTS/ PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Walt Howe):
Mary Smith nominated Ellie DiPietro. She has been recognized before and continues to do wonderful things for her neighbors. In her nomination, Mary wrote: “Ellie DiPietro is a very caring neighbor and has come to my bedside many times. She is willing to help me with odd jobs – like giving me my bedclothes, water, and ice cubes. When I have a vertigo attack, which comes suddenly I can be rendered immobile and at the risk of falling. I quickly develop nausea and need caring. Ellie is a helpful person like a daughter to me and is there when I need her. She is also a great consoler and has helped many residents at the time of their death. You will also find her initiating appropriate recognition for residents after their death.” Ellie demonstrates the Erickson Living Values for her caring and concern for so many.
Jude Socher nominated Betty Miller, writing: “Today a resident called me. Without identifying herself, she asked if I had a birthday today, when I responded, yes, she said, Judith, here is a birthday message for you, then a recorded voice sang “Happy Birthday” and ended with, and “m-a-n-y more ….”. I was charmed. Thanking her, I asked who was calling and she replied Betty Miller. She added that when COVID kept the Birthday Angels from delivering cards and balloons, it occurred to her that people all over the campus were opening their doors on their birthdays with no Birthday Angels’ wishes. This motivated her to call everyone on the Birthday list to wish them a happy birthday. Isn’t that the sweetest thing to do for one’s neighbors?” Jude nominated Betty for seeing an opportunity to make her neighbors’ birthdays special, especially those neighbors she’s never met.
If you know any residents who should be recognized for their Mission Moments, please contact Pat Kasuda.
A major challenge for us this year during COVID-19 restrictions is to keep residents involved. The work of the Residents’ Council depends on involvement by residents who are not Council members. While we used to hold open Committee meetings in classrooms or conference rooms and publish the schedules, our meetings are largely limited to Zoom meetings now. To fully participate in a Zoom meeting requires each participant to have a computer, tablet, or smartphone and know how to use them to connect. You can also connect using an ordinary telephone, but you will miss any visual information that you could see on screen. We are continually searching for more and better ways to involve residents. We discuss this in a Residents’ Council Update in the November Sunburst. Check it out for more information.
We have made some progress beyond what you will read in the Sunburst. While present Committee members receive links by email to connect to Zoom for meetings, we have now started to post those links on MyErickson, too. We do not post them openly on the Council website, since that is available to the public, and we don’t want to invite the whole world to attend our meetings. Hope will tell you more about this in her Secretary’s report.
This meeting is being carried live on YouTube, and recorded for viewing afterward on Channel 972 and from links on the websites. Check 972 schedules and look for link information on MyErickson.
ELLIC is also planning to set up Zoom courses beginning this winter, and training is in progress for those who will conduct Zoom classes. This training will extend to more and more residents and help them learn to use Zoom. This will help all of us who now depend on Zoom.
We also will make more use of classrooms to hold hybrid meetings, where a limited number can participate in person, and others can contribute by Zoom, viewed on the large screen in the room as well as on home screens. This will give the possibility for more involvement by those who do not have the devices to use Zoom or have poor Wi-Fi connections. We want to make it possible for all residents to take part and stay informed.
You will hear reports from all our Committees during this meeting. We also will hear from the Staff Appreciation Committee chaired by Lois Kimber, since this is Staff Appreciation Month.
VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Pat Rudolph): None
SECRETARY’S REPORT (Hope Tillman, Secretary, and Mimi O’Donnell, Assistant Secretary):
At the Council Work Session, the Residents’ Council budget for 2020-2021 was approved.
The monthly Residents’ Council meeting is available for live viewing or viewing after the meeting via the link which is listed in MyErickson under Resident Resources in its Residents’ Council section. Also, there are links to attend most of the Residents’ Council Committee meetings by Zoom in that same section within MyErickson. Please let the chair of the committee know if you plan to attend.
TREASURER’S REPORT (Ron DeAbreu):
The Council’s account balance at the end of September was $1934.01. In October, the Council received $4,057.00 in Residents’ Association dues. Expenditures for the month totaled $100. Thus, the Council’s account balance at the end of October was $5,891.01.
BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub and Eugenia High, Co-Chairs):
The meeting was held via Zoom and was attended by committee members, Patti Santoni, Lisa Zehring, and Emily Fowler from Philanthropy in attendance. Patti began with good news regarding September’s Benevolent Care month. The Love Boat Telethon was a great success with $102,870 raised! This includes a $26,000 match from the Board of Directors, sponsorship from vendors, and donations from residents. This is excellent since the 2019 Gala netted $87k. During BCF month, 22 new monthly donors enrolled in the program (goal was 20 in 2020), and 20 current donors increased their monthly donation. Plus, several residents pledged their entrance deposit. In addition, the BCF Month overall campaign brought in more than $57,000, which brings the total raised for BCF month to $159,000. In comparison, the 2019 Benevolent Care month raised $134,000.
The Treasure Sale pick-ups will cease on November 6 due to lack of space. Apartment cleanouts are conducted only by Philanthropy staff; no residents can be involved. With limited staffing in Housekeeping, the Philanthropy staff move the furniture items from the apartments to the furniture room (cherry-picking the best items with the highest resale value). There is no anticipated date for the large Treasure Sale to resume. However, the room(s) remain open by appointment. On Thursday, October 29th there will be a Virtual Sale through the Facebook page. The last sale was very successful raising about $6,000.
Friends and Family Campaign: There was a discussion on how to reach out to families for donations to Benevolent Care. We need to explore other avenues to bring in more money other than residents, employees, and vendors. The on-line donation page can be accessed by anyone – even outside guests. A suggestion was made for residents to ask relatives for a donation (in Honor of) to Benevolent Care at Christmas in lieu of gifts.
Other events include the Jewelry & Holiday Gift Sale to be held in the Gallery on November 20th by appointment only and not for outside guests.
Year-end giving plans were discussed. Ideas include a program on channel 972 to review planned giving and ways to give. This year there is no required minimum distribution (RMD) which could hurt our donations at year-end.
The next Benevolent Care Committee meeting will probably be on November 25th, 2:00 pm by Zoom.
COMMUNICATIONS (Dick Crebs and David Elder, Co-Chairs):
16 members and Mary Evans attended the Zoom meeting. The September minutes were approved by acclamation. Charlie Eichenlaub provided the Evergreen Topics update.
Dick Crebs Talked to Kiril Apostolov regarding away forms. Kiril Apostolov requested that residents please contact him directly with their concerns.
Mary Evans shared that there will be an opportunity for all residents to update their opt-out choices in the near future. New resident orientation includes a plug to encourage signing up for MyErickson. We asked Mary Evans to encourage new residents to include a photo as part of the online resident directory listing.
We discussed usage of the message icon on MyErickson. Perhaps updates to MyErickson could be highlighted with the message icon. It could also advise residents when Council videos are available for viewing.
We had a discussion of Wi-Fi Coverage and Reliability. Redesign and replacement of the whole system is the preferred solution and is under review. Precious Hardcastle is the point of contact for Wi-Fi concerns. We discussed Wi-Fi issues and whether an additional USB antenna helps.
New Business: Political signage was mentioned. It can be divisive. Since the election is only a week away no action is planned.
The November meeting of the Communications Committee will be held via Zoom on November 23 at 2:00 pm, preceded by the Website Subcommittee at 1:00 pm.
CONSERVATION (Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair):
The committee asked the administration why so many compostable items were being used by dining since these items cannot be recycled. This is a question of supply/demand. Sysco is working hard to get “to go” containers for us and will try to always get “recyclable” ones. However, they sometimes have to go to the compostable. Also, at the present time, we cannot ask individual residents to collect plastic bags from the laundry rooms. Residents can take their own plastic bags to grocery stores for recycling. Administration stated that Charlestown tries to recycle reusable materials such as cabinets and hardware when renovating apartments.
The committee wants to be sure that residents know that they should not put recycling in plastic bags. Put them in the blue recycling containers that can be obtained from housekeeping. Residents would in general prefer the taller ones. The committee received compliments on the clarity of the recent notice on recycling on 972, and residents have requested reposting of boards at the restaurants with pictures of items that are and are not recyclable. There was a brief discussion of how to attain a zero-waste lifestyle.
The next Conservation Committee meeting will be on November 17 via Zoom.
DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield and Ronald MacNab, Co-Chairs):
Meeting took place on October 19th. Victor Cirrincione attended and reviewed the new ordering procedure being implemented at all dining rooms this week. The process is designed to be more efficient and reduce the amount of time residents spend on the phone, waiting to place their orders. The new number for all meal deliveries is 410-737-8888.
Dining Rooms, now open for the last month at 50% capacity, are experiencing slow growth but, for the most part, good reviews. Restaurants cannot accommodate single seating. A program of residents volunteering to dine with singles and new residents is being developed.
Bob and Ron reviewed details of their recent meeting with Ken Zahn and Victor Cirrincione.
There is currently some confusion among many of our residents as to the ongoing changes, initiatives, and policies Dining Services has implemented in order to get us back to the new “normal.” We suggested to management the development of a written master fact sheet of information relevant to dining operations in all the venues. Dining Services has agreed to this need and will share drafts of this fact sheet with our committee before printing.
Monthly “Meetings with the Managers” cannot be safely held at this time. The televised Dining Services Town Hall has been well received. Residents have an opportunity to call in, ask questions, and express concerns. Town Hall meetings take place on the last Friday of the month at 10 AM. The next Town Hall was on October 30. As a reminder, Dining Services updates take place on 972 at 10:00 AM on Thursdays and are repeated throughout the day.
The meeting concluded with general comments from committee members and appreciation for staff efforts during this difficult time.
The next meeting will be held in the Auditorium on November 16 at 2 PM.
FINANCE (Gordon Piche, Chair):
The Finance Committee met on October 27 with Finance Director Pam Stiner, Assistant Finance Director, Eric Schwab, Board of Directors members Naomi McAfee and Charles Denton, three Residents’ Council officers, and 12 committee members.
The Occupancy Data and Financial Package reports for September were presented by Eric Schwab:
Independent Living 95.6%
Assisted Living 99.8%
Memory Care 100.0%
Skilled Nursing 77.2%
Independent Occupancy decreased 0.1 percent in September. 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 continued to pick up in October in Independent Living.
September Operating Revenue of $7,079,000 was $417,000 below budget due to lower occupancy and fewer revenue-generating ancillary services being offered due to COVID. Budgeted Operating Costs were $404,000 below resulting in an Operating Income of $742,000, $12,000 below budget.
Nonoperating income for September was $770,000 below plan due to investment performance. Ms. Stiner continues working closely with the Board of Directors Investment Committee during the pandemic.
Regarding restricted funds, 16 residents received benevolent care assistance. The number is expected to rise slightly over the next few months.
Regarding the Scholars Fund, the amount of the scholarship is being increased from $2,000 annually to $3,000. The current balance in the fund is over $1.2 million.
The committee will meet next on November 24 at 9 am via Zoom.
GROUNDS (Mike Rose, Chair):
The Grounds Committee met via Zoom on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. There were 14 members and 1 Staff (Kiril Apostolov) present. The condition of Lake Charles has notably improved since 2019. Contributing factors are the new fountains which added much-needed aeration, the addition of dye to the water, and periodic treatment with copper algaecide. The dock and the benches need some boards replaced. The faulty aerator has been replaced. Staff will need to obtain additional information to assess the mold on building 1. The loading dock at St. Charles will need additional washing which will be followed by sealing. There was a proposal to convert the former Wildflower garden into a Shade garden which failed for want of a second after much discussion. A tree near the cemetery and another along Erickson Way that need attention will be evaluated by Staff. An expert on shrubs, etc. will be asked to evaluate the condition of the privet hedge near the Chapel and to make recommendations. It is believed that the poor condition of the shrubbery at St. Charles is being caused by the dumping of oxygen by suppliers and this has been stopped. Staff has trimmed the overgrown plants at EW 202 and will evaluate the condition of overgrown plants at EW 212. A long-term plan has been developed to reposition the garden plot rails. Meanwhile, volunteers are doing “weed-whacking.” The front landscaping at St. Charles will be redone next Spring. Staff will check on the vines at the lake which seem to be entrapping deer. The memory walk needs edging and blowing.
The next meeting will be by Zoom on November 24, 2020, at 10 a.m.
HEALTH SERVICES (Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker, Chair):
Our Committee met via ZOOM on October 13 at 11 am with 7 guests attending.
Medical Center Administrator Dean Crawford reported those receiving flu vaccines from the Medical Center were: 1600 residents and 50 % of full-time employees with 100 residents receiving theirs from outside providers. Quarantine from 7-14 days for those coming in contact with employees suspected of being positive for Covid-19 depends on risk factors like time of exposure, whether the parties involved were masked, and whether retesting for the virus is negative.
Home Health Care Administrator Casey Jaekle encourages residents to use Charlestown’s certified home health care support service personnel, who follow all CDC protocols for safety. Residents’ Council can help increase awareness and improvement of these services by relaying what we or our neighbors have experienced with home health care to identify likes/dislikes.
Assistant Rehabilitation Manager Maksim Mendelzon reported the Outpatient Rehab is fully opened and has partnered with Skilled Nursing Rehab and Continuing care providing therapy to residents wherever they need it.
Resident Services Manager Lisa Roeder announced two new hires will be available November 2nd to cover St. Charles, Herbert’s Run, and historic district areas. That brings the unit up to full staffing. Intermissions has resumed with limited hours and capacity. Contact with those residents not known to rely on support from family members before COVID-19 has been made and assistance rendered. Anyone can help those who we know have issues with isolation and/or afraid to leave their apartments, by asking: Where their fear lies? What do they miss the most? What would it take to feel more comfortable? Encourage participation in Charlestown groups and to contact their Resident Services coordinator or Medical Center staff.
Continuing Care allows compassionate visits by appointments and informs family members weekly for changes regarding COVID-19. Caton Woods residents are utilizing the patios.
The Health Committee, Safety & Security Committee, and Parkinson’s Group leaders, and Charlestown Administration have identified activities to promote fall prevention. Among them are the production of videos on the proper use of mobility aids (canes, walking sticks, rollators, etc.) and avoiding visible and invisible safety hazards in our homes.
Medication Collection will be Monday, November 9 from 1:00-3:00 PM at the Fireside and Cross Creek Areas.
The next meeting is scheduled for November 10 at 11:00 AM via Zoom.
HOUSEKEEPING (Betty Elder, Chair):
The Housekeeping Committee met on October 16, 2020, via Zoom, with seventeen people in attendance. The Housekeeping Committee welcomed Ms. Michelle Fenn, Charlestown Housekeeping Manager.
The St. Charles’ trash collection has been more carefully handled since the previous month. Additional bag slitting and excess trash on the floors has been eliminated. If residents need a trash or a recycle container, they need to ask Housekeeping. Ms. Hryn said that the magnet and welcome gifts were very useful.
The Housekeeping Committee does not inspect the assisted living areas. It only covers independent living.
Emergency cleaning should be reported, and the best method is to use the My Erickson portal and use CCIWorkOrders@erickson.com. Ms. Fenn mentioned that there are some vacant staff positions. Please be patient; new housekeeping staff members are still learning the job.
The washing of windows in the common areas, bridge, hallways, etc. is on hold until 2021 due to COVID.
The ongoing issue about trash or recycling placed in hallways earlier than they should be by days or hours is still a major concern on some floors. Let Mr. Kiril Apostolov know. A letter will be sent to those in violation. His email is Kiril.Apostolov@erickson.com.
The majority of the reports submitted dealt with maintenance items such as touch-up painting, stained or cracked ceiling tiles, broken lights, torn wallpaper, missing screws/nails, and worn carpeting. Those items were shared with the Maintenance & Engineering Committee chair, Mr. Apostolov, and Mr. Shaw. The major housekeeping concerns included dusting and washing of stairwells including handrails, floors, and stairs in most buildings, dead plants in the elevator lobbies, cleaning under and behind sofas and chairs in elevator lobbies and entranceways, locking of restroom stalls near the dining rooms, and ongoing vacuuming of hallways. Ms. Fenn mentioned that there are many contractors working to renovate apartments. It is their job to clean-up after themselves.
Kudos to the hard work of the Charlestown Housekeeping Staff. They are still sanitizing high touch areas and doing the daily cleaning.
The Housekeeping Committee is still advertising for additional assistance, especially Maple Terrace and Park View. (Note: Help in those areas has been addressed.)
Please note the change in day and time for our next meeting. Our next meeting is on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, via ZOOM.
LEGISLATIVE/POLITICAL (Pat Payne, Chair):
The Committee met on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. The meeting began with the approval of the minutes from the September 9, 2020 Committee meeting. Phyl Lansing gave an update on voting arrangements for the 2020 Presidential Election. The League of Women Voters has organized volunteers to collect completed ballots from Charlestown residents twice a day from October 26th to November 2nd and take them to the closest mail-in ballot drop boxes. Several members of the Committee volunteered to serve as drivers.
The Chair updated the Committee on plans for the Democratic and Republican 7th District Congressional candidates, Kweisi Mfume and Kimberly Klacik, to come to Charlestown to be interviewed on TV972. After some discussion, the consensus was that the Chair of the Legislative/Political Committee should do the interviews using questions submitted by residents and finalized by members of this Committee. It was agreed that the same questions should be asked of both candidates. The Chair and five other members of the Committee agreed to meet separately to finalize the questions. Action: The Chair will draft a letter to Mary Evans, Clara Parker and Heather Sheridan summarizing the Committee’s plans. The questions were approved. The interviews were taped and aired on Channel 972.
An invitation has been issued to the members of the 12th Legislative District of the Maryland General Assembly to share the delegation’s agenda for the 2021 legislative session. The event is planned for December 2020 and access will be on both Zoom and YouTube. The actual date has not yet been finalized. Bonnie Kawecki will work with the chair to plan this event. The members reviewed and agreed to retain the Committee’s existing goals. Ann MacKay shared a written update of the COVID Relief Bill.
At the November 11th Committee meeting, Warren Deschenaux, the former Executive Director of the Department of Fiscal Services, Maryland General Assembly, will give the Committee an overview of the fiscal and budgetary challenges facing the 2021 Maryland Legislature.
MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING (Jackie Graham, Chair):
7 committee members met, by Zoom, on Tuesday, October 27th with General Services representative Kevin Crawford.
General Services Update: Due to our current situation, many major issues have been rescheduled or postponed. Many issues are scheduled for repricing and prioritizing
Items to be addressed next year.
AC Maple Terrace bldg. #2
Roofing Chapel Court, Parkview and bridges connecting Chapel Courts to buildings 8/9, St Charles to Harborview, Herbert’s Run and Brookside to Edgewood, and also the bridge by Refectory to Patapsco Crossing.
Renovations to Brookside
Items currently being addressed
Elevators bldg. 7, near Terrace Café and #2 near Fireside
Lighting issues throughout campus
Maintenance issues reported by Housekeeping Committee
Betty Elder, Chair of the Housekeeping Committee, and Jackie Graham will be working together to determine areas needing protective Cover Guards. The Cover Guard would protect those areas that are constantly needing repair and repainting. This information will be given to GS’s for review and consideration.
Our next meeting will be held, by Zoom, on Tuesday, November 24th at 2 pm
RESIDENT LIFE (Ron Fayer and Carolyn Thompson, Co-Chairs):
For several weeks before the October meeting the Residents’ Life, Health, and Communication committees communicated on issues related to residents’ concerns for neighbors isolating long after shelter-in-place has become less restrictive. Two experts were invited to speak on this topic.
(1) Lisa Roeder, Resident Services Manager, indicated that social workers are helping many isolating residents. Neighbors or relatives concerned about a resident’s physical and mental health can seek help from the medical unit, security, and social workers or report concerns anonymously. Lisa discussed the physical and emotional state of some isolating residents and suggested how concerned neighbors might personally interact.
(2) Casey Jaekle, Home Care Administrator, described the 2 groups under Home Care: (1) Certified Home Health requires a physician’s order and is paid by Medicare. It includes RNs, PTs, OTs, Speech Therapists, and aides. Home Support is paid for personally and includes aides and RNs for daily personal activities (bathing, shopping, housekeeping, etc.).
Casey and Lisa interact with one another, with security, the medical center, and others when a concern has been identified.
(3) Phyllis Lansing, representing the League of Women Voters (LWV), informed us when voters could take their ballots to tables in CTS and CC lobbies and the LWV would take them to a ballot box. Unregistered voters can register and vote at Arbutus Senior Center. In-person voting is held at Catonsville High School, Middle School, and Western Tech.
The next meeting of the Resident Life Committee will be held on November 18, 2020, by Zoom will address many residents’ need for basic computer assistance.
SAFETY & SECURITY (Ed Wallace, Chair):
The Safety and Security Committee met on October 13 at 1 PM via ZOOM. The following items were discussed:
The fall prevention videos were not approved by the medical staff, with no reason being given. Ed Wallace is trying to find out why. A sub-group to work on fall prevention has been created consisting of Merci Izquierdo-Whittaker, Ed Wallace, Bill Miller, and Janet Allen.
Emergency phone number
Ed Wallace covered the status of emergency phone numbers. The best number, which will work anywhere and on landline phones and cell phones, is (410) 737-8806 (see page 48 of the resident’s guide). Per security, no simple phone number is possible.
Ed Wallace has submitted an article to the Sunburst on cybersecurity. Ed will continue each month with other articles on phishing, vishing, password protection, etc.
The next meeting of the Safety and Security Committee will be on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at 1:00 PM, either by Zoom or in a conference room.
STAFF APPRECIATION COMMITTEE (Lois Kimber, Chair)
As the chairperson of the Staff Appreciation Campaign, I, first of all, want to thank those of you who have contributed. As you know, the campaign ends November 13, which is only two weeks away.
One thing that puzzles me is only 23% of households have contributed so far. Last year at this time we were at least closer to 50%. None of us can deny that during these last 8 months we have been most of all kept safe and well taken care of by those we call Heroes. We had meals delivered, mail delivered, groceries delivered and many other things provided many times by staff for whom this was not part of their normal work activities. Staff stepped up to do whatever was needed. The last few months have been hard on everyone and I know that there may be some things that you may not be happy with. But let’s remember when we chose Charlestown, we chose to live in a community. For me this means not everything will be done the way I like it done. I challenge each of us to remember the staff. There are multiple ways to make a contribution.
If you have watched the videos you know that our staff took on many different jobs to make sure that the wheels kept turning here at Charlestown.
Please take a minute to think of how lucky we have been and take time to give that contribution.
Words from Management (Clara Parker)
Clara Parker thanked members of the Residents’ Council for their engagement with the Board of Directors on 10/30. She also stated that she appreciated the questions which were well-thought-out. She mentioned that Rich Grove, Chairman of the Board, was pleased with Council’s insightfulness. She hopes that this type of dialog can continue.
Clara commented about the monthly fee increase announced in a letter dated November 1, 2020. About thirteen letters got out early despite lock and key efforts. So far, she has received a number of comments both positive and negative. Rich Grove will be at Charlestown to respond to questions received to date.
As we move to the holiday season, she announced that holiday gatherings will be different this year. She asked for respect and understanding as Charlestown will not allow visitors to come into our restaurants for holiday meals. Specific information will be presented during the regular Dining Services Update. Charlestown is taking steps to try not to lockdown again. Therefore, she feels it is a prudent decision not to have visitors on-site for the holidays.
There has been a lot of discussion about Wi-Fi on campus. The Board of Directors has approved $1.5 for the system upgrade and implementation. We depend on a third-party vendor, and we are in line for services. Wi-Fi issues are brewing exponentially with increased usage for meetings, family connections, online shopping, etc. during the COVID pandemic. The resources of the preferred vendor are stretched thin, but we are in line for service.
Our community needs to be patient as COVID is continuing and resources are also being impacted by seasonal flu and fall allergies. About 100 staff are not available due to these issues and, specifically, 70 employees are out this week. This number 170 is greater than 10% of our workforce. As a result, some cleaning may not be done fully and dining room service may be a little slow. Please be patient.
Overall resident feedback is encouraging and reinforcing and each day is a new learning experience.
At the end of Clara Parker’s comments, Walt commented that he wants to thank the staff and appreciates the opportunity we have to work with staff.