Last Updated on June 9, 2022

(web version)

May 3, 2022
Residents’ Council Website:

President Pat Rudolph called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:00 pm on May, 3, 2022.  The meeting was held via ZOOM with 19 Council Members and 69 Guests and Residents

Pat welcomed Pat Kasuda and Naomi McAfee, members of the Board of Directors, and Executive Director, Clara Parker.

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

Pat asked the Council for approval of the previously distributed Minutes of the April Residents’ Council. Hearing no comments, Pat declared the minutes approved.

Mission Moments
President Pat read the Mission Moments for May.

“Pat Rudolph nominates Eugenia High for the Individual Mission Moment for May. Eugenia is a valued member of the Residents’ Council and a respected 972 newscaster, but she has made a special contribution to our community by her efforts to help Charlestown celebrate Black History Month. Tom Moore told me that Eugenia produced at least two segments for each day. That means at least 56 spots on Channel 972 to educate the community concerning the contributions of African Americans to all aspects of society. She also does the “Did You Know?” segments. Her hard work demonstrates the Erickson values of diversity, enthusiasm, and excellence.

The second Mission Moment is a community-wide story including a cat, residents, and staff. Maury Getz contacted David Elder, chair of the Charlestown Pet Group, to say that Kitty Kat, his Persian cat, was missing. Members of the Pet Group were alerted to be on the lookout. David also notified Greg Johnson, Communications Manager, so the missing cat information could be sent to the Lobby Desk personnel. Greg then sent word to Tom Moore to spread the concern across the 972 community.

Maury hasn’t been at Charlestown too long. All of us have felt confusion in this new environment so Kitty Kat may have felt some of the same. Anyway, Kitty Kat was away from home overnight. Many eyes were watching. The 972 staff took a quick break, using their varied search techniques. April was looking under bushes, Tom checked cool spots because the day was heating up. Ziggy inspected patios and he won! There was Kitty Kat happily settled on a cushioned porch chair, but willing to be Ziggy’s friend.

Maury knew to contact the Pet Group’s chairperson, David Elder.  He knew how to spread the missing cat concern to staff, and staff made the final connection. A big Mission Moment to all for showing Teamwork and Responsibility.

There are Mission Moment forms at the Lobby Desks. Take a minute to write about what you have seen or heard that promotes harmonious community living at Charlestown. Send your thoughts to Phyl Lansing, Mission Moment Chair.”

Pat Rudolph called on the following officers and committee chairs for reports; the text of those reports 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-Chair of the Communications Committee
  • Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair of the Conservation Committee
  • Ron MacNab or Mary Lee Seaman, Co-Chair 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-Chair of the Resident Life Committee
  • Justine Parezo, Chair of the Safety & Security Committee
  • John Yoder, Chair of the Nominating & Elections Committee





President Rudolph adjourned the formal meeting at 7:52 pm.

Mimi O’Donnell,
Residents’ Council Secretary


Pat reported that she spent a lot of time responding to emails about the meeting of the Residents’ Council.  After a lot of discussion, she made the decision to hold the meeting via Zoom.  She asked attendees to mute their computers unless they were reporting or asking a question.

She also noted that the Zoom closed captioning was available.

VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker): 
Merci reported that she had received an email from a resident (Charlie Eichenlaub) to say that residents thank all of the staff who helped with the booster clinic.  Their efforts are greatly appreciated.

SECRETARY’S REPORT (Mimi O’Donnell, Secretary, and Diana Dunaway, Assistant Secretary):
No report

The Council’s account balance at the end of March was $1,716.89. The Council had no expenditures in April.  The Council received $3,713.00 in Residents’ Association dues in April.  Thus, the Council’s account balance at the end of April stood at $5,429.89.

To date, 802 of 1289 households in Independent Living have submitted annual dues for a return rate of just over 60%.


BENEVOLENT CARE (Eugenia High, Chair): 
Although the Benevolent Care Committee did not meet in April there is some news to report. The Benevolent Care Fund received $114,928 from donations and sales efforts. The scholarship campaign ended on April 30. Other activities include the Treasure Sale, which is scheduled for May 5 – 7. The Charlestown Tin Cup Golf Tournament is going to be on June 6. The third annual Charlestown telethon will take place in September. The Committee is focusing on encouraging legacy, giving planned gifts, and brainstorming to develop additional fundraising strategies.

The next meeting will be on May 25 at 2:00 pm in Charlestown Square Classroom 116.

COMMUNICATIONS (Dick Crebs, Co-Chairs): 
The Communications Committee met on April 24.  Brittany Owens attended from the Charlestown administrative staff.

Evergreen topics are available to everyone on CCI Charlestown/Committees/ Communications Committee Web Page.

Brookside was reported to be experiencing a problem with the 2.4-megahertz Wi Fi. Be advised if there’s a power outage your 314 landlines may not work. Check CCI Charlestown emergency information for details. My Erickson outages should be reported to the Erickson IT Desk personnel who record and monitor technology concerns. Notify Security for any safety issues.

We are considering a segment about sunsetting of 3g Wireless effects on Charlestown residents to be aired on Channel 972. The Website Committee continues to look for ways to do a better job of providing the information residents want to find. We’re always open to more residents joining our subcommittee.

Dayle Dawes and Julie Helms are no longer writing for the Sunburst. We may add a creative writing section.  This would be for a group of residents to publish their writings. The shuttle tracker has been added to on the shuttle transportation page. There are now searchable titles in the Film Library Catalog with a search on page. You can reach it from the movies page.

We have created links between the Faith groups calendar and the club subcategory of spiritual.

The next meeting will be on May 23 at 2:00 pm via Zoom. Contact either Dick Crebs or David Elder for the link.

CONSERVATION (Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair): 
The last meeting of the Conservation Committee was held on April 19. Michelle Fenn was present.

These are the topics discussed during that meeting:

  • A flat top for trash will be coming in late spring/early summer. An announcement about the location(s) will be provided.
  • A shredder will also come to various parts of the campus. The date for this has not been established yet.
  • Progress on bills in Maryland legislature. Bills that were passed relative to conservation were:
  • Climate Solutions Now
  • MTA Conversion to Zero-Emissions Busses
  • Supplemental Environmental Projects Data Base
  • School Waste Reduction and Composting
  • Invasive & Native Plants
  • The Nature Fair was held on April 21 in the Conference Center.
  • Clarification regarding recycling: While we do not make money from recycling, we do save money because recycling is not included as part of trash removal.

The next meeting will be held on May 17, at 2:00 in Brookside Classroom 1.

DINING SERVICES (Mary Lee Seaman, Co-Chair): 
The Dining Services Committee met on April 18th in CTS 116 with Ken Zahn.

The subcommittees gave their reports about the restaurants. Members reported on their dining experience at each of the restaurants. Overall, the comments were positive regarding both food quality and service.  Unfortunately, inconsistency led to incidents of dissatisfaction.

Ken gave an update on dining services.

  • Restaurants will offer six flavors of ice cream and cafes will offer four flavors. All will provide an NSA offering and a sorbet.  Milkshakes will be coming back to cafes.
  • Birthday celebrations are coming back in May. Honoree will be given a Brownie Sundae and celebrated by the wait staff.
  • A dining Town Hall was held on April 29. It was scheduled to be in the Auditorium. However, due to the Covid outbreak, it was aired on Channel 972.
  • Restaurant meetings will begin on the third week of May.

The next meeting of the Dining Committee will be May 16 at 1:30 in CTS room 116.

FINANCE (Submitted by John Yoder, Chair and read by Pat Rudolph):
The Finance Committee met on April 26 with committee members and invited guest, Karen Leighton, Director of Resident Life.

Financial and occupancy challenges from COVID are still with us. But there’s been progress toward recovery. All sectors of Charlestown’s administration are taking a hard look at how to manage revenue and costs effectively while still maintaining the level of service and support residents expect.

March occupancy rates were little changed from the previous month with Independent Living at 91.4% and Assisted Living just over 95%. There were 17 settlements during the month and 25 releases. The Benevolent Care fund supported 24 individuals during March. Inflow to the fund in March was just over $38,000, most of it coming from residents.

Despite the challenges of balancing revenues with costs, Charlestown remains strong financially and manages a stable cash flow. Volatility in the financial markets have, predictably, been reflected in the unrealized losses and gains that are reflected in Charlestown’s investment portfolio.

The next meeting of the Finance Committee will be on May 31 at 9:15 (note the one-time change of meeting time) in Brookside Classroom 1. Dave Douds will chair in John’s absence.

GROUNDS (Mike Rose, Chair): 
The last meeting was held on April 26.

Topics discussed were: St. Charles landscaping; lamppost painting and repair; landscaping of exterior grounds at BR, HR, and ST; Nature Trail maintenance; perimeter fence breach repair; Memory Walk signage; garden plot maintenance; a five-year plan; downed trees in the woods; cemetery tree trimming; racing markers at the lake; and leaning benches. Road striping around the chapel is now scheduled to be done very soon. In addition, the committee discussed regular maintenance of the ball field, repairing the bridge at the lake, down spouts, and ensuring exterior faucets are turned on.

Often, what looks like a straight forward Grounds concern can be somewhat complicated. For example, we might want Grounds to chip up unsightly trees. This is not so easy to do. The State or County might need to determine whether or not we can.  An unsightly tree can be habitat for all sorts of life forms.  Time can be lost getting permission or, in many cases, not getting permission to remove the tree. What looks like a dead tree standing or lying without bark in the woods (to us an unsightly pile of debris) is often considered a home for birds, small animals and insects and replenishment soil material for the forest.

The committee decided to resume the use of the audit form to identify grounds problems and needs. The report will be prepared by a volunteer from specific areas of the community and submitted to the committee chair to forward to Grounds.

The committee was unanimous in recommending to the administration that, when an apartment is vacated and being prepared for reoccupation, the outside of the apartment be given the same level of consideration as the inside, particularly for terrace units.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 24 at 11:00 am in Brookside Classroom 1.

HEALTH SERVICES (Carol Eshelman, Chair): 
The Health Services committee met on April 12.

We discussed our usual topics about Continuing Care and Dependent living, home health, etc.

We are having another medication disposal day on May 23 from one to three o’clock.  It will be in the Fireside lobby and the Cross Creek lobby. With guidance from the Baltimore County Police, we are not taking liquids or creams. But everything else will be taken. Please empty medications into a plastic bag to make collection and storage at the Police Department more effective.

The next meeting will be held on May 10 at 11:00 am in Brookside Classroom 1.

HOUSEKEEPING (Betty Elder, Assistant Chair): 
The Housekeeping Committee did not meet in April.
Committee members submitted building reports to the chairperson as well as to Ms. Michelle Fenn. It was noted that construction work on the campus continues to cause noise and debris in hallways. Please continue to submit work orders if you notice the issue continuing.

Note that there will be a spring cleanup day in May. There will be a place to take any items or trash that you do not want in your apartment any longer and that are not suitable to donate to the Treasure Sale.

The next in-person meeting will be on June 27 at 10:00 am in Brookside Classroom 1.

The Legislative/Political Committee is very busy with the following major events taking place that have a direct impact on Charlestown residents including:

  • Redistricting,
  • 2022 Primary & General Elections, and
  • Monitoring the results of the very productive 2022 Session of the Maryland General Assembly.

Let me highlight the key results in each of these three areas.

  1. Redistricting
  • Charlestown is in the 7th Congressional District which includes large portions of Baltimore City and a small slice of Baltimore County. The 7th District Congressman is currently Kwesi Mfume. The Congressional maps had one court challenge, but the revised maps submitted by the Legislature received court approval.
  • Charlestown is in Legislative District 44A which is now entirely located in Baltimore County. We will have one Senator and one member of the House of Delegates. The legislative maps had one court challenge, but the revised maps received court approval.
  • Charlestown is in Baltimore County Council District #1 which has no incumbent running for re-election. The County Council map was also challenged in court. The Council’s 2nd try at the map received the court’s approval. There are four candidates running in the primary, three Democrats and one Republican.
  1. Baltimore County Council Candidate Forum – Because our County Council representative has the most direct involvement in the day to day lives of Charlestown residents, the Legislative/Political Committee will be a holding a candidates’ forum so you can meet the candidates, as shown on the slide. More details to come.
  2. Maryland General Assembly Results: – We will publish the results of legislation we tracked on the Charlestown Residents website. However, there is one budgetary action that has implications for everyone 65 and older. If you earn less than $100,000 in taxable income, whether retired or not, you will get a $1,000 tax credit; couples earning less than $150,000 will get a $1,750 tax credit.

The Legislative/Political Committee will be a holding a candidates’ forum on Monday, June 6, 2022, at 7:00 pm on zoom so you can meet the candidates. If you would like to attend, contact Pat Payne.

The next meeting will be held on May 11 at 10:00 am in Brookside Classroom 1.

The Maintenance and Engineering Committee met on Tuesday, April 26.

Projects scheduled for 2022:
Brookside renovations are now under contract. The Building 7 Courtyard Crossing elevator is back in full service but needs some finish work. Terrace level awning replacements will be completed during this spring and summer. The air conditioning update of Maple Terrace is now scheduled for this fall. Action continues on the interior signage updating project.

Projects scheduled for next year 2023:
The replacement elevator for Charlestown Square is delayed until 2023. Renovations are expected for Herbert’s Run and the auditorium stage. Scheduled roof replacements for buildings 8, Arborside and 9, Green Tree Court, have been deferred. A decision on the interim usage of the Historic District space is in progress. The return of the Refectory as a dining facility is expected to be three or more years away.

Items of concern that need attention and new issues:

The contract has been issued to redo center line striping on the roadway and the crosswalks from near Caton Woods to the chapel and to St. Charles. Some of the roadway wood guard rails are in bad condition.  An incremental approach for replacement is being reviewed. The Herbert’s Run/St Charles Bridge support foundation needs some repair. Many air conditioning bridge units are not working. A failed unit will be examined to determine the cause of non-working air conditioners. Lighting at the crosswalk at the east end of Brookside is now being reviewed. Recommendations to build a covered walkway from Building 1, Medical Center entrance to the parking lot, is under consideration. Inquiries demonstrate that there is a case to do this.  General Services is to engage the administration on this matter.

The next meeting is scheduled meeting is May 24 at 2:00 pm in the General Services conference room.

RESIDENT LIFE (Rosemary Eck and John Remias, Co-Chairs): 
Resident Life:
Rosemary reported that the last meeting of the Resident Life committee was held on April 20.  Karen Leighton was present and she announced that the Sunburst will focus on resident information.  Deanna Booker is the editor. The Residents’ Council will have two pages of content, selected by the council president and vice president.

A group will gather on May 10 at 10 o’clock in the auditorium to explore resident input for a quarterly Literary Digest. Brittany Owens will be the editor.

On June 10, there will be a community event from 4:00 – 9:00 with fireworks, antique cars, food trucks, 50’s music and more. It’ll be held outside and is open to residents, staff, and family. Brittany Owens is the coordinator.

Council committees are researching accessibility for those with hearing, vision, and physical impairments. I will meet Lisa Roeder, Manager of Resident Life Services, on May 6 to gather possible solutions for these issues. Tom Moore, Channel 972, hopes to have closed captioning available on Channel 972 in the near future. John Remias is our point person on the status of the Shortline Trail access project.

The next Resident Life committee meeting is May 18 at 2:00 pm in Brookside Classroom 1.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging:
John Remias reported that the last DIB meeting was held on April 22. Don Grove, Associate Executive Director, made a presentation on Charlestown’s marketing program to minorities and other groups. He informed us that, for example, Charlestown advertises in the Afro American newspaper, Jewish Living magazine, and the Catholic Review. The Sales Department personnel make sure that there is minority representation in Charlestown sales events, in the photos, ambassadors, and as panelists at the sales luncheons and sometimes in one-on-one meetings. Don also told us that our print and TV ads now include 20% minority representation, and this is going to increase to 30%, this year, 2022. It was really helpful for us to know that there’s an honest effort to increase our minority population in Charlestown by race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc.

Another of upcoming goal of the DIB subcommittee is to create a residents’ annual calendar of diversity-related events. We established a task force to do an inventory of our 300 clubs and groups to see how they may help us develop the calendar and how they may be able to help us conduct DIB events during the year. Of the 300 clubs and groups, the taskforce has they identified 41 clubs and groups they felt had a diversity, inclusion and belonging involvement of some type. We will be in touch with each of them in the next month or two.

The next DIB meeting will be on May 20 at 1:00 in Brookside Classroom 2.

SAFETY & SECURITY (Justine Parezo, Chair): 
The last meeting of the Safety and Security Committee was held on April 12, 2022. Craig Nelson and Shawn White attended for Charlestown management.

The Committee continued talking about fire safety and emergency response as this continues to be an issue brought to our attention. Among ideas discussed was the possibility of asking Floor Captains or Resident Ambassadors, who greet new residents, to review emergency response activities with new residents. Veronica Coleman presented a draft of a sign or magnet which could be attached inside apartment doors or kept on the refrigerator. This would outline the emergency procedures so that residents can refer to them in the event the fire alarm sounds.

We will announce the beginning of our campaign to encourage the use of safety pendants in next month’s Sunburst. It is hoped that by highlighting the use of pendants by residents, we will encourage those who do not generally wear their pendants to do so.

Our next meeting will be on May 10 at 1:00 in the Shortline Craft room.  This is a joint meeting or our committee and the employee Safety and Security Committee.  This has been arranged for us by the Security Department. We appreciate this opportunity as we hope it will help us realize our goal of working even more collaboratively with the Security Department and the staff.

No report

Clara Parker began her comments by thanking the Council for the last ten years and saying that the decision to retire was not easy to make.  She stated it has been an amazing 10 years in this role and it was a difficult decision to decide to leave Charlestown.  She went on to say that she has thoroughly enjoyed knowing all of the residents, working with residents, and learning from residents.

She continued her comments saying that she did not know, nor would she have a role in selecting her successor.   She stated that Erickson will put forward candidates for the Board to interview and the Board has the ultimate decision.  She is confident that her successor will be more than qualified, with significant experience, and the drive to continue the excellent traditions at Charlestown.

She continued her comments with a COVID update. Charlestown is in outbreak mode in Caton Woods and Wilton Overlook. As a result, decisions to defer or change some community gatherings have been made trying to make sure that residents have an active vibrant life but also not be at risk beyond what is normal. For example, the Follies were postponed as was the Nursing Recognition program.  On a positive note, over 1000 residents were vaccinated last week with the second booster. We have a mini clinic scheduled for May 17 for those still in need of a second booster.

The Harbor View elevator has been down for a little while. The contractor will be on campus tomorrow to get that elevator repair started.

She announced that work is progressing in the Historic District space. A coffee bar with breakfast sandwiches and ice cream is being planned.

She concluded her remarks stating that she will miss being at Charlestown and asked for all residents to stay in touch.

Ron DeAbreu asked about the selection of the successor to Clara.
Clara responded that Erickson will put forward candidates for the Board of Directors to interview. The Board will have the final say regarding her successor.