Last Updated on March 29, 2022

(web version)

January 4, 2022
Residents’ Council Website:

President Pat Rudolph called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:00 pm on January 4, 2022. The meeting was held via Zoom. Visitors included residents: Pat Kasuda, member of the Board of Directors; Charles Denton, Honorary Resident Director; and Don Groves Associate Executive Director.

The Council observed a moment of silence for those who have passed away.

The December 2021 minutes were approved as distributed.

Pat announced the Mission Moments for the month.
Ron MacNab was concerned his recommendation for a Mission Moment was too late since staffing has rebounded a little. But a willing spirit never goes out of date.
When the modified buffet service began, some volunteer help was needed. Thank goodness! Some volunteers hate to take “no” for an answer. Bob Caulfield, having served three years chairing the Dining Committee on the Residents’ Council, is always eager to help. When volunteers were asked to help with the Dining Services Delivery phone lines, Bob was frustrated. He visited Stephanie Knowles, Volunteer Coordinator, and explained he wears hearing aids, so answering the phone was not his strong suit. However, he is capable of many other tasks which he would be happy to perform. Stephanie called Bob back and he and Mary, his wife, who is his constant support, are helping residents each Saturday and Sunday package and bag carryout dinners. Thank you, Bob and Mary.
Members of the Mission Moment Committee are aware many other residents are helping during the Dining Services staffing shortage. Thank you to all who are volunteering to help the rest of us receive our meals in a timely fashion. But as a committee we appreciate Ron MacNab for taking the initiative to recommend the Caulfields’ service. Mission Moments result from someone acting upon the Erickson values, another person noticing the action or event, and that person submitting the recommendation to the Mission Moment Committee. We encourage all residents to fill one or more of those roles by submitting recommendations to Phyl Lansing at CR403 or
Pat Rudolph called on the following officers and committee chairs for reports; the text of each report appears following the formal minutes:
• Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker, Vice President
• Mimi O’Donnell, Secretary
• Ron DeAbreu, Treasurer
• Eugenia High, Chair of the Benevolent Care Fund and Foundation Committee
• Dick Crebs or David Elder, Co-Chairs of the Communications Committee
• Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair of the Conservation Committee
• Ron MacNab or Mary Lee Seaman, Co-Chairs of the Dining Committee
• John Yoder, Chair of the Finance Committee
• Mike Rose, Chair of the Grounds Committee
• Carol Eshelman, Chair of the Health Services Committee
• Sebastian Petix, Chair of the Housekeeping Committee
• Pat Payne, Chair of the Legislative/Political Committee
• Gordon Piché, Chair of the Maintenance & Engineering Committee
• Rosemary Eck or John Remias, Co-Chairs of the Resident Life Committee
• Justine Parezo, Chair of the Safety & Security Committee
• Patricia Payne, Chair of the Nominating & Elections Committee



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

President Rudolph adjourned the formal meeting at 8:15 p.m.

Mimi O’Donnell
Residents’ Council Secretary


President Pat reported that at a recent Work Session, members of the Council said our monthly meetings are boring. We need to make them more interesting. So, we decided we would try something a little different. We decided to try to allow for a little bit more freedom of expression and ad libs rather than having people write down their report, stand up, read the report, and sit down again. We would like to give the committee chairs a little more freedom to talk about what their committees are doing because the purpose of these meetings is to let people know what the Residents’ Council is doing. So, we’ll see how that works out.

At the same time, I realized that most of the committees had not met in December and therefore they would not have much to say about what they did in December. January is the time when we look back over the last year, think about what we did, look forward, and try to think about what we’d like to do.

We are about a third of the way through this Residents’ Council year. I asked the committee chairs to think about what they had worked on or what they had achieved so far, and what they would like to do over the rest of this Council year.
I also thought maybe I need to answer the same questions. What have I achieved? What do I want to achieve? Well, most of the work of the Residents’ Council is really done by the committees and I’m not able to take credit for all the good work that they do. But one of things that I did was to help reestablish contact with the Resident Advisory Councils of the local Erickson communities. With Merci’s help, we have established contact with the Resident Advisory Councils on the nationwide Erickson committees of communities. That’s been exciting. And just so you know, basically they all complain about the same things we complain about.

I have noticed that Resident Advisory Councils not exactly the same as our Residents’ Council. All those other communities have one Board of Directors and they seem to feel they don’t get a lot of individual attention. We, at Charlestown, have our own Board of Directors, and therefore we get quite a bit of individual attention. We have a very close relationship with our Board of Directors. And that really brings me to what I would like to work on for the rest of this year. I want the Residence Council to work closely with the Residence Life committee of the board of directors in order to make sure long-term planning includes things like what happens in the Refectory. What happens with that space and the historic district? Are we going to rethink our outdoor recreation space to be sure that residents have a voice in making decisions about that? So that’s my goal.

VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker):
As I zip around the hallways, at a meeting, at the Chapel or at the restaurants, I have gotten to know many of you. My dad called me Hurricane because I do walk fast, but I will always stop to talk. I have been inspired by many of your stories and hope that you share them with others. We are such a vibrant, diverse community, sharing our talents and opening our hearts to those in need of companionship. I look forward to meeting more of you in 2022.

SECRETARY’S REPORT (Mimi O’Donnell, Secretary, and Diana Dunaway, Assistant Secretary):
Nothing to report

The Council’s account balance at the end of November was $3,497.51. The Council received $4 in dues in December. Expenditures for the month totaled $185.05. Thus, the Council’s account balance at the end of December was $3,316.46. Since the last dues collection campaign in October 2020 (15 months ago), the Council has spent $3,142.55. This was well below the amount budgeted for the period since the COVID pandemic restrictions somewhat limited the Council’s activities, for example, the cost of residents going to Annapolis to meet with legislators when the General Assembly was in session. The next dues campaign is scheduled for April and will more than replenish the Council’s coffers for the following year.

The last year’s Council books were recently audited. We passed with some suggestions for improvement in the dues campaign. I will be working on those in the upcoming months.


The Benevolent Care Fund Committee did not meet in December 2021. Don Grove (Associate Executive Director) and Gladstone James (Finance Director) have been invited to attend our next BCF committee meeting, scheduled for Wednesday January 26, 2022 at 2pm in CTS room 116.

COMMUNICATIONS (Dick Crebs or David Elder, Co-Chairs):
David Elder opened the meeting. November minutes were approved
Rose Sands was the staff in attendance. We had 17 members in attendance.
1. ¾ of those present reported Wi-fi difficulties. As always, residents
are urged to call 1-800-677-0211 to report problems.
A resident shared Wi-Fi issues with a ZOOM meeting.
2. Charlie Eichenlaub provided an update on Evergreen topics. These are topics that continue to be relevant. For example: “Need Something Fixed or Repaired? Updated General Services contact instructions”
3. David Elder talked about the computer literacy project; check out the scroll on 972 for info about how to participate.
4. It looks like a corrected directory will be delayed. Might refer to Data Task-Force.

New Business:
1. We talked about the sunsetting of 3G wireless effects on Charlestown residents.
Those with older devices may be forced to upgrade. See David’s article in the Sunburst.
2. Mention was made of the need to prioritize emergency communication on 972.
It was noted that the crawl was the appropriate vehicle.
3. Brian Gentile may attend our January meeting. We want him to address Wi-fi lack of consistency.
4. Several people complained that the “Away form was not effective.”
5. A resident shared concerns about Spam Telephone Calls.

The next meeting of the Communications Committee is scheduled for January 24 at 2pm via ZOOM preceded by the Website Committee ZOOM MEETING at 1 PM.

CONSERVATION (Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair):
Although the Conservation Committee did not meet, we hope you noticed the Recycle Update in the December edition of the Sunburst noting that Christmas wrappings are recyclable. However, foil and cellophane wrappings are not. Also, tissue paper is not recyclable. Most Christmas cards are recyclable but not cards with glitter.
The volunteers that bring plastic bags from the laundry room to Giant have only occasionally noted that someone has put trash or batteries in the box. Please use the battery container or the trash can for such items.
The next meeting will be on January 18, 2021 @ 2:00 either in BR #1 or via Zoom. To get the link by email please contact

DINING SERVICES (Ronald MacNab or Mary Lee Seaman, Co-Chairs):
The Dining Committee did not meet in the month of December, but Mary Lee Seaman and I did meet with Ken on December 21.
• Residents find dinner registrations are easier to obtain and drop-ins are being seated sooner.
• Buffet dining with limited staff is causing problems.
o Restaurants are running out of entrees or pans are not being replenished in time to meet requests.
o The modified buffet menu is much faster, but food is generally not as warm. Certain types of food, like steaks, cannot be adequately served buffet style, so although residents miss them, they will not be appearing until Signature Dining resumes.
o Staffing levels have improved and continue to improve but there are still great fluctuations day-to-day due to Covid and Covid protocol.
o There is hope and anticipation that staffing levels will return to normal soon, which will permit Signature Dining to return.
However, Covid is in total control. Not only day-to-day but possibly for the next few months.
The next normal meeting of the Dining Committee, happens to fall on Martin Luther King Day, so our meeting has been rescheduled one day later, to Tuesday January 18 in the Auditorium at 2:00. Everyone who eats is invited.

FINANCE (John Yoder, Chair):
(Read by Pat Rudolph)
The Finance Committee did not meet in December, but the November Finance Package was distributed at the end of the month as usual. Highlights from the report follow.
• Independent Living occupancy continues to tick upward, though still below budget. For November, there were 14 settlements and 13 releases, for a net gain of 1. This compares to a net gain of 8 settlements in October. Year to date there have been 173 settlements in Independent Living versus 179 releases. For the month, occupancy in Independent Living 91.9%, an increase from October which was 91.7%. Occupancy for Assisted Living in November increased to 97.8% from October’s 95.7%.
• Operating income for November was steady at $771,000, $12,000 above October’s operating income. Non-operating income showed a decrease of $3.9 million due in large part to a decline in unrealized income caused by market fluctuations and from charges due to depreciation.
• Cash flow remains healthy, with a cash balance at the end of the period of almost $12 million.

Highlights of Restricted Funds:
• The Benevolent Care Fund incurred $154,175 in expenses during November, offset by inflow of $35,943 leaving a balance in the fund of $165,887. (Note that these numbers do not include assets from the Benevolent Care Foundation, which are managed and reported separately.)
• The Scholars Fund received $45,600 during November and paid out $750, leaving a total in the fund, including investments, of $1,643,283.
• Inflow to the Staff Appreciation Fund in November was $164,321. There were no payouts during the month, leaving a balance of $293,708.

The next meeting of the Finance Committee will be at 9:00 AM on January 25, 2022 in Brookside Classroom 1.

GROUNDS (Mike Rose, Chair):
The Grounds Committee did not meet in December. This report is to recognize the cooperation that the Charlestown Grounds Staff has afforded this committee on dozens of projects suggested to them by the committee. The Staff representatives have been unfailingly open and cooperative in responding to suggested areas/projects that needed their attention. In every instance, they were prompt in addressing projects or explaining why their response would be delayed (most often for budgetary or staffing issues). The next meeting of the Grounds Committee will be Tuesday, 1/25/22 at 10 AM by Zoom.

I would like to add my personal “Mission Moment” to recognize resident Pat Ward, who has led the resident-run water aerobics program Monday through Friday for over 6 years. Pat is there from 1 to 2 PM each day, always patient, pleasant, and very tolerant of our different personalities as she leads us through a series of fun exercises.

HEALTH SERVICES (Carol Eshelman, Chair):
We did not meet in December. On Monday, January 10, there will be a medications take-back from one to three in the Cross Creek and Fireside lobby areas, as in past years. This program is provided in conjunction with the Security Department and the Baltimore County Police Department. Hopefully the COVID numbers will allow this to happen. The goals for the year are to have a safe and healthy 2022. To be safe, our next meeting will be by Zoom on January the 11th at 11 o’clock. If anybody listening wants to attend, please contact me and I will send you the link.

HOUSEKEEPING (Sebastian Petix, Chair or Betty Elder Assistant Chair):
The committee did not meet in December. The next meeting is scheduled for January 24, in Brookside 1, but that is subject to change due to COVID requirements.

This has been a busy and eventful time for the members of the Legislative/Political Committee. There are three reasons why this is the case:

1. Redistricting: Once every 10 years, based on the Census, the lines of districts from which public officials are elected are redrawn. In Maryland, this means that our current County Council, legislative and congressional districts are likely to significantly change in time for the 2022 elections. This is what we know so far:

• Congress: At its December 6th Special Session, the General Assembly gave final approval to the revised Congressional districts, overriding the Governor’s veto. Charlestown is included in District 7. However, the boundaries are quite different from the current 7th Congressional District since it is located entirely in the County.
• The Legislature: The Legislature’s Redistricting Commission has recommended revised legislative districts. Charlestown is included in a single member district (12 A) located entirely in Baltimore County. Only one member of our current District 12 delegation, Eric Ebersole, will be eligible to run in this district. Final action on the maps will take place during the legislative session. The General Assembly approves the legislative redistricting maps. The Governor’s approval is not required.
• Baltimore County Council: The County Council’s proposed map places Charlestown in Councilmanic District 1. Final action by the County Council is scheduled by the end of January.

2. Maryland General Assembly Convenes January 12, 2021: In the past, the Committee has tracked legislation of interest to Charlestown residents in the areas of election law, conservation, health care, senior consumer issues, and equity. We would appreciate feedback from residents as to their legislative interests. My January Sunburst article gives you the link to the General Assembly’s website and to tutorials that show you how to take advantage of this highly informative site. Take a look at the pre-filed bills listed there and let us know about your interests. We will help you track bills of interest to you or your group.

3. Primary and General Elections 2022: Key dates to remember in this election year are as follows:
• Filing deadline for candidates: 2.22.22
• Primary Election 6.28.22
• General Election 11.8.22

This Committee, as in the past, will be sponsoring forums so Charlestown residents can get to know the candidates for office. If you would like to help with the forums, just let me know.

The next meeting of the Legislative/Political Committee will take place on Wednesday, January 12th at 10:00 am in Brookside Classroom 1. All are welcome.

Projects scheduled this year [2022]
Elevator Bldg. 7 – will finish in Jan.
Elevator Generator for St Charles – on order
Scheduled Roof Replacements – No Contracts yet
Terrace level Awning replacements – in process
Water leakage in the ceiling of the Ladies Boutique – TBD
Projects for next year still on schedule [2023]
Brookside/Herbert’s Run Renovations
Auditorium Stage renovations
No new info concerning the opening of the Refectory
Runoff from roof Cross Creek Station and gutter behind mailroom
Do not see any changes – bent gutter still leaking
Replace elevators – Charlestown Square, (Cross Creek Sta. under way)
Center line striping on road near Chapel.
All striping not replaced after completion of construction (Grounds)
Repair outside door into reception area of Chapel before doors into Chapel
Vertical crack in the brickwork outside Apt HV223 – Bldg. not in any danger
Items lists forwarded from Housekeeping
Interior Signage needs updating and some corrections
Discuss Wood Guard Rails

NEXT MEETING scheduled for Tuesday, February 22 at 2pm (discuss)

RESIDENT LIFE (Rosemary Eck or John Remias, Co-Chairs):
We want to first report on our accomplishments so far this year. We are learning the ropes and well under sail. We are revising information about guest suites for residents and have worked to honor Janel Douglas for her work in the Archives. Soon we will have a ceremony naming the Archives in her honor. We met with the new Resident Life Director, Karen Leighton. While the committee did not meet in December, we have taken stock of our responsibilities and will continue to invite Karen to our monthly meetings. We expect to hear more about the functions under Resident Life. We will continue to explore a monthly staff mission moment, the possibility of a time capsule for next year, and a possible resident survey. John, take it away!
As Rosemary mentioned, my name is John Remias, chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Subcommittee, a new baby living under the Resident Life umbrella. We were born on September 2, 2021. We did have a meeting on December 17th. During this past year, we have had three meetings discussing what kind of committee we need to be.
I have established contact with the Diversity committees at Oakcrest and Riderwood and have gotten a lot of good information from them about how they run their committees.
Diversity covers areas such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, and disability or medical condition. So, we will have plenty of things to discuss as we move forward. At the moment, we are working on developing our Mission Statement (the what) and Mission Support statements (the hows) for our committee. The ultimate goal of the committee will be to enhance and support Charlestown’s goal of harmonious living for all our residents.

SAFETY & SECURITY (Justine Parezo, Chair):
There was no whole group meeting in December 2021 for the Safety and Security Committee.
A small group of us got together to finalize our goals for the next two years. Actually, the goals are a good way to look at what our committee has done and will do in the future.
Based on our mission statement, we have identified four overarching goals and we have identified several objectives under each. In brief, the goals are related to (1) informing and educating residents about issues of safety/security; (2) familiarizing residents with practices and procedures for responding to threats to safety/security; (3) informing Security Department of resident’s concerns; (4) participating in activities to lessen the occurrence of risk factors. We will continue our efforts with the medication take-back, the voluntary gun take-back, falls prevention, scam prevention, and internet safety. In addition, we will be starting new projects such as a focus on safety for motor vehicles and pedestrians on campus roads and sidewalks and encouraging wearing of pendants on a regular basis.

Once the goals have been presented at the next committee meeting, they will be posted on the CCI website for all to see.

A shout out for the medication take-back on January 10, 1-3 p.m. in the lobbies outside of Chesapeake and Fireside.

Our next meeting is scheduled for January 11, 2022 at 1 p.m. in BR Cl 1. I am still hoping for a face-to-face meeting, but we will see how things develop with the Administration and our response to COVID.

WORDS FROM MANAGEMENT (Don Grove, Associate Executive Director):
Don Grove began his comments wishing all a Happy New Year. He noted that when Pat mentioned the importance of Charlestown having its own Board of Directors, he agrees that this relationship makes Charlestown distinct from all other Erickson properties. He also looks forward to working with the Council and the Resident Life Committee on areas of importance such as the outdoors and the historic district.

Clara Parker seems to be doing well, with a planned return to work on January 10th. He thanked Nathan Blumberg for his guidance during Clara’s leave of absence. With respect to Omicron, there has been an uptick in cases but with fewer hospitalizations and no deaths. He continues to work with Dr. Carpenter and Lesley Johnson, Director of Nursing, to keep residents safe. 30 residents in Independent Living have tested positive, with 28 positives in Continuing Care. On the employee side, there are 23 employees in Independent Living testing positive with 26 positive employees in continuing care.

Staffing is moving forward, but with high numbers of staff with COVID and with exposure, there are continuing problems. The areas of greatest concern are nursing care, dining services, and housekeeping although he is keeping a close eye on the security function. Sometimes there are other problems such as a recent snowstorm when many staff were not able to get to work, but meals were provided, nonetheless.

He reminded attendees that all residents are asked to use masks and not to have guests in the dining rooms. The intention is to return to Signature Dining in mid-January but that decision, as other decisions to be made, are dependent on the status of the virus. There is no major change to group activities. However, groups may decide to hold virtual or in-person meetings as the group feels comfortable. Other changes may be forthcoming in the next few days, but the situation is fluid, and we need to be flexible.

Related to IT, Don continues to ask residents to call the IT line and make appointments for service. Don invited residents to email him regarding individual issues.

In General Services, Aida Blanco’s last day is January 7th. Jason Spivey will be the interim director until a permanent director is found. He is a traveling General Services director with extensive Erickson experience. He recently worked at Riderwood.

The elevator in Building 7 is scheduled to open in mid-January. With regards to CVS, the opening is now scheduled for January 31. Supply chain issues have caused the delayed opening. The operating hours will remain the same as they are now.

Finally, regarding sales, we finished the year with 186 settlements versus a budget of 164. There were 198 releases, but this number may be skewed due to a high number of moves from Independent Living to Continuing Care.


In response to a question about the type of COVID test being used, Don reported that he would defer this question to Dr. Carpenter.

A question was asked about the POS computers not being used in the Chesapeake. Don did not have an answer. Both he and Dining Services Chair, Ron MacNab, said that they would follow-up.

Pat Kasuda commented that a form is available on the CCI website and My Erickson to document exceptional staff service. The form is sent to the department head so that appropriate action can be taken to recognize staff. Don commented that he would like to get an email about staff work also.

Bob Caulfield asked about what measures were being taken regarding staffing. Don replied that Human Resources is doing a great job with some rate increases and incentives.

Mimi O’Donnell reminded all that staff applications for the Scholars program are due soon. This led to a number of questions, which will be referred to the Scholars Committee Chair.

In response to a comment about the need for all residents to wear masks outside of their apartments, the consensus was that any resident could politely remind other residents to wear a mask for the health of everyone on campus.