Last Updated on October 8, 2021

THE RECORD OF THE CHARLESTOWN RESIDENTS’ COUNCIL
(web version)

August 3, 2021
Residents’ Council Website: ccicharlestown.org

President Walt Howe called the regular meeting of the Residents’ Council [the Council] to order at 7:01 pm on August 3, 2021. The July 6, 2021 minutes were approved as distributed. 71  association members attended. Visitors included residents Pat Kasuda and Naomi McAfee, members of the Board of Directors, and Nathan Blumberg, Associate Executive Director. 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
  • Eugenia High, Co-Chair of the Benevolent Care Committee
  • Dick Crebs, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee
  • Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair of the Conservation Committee
  • Ron MacNab, 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
  • Ed Wallace, Chair of the Safety & Security Committee
  • Pat Payne, Chair of the Nominating & Elections Committee

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

Hope Tillman presented the approved slate of Council officers for 2021-2022.

President: Pat Rudolph
Vice President: Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker
Secretary: Mimi O’Donnell
Treasurer: Ron DeAbreu
The slate was approved by acclamation.

NEW BUSINESS: None

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 8:01 pm.

Hope Tillman, Residents’ Council Secretary

REPORTS—EXECUTIVE TEAM

ANNOUNCEMENTS/ PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Walt Howe):

Mission Moments

A Sweet One Hundred Tomato Plant symbolizes what Tom Coates has given to Pat Kasuda since 2016. Tom and Pat had adjoining garden plots, and in addition to gardening advice, Tom’s special tomato plant showed up in Pat’s plot each year, producing tomatoes for the whole season. Tom also has been an inspiration in the intervening years. He has suffered many losses (inability to garden, walk, and loss of family members), but he continues to give gardening advice and has a smile that makes any day go from gray to sunshine. Without realizing it, Tom demonstrates Erickson’s values of Caring and Excellence. He is a 102-year-old hidden jewel in the treasures of Charlestown.

Wendel Thompson nominated Susan Denissen for a Mission Moment. She has carried out projects on her floor to create community. She has help from Pat Whittier and Mary Schubert in decorating the elevator corner on Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, but her current display of pictures of each resident on her floor has really brought the residents together. New friendships have developed. The values shown here are Teamwork, Friendliness, and Enthusiasm.

President’s Remarks

This is my last Residents’ Council monthly meeting as President here in the Auditorium, although I will be presiding at tomorrow’s Executive Committee meeting, next week’s work session on Monday afternoon, and the Annual Residents Association meeting on Monday evening next week. The last year has been full of challenges, and I want to thank everyone – Council Officers and members, the many residents who have supported us, and the Charlestown staff for their great support for all of us. Thank you!

Tonight, we elect a new slate of Residents’ Council officers, who will take office officially on September first but will start planning immediately. We will present the slate and vote later in this meeting.

Tomorrow we hold elections to replace the seven Residents’ Council members whose term of office expires on September 1st, and we will know the winners by the end of the evening. The winners will be notified immediately and the results will be posted on the posters in the restaurants and announced on Channel 972. From my point of view, everyone who runs is a winner for their efforts and willingness to serve. We ask them to get involved in Council committee work, and the chances are very good of their being called to duty as slots become vacant during the year. All of last year’s candidates became Council members before the year was over.

Next Monday evening, August 9th we will hold the Annual Residents Association meeting in the Auditorium at 7:00 pm. At this meeting, we will honor the outgoing members and officers, introduce the new members, and swear in the new officers. We will also hold a short business meeting at which we will vote on the Bylaws revisions that you have all seen. We need 75 residents for a quorum to conduct business, and we ask everyone here and others who are interested to please attend.

That wraps up my remarks, except I want to again thank everyone for their support during this challenging year. Now I will turn over the floor to Pat Rudolph, our current Vice President, who not surprisingly is slated to step up as President for the next year. Pat, thank you for all your support and wisdom. The floor is yours. …

VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Pat Rudolph):
Thank you, Walt.  This has been an unusual and challenging year.  You have provided the leadership to keep the Residents’ Council together and moving forward to meet those challenges.  You and Hope made a formidable team reinventing how the committees could continue their work.  As the situation changed you moved from Zoom meetings to hybrids and now back to in person.  You have shown great agility and perseverance throughout this year.  Thank you.

On a housekeeping note, let me repeat Walt’s invitation to all to come to the Annual Residents’ Association meeting on August 9th at 7:00 pm in the Auditorium.  We need at least 75 people to have a quorum and be able to act on the proposed changes in the Bylaws.

SECRETARY’S REPORT (Hope Tillman, Secretary, and Mimi O’Donnell, Assistant Secretary):
Gregory Johnson, Customer Service and Communications Manager, attended the Council work session and had a good dialog with Council members.

The Bylaws Summary of Changes has been distributed to all residents. Copies of the bylaws revisions are available at all the lobby desks for interested residents.  The revised bylaws will be voted on at the Association Annual Meeting on August 9.

TREASURER’S REPORT (Ron DeAbreu):
Barring unforeseen major expenses, the Council will end the fiscal year in good financial shape. In 2020, the Council’s dues collection campaign had to be postponed from April to October.  The response to the October campaign was so strong – the average amount received from each resident household that paid dues was $5.00 – that a dues campaign was not needed in 2021. The next dues collection will take place in April 2022. The Council’s account balance at the end of June was $4,511.13.  The Council received no income in July and had no expenditures. Thus, at the end of July, the Council’s account balance remained $4,511.13.

REPORTS—COMMITTEES

 

BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub and Eugenia High, Co-Chairs):

The Benevolent Care Committee members met with the Philanthropy Staff Patti Santoni, Emily Fowler, and Lisa Zehring on July 27th.

Residents are returning the communication forms with the names and emails of family members who they designate to receive email updates regarding campus emergencies, special events, and other important information.

There are a number of activities planned for September which is Benevolent Care Month.  On September 1st the annual Donor Reception will take place in the Conference Center.  Patti Santoni has planned an ELLIC presentation.  She will also appear on Channel 972 on Philanthropy Friday.  The Charlestown Telethon will feature exotic destinations, resident donor testimonials, and talented staff and resident participants.

Residents, employees, and family members are welcome to attend the “mini” Treasure Sale from September 30th to October 2nd.  There will be no half-price sale on Saturday.  The public is invited to participate on Friday and Saturday. Weekly “Popup Sales” will be discontinued.  One large sale featuring items from the numerous popup sales will be held at the end of August.  Craft Clubs will also have the opportunity to participate in the Christmas Craft sales event.

Our next meeting will be on August 25th at 2:00 pm in CTS 116.

COMMUNICATIONS (Dick Crebs and David Elder, Co-Chairs):

The Communications Committee met on July 26, 2021, with Kim Mitchell, the General Services Communications Supervisor, and Mary Evans, Community Resources Manager, in attendance.

Charlie Eichenlaub provided an update on Evergreen topics.

Starting now, Lobby desks will provide residents with the Residents’ Council tri-folds.

A long discussion was held about the Wi-Fi upgrade.  The Computer Help Desk identifies as “Erickson Resident Computer Services” or IT or Help Desk.

Phyl Lansing mentioned four videos to be found under Community Videos about Charlestown history (Retro Charlestown) promoting community spirit.  I found them to be worth watching.

Hope shared the Data Task Force report.

–      MyUnity will be the source system for downstream directories: My Erickson & General Services / Front Desk.

–      Charlestown is reviewing the current change form (located in the printed directory) process.

–      Charlestown will use the Directory report once the program is finalized.

The Communications Committee urges all residents to sign up with Community Resources for MyErickson.  We urge everyone to include a photo.

At its meeting, the Website Subcommittee shared changes and updates to the front page of the website, the navigation menus, campus maps, and more.

The Communications Committee will hold our next meeting on Monday, August 23rd by Zoom. The next Website Committee meeting is scheduled for September 27 at 1:00 pm.

CONSERVATION (Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair):
The meeting of the committee was held on July 20 in Brookside Classroom 1.

Some residents are still putting recycling in plastic bags, but less than before. Volunteers are needed to get the message out to CC, PV, HV & AS.  Volunteers in these buildings can contact Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, amciarr@gmail.com (443-418-5526)

The Status of a connection to the Sustainability Committee is still being explored.

Aluminum can collection for Arbutus Fire Department is now facilitated by Andy Kochis, BR 517.

The next meeting is Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at 2:00 pm in Brookside Classroom 1.

DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield and Ronald MacNab, Co-Chairs):
Our committee met on July 19, 2021, with Ken Zahn and Paul Edelman. Committee Chair, Bob Caulfield, announced that he was concluding the last year of his 3 year term and new co-chairs would be announced after the election.

The committee voted to continue holding meetings in the Auditorium due to large attendance.

In July “Meet and Eat” table were established and working successfully.  Round tables will replace the rectangular tables for “Meet and Eat”.

In August, residents will be issued a new ID with a magnetic strip or chip which will be scanned when ordering.  Order takers will be equipped with tablets to electronically place your order.

Dining Services is emphasizing improving the dining experience and encouraging residents to return to the dining rooms.

There are problems with walkers and EMVs blocking aisles in dining rooms, which reportedly violate the fire code and Americans with Disabilities Act. Ken will look into it.

For a full report on our discussions, I must refer you to the Committee minutes. I will email them to you if you wish.

Our next meeting will be on September 27 at 2:00 pm in the Auditorium.

FINANCE (Gordon Piche, Chair):
The Finance Committee met on July 27, 2021, in Brookside Classroom 1 with Finance Director Pam Stiner, who presented the Occupancy Data and Financial Package report for June:

Independent Living                             91.0%

Overall CC Occupancy                         89.7%

To date this year, there have been 111 releases from Independent Living apartments, and over half of them have been to higher levels of care. This has meant more Independent Living apartments being available despite the strong sales performance with 86 new settlements of units (versus76 budgeted YTD June).

In looking at revenues and expenses, Departmental revenues continue to be higher than budget due in part to re-occupancy and custom interior revenue. Also, revenues for the last six months have included $750,000 total to date from the Cares Act. For expenses, Employee Benefits were $685,000 under budget due to a $700,000 payroll retention credit that Charlestown received and Contract Labor was $164,000 over budget due primarily to the increase in re-occupancy efforts. Staffing shortages are driving higher expenses for wages as overtime, sign-on bonuses, and other wage considerations are necessary to attract workers. This has been particularly acute for health care, dining, and housekeeping. Charlestown will face these labor market headwinds over the next few years. Staffing levels in continuing care continue to exceed the state requirements for staffing to resident ratios. The balance sheet total liabilities and net assets continue to be good.

Regarding Restricted Funds:

Benevolent Care Fund distributed $116,399 for the month of June to 18 residents.

The Scholars Fund Balance is $1,665,327 after an inflow of $20,548 and an outflow of $19,000. Pam indicated she will be transferring $300,000 from cash to investments in this fund.

The Staff Appreciation Fund balance is $17,918 after an inflow of $1,195 from residents.

The committee will not meet in August. The next meeting will be in September.

GROUNDS (Mike Rose, Chair):
The Grounds Committee met in the General Services conference room with one staff member

Old Business: Staff reported on a Memory Garden regular maintenance program, tree trimming at the cemetery, installation of ballfield benches, anticipated St. Charles fall landscaping, sodding of BR and HR grass, why terrace steps are not permitted, cleaning of roof gutters, painting/repairing lampposts, and a five-year Grounds Plan. Replacement of the Nature Trail bridge, 4×4’s, and mulch is dependent on the large mesh bags that will divert runoff from eroding the bridge. There was a lengthy discussion on the degree of handicapped accessibility Charlestown should provide.

New Business: the need to replace two boat deck benches, front gate landscaping, trees down on the Nature Trail, bagworms, and the Chapel fountain.  The pond algae problem is much improved.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for 10:00 am on Tuesday, August 24th.

HEALTH SERVICES (Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker, Chair):

Our committee met on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at 11 AM.

We urge caregivers, who may need much respite and those significantly impacted by isolation and mild cognitive decline, to consider the Intermissions Program and to join the Caregiver Support Group. Resident Services is working on getting bereavement support formalized and continues the mental health services for one-on-one counseling in the medical center. Gilchrist Hospice continues to offer bereavement counseling regardless of whether you used their services.

A new Registered Nurse was hired at Caton Woods and will cover all floors with other staff coming on board. A new program coordinator started in August and more evening programs are being offered.

We encourage residents to contact legislators regarding healthcare issues particularly those related to continuing care and standards of memory care, as there is still much work to be done in the Maryland State Assembly next year.  We need to protect ourselves from Covid variants and summertime mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses, such as West Nile and Lyme diseases, which are most common in Maryland.

The next Medication Take-Back is scheduled for Monday, September 13 from 1-3 pm.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 11 AM in classroom BR#2.

HOUSEKEEPING (Betty Elder, Chair):

The Housekeeping Committee met on July 16, 2021, in CTS Room 116 at 2:00 pm.  The staff was represented by Ms. Aida Blanco.

Ms. Blanco was informed that several residents were told by the Sale Office that it was acceptable to park bicycles in stairwells when bicycle storage areas were filled. She stated that she felt it was a code violation and that was a Communications/Call Center issue and Mr. Greg Johnson should be notified for input.  Ms. Blanco said that residents should not take this upon themselves as it may be a larger issue requiring the bicycle owner/family to be notified. Mr. Johnson said that he would check into this matter in more depth and was surprised to know that there were bicycle storage areas in parts of the campus.

Ms. Blanco will check the residents’ guides for directions about permanently storing personal clothing items, such as shoes, in the hallways as well as regulations about hanging towels or bathing suits on balcony railings as well as permanent displays of outdoor lighting, bird feeders on balconies, etc.

Ms. Blanco will speak with heads of contractors as to plaster-dust coated employees sitting on upholstered furniture and will speak with Wayforth about trucks still leave packaging items (straps, tape, screws, nails, etc.) in the front driveway of the St. Charles and other areas.

Ms. Blanco said that the Maple Terrace elevator is an ongoing issue and is now a sanitization issue. Not only does the carpet need to be replaced, but the under-flooring has to be taken up and replaced. It is a lengthy project. No matter how much shampooing is done, the carpet/flooring issue remains. Talk of placing a high ceiling camera was discussed if it won’t be an invasion of privacy. As no pets are registered at Maple Terrace, is the issue from dog walkers from other areas, unregistered Maple Terrace pets, or humans?

New replacement curtain panels have been ordered for the St. Charles lobby area and the removal of off-white-colored furniture had been replaced by darker chairs. Ms. Blanco will speak with contractor leads about releasing the use of elevators ASAP once items are delivered or taken away from apartments.

Ms. Blanco urged all to be patient as supply lines for needed items are quite long. Generally, Charlestown has about 33-36 apartments needing to be refurbished. Due to a large number of residents moving to continuing care and assisted living, approximately 68 apartments are being worked on at once.  With long delays in getting parts, washing machines, electronic stoves, etc., several month delays are not uncommon. Also, note that several movers and apartment cleanouts are underway.

Ms. Blanco stated that Housekeeping is short-staffed by about 14 positions in addition to 4-5 folks out on leave.  There is a possibility of out-sourcing cleaning. At this month’s Town Hall (July 27th), Ms. Blanco stated that residential cleaning will have to be discontinued due to the shortage of cleaning staff for the common areas. Not only does Independent Living common areas need cleaning, all of assisted living requires it, too.

Ms. Blanco said to feel free to contact her to keep her informed of issues, and emergency cleaning should be reported using CCIWorkOrders@erickson.com

New resident inspectors for Chapel Court, Greentree (all floors), and Maple Terrace (floors 3 and 4) are needed.

There is no Housekeeping Committee Meeting in August.

LEGISLATIVE/POLITICAL (Pat Payne, Chair):
The Legislative/Political Committee held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at 10:00 am in Brookside Classroom 1.  The notes from the June 9, 2021 meeting were approved. The Chair reviewed the list of bills that were enacted or vetoed after the General Assembly session ended. Ann MacKay reported that the State Health Department is holding public hearings on the bill on memory care (SB204/HB416). If stakeholders’ meetings are held, Pat Kasuda will be the MaCCRA representative.  The Chair reported that the Residents’ Council approved the revision of the Guidelines for Political Activity at Charlestown. The recommended changes will be sent to the Charlestown administration for their consideration. The Committee discussed proposed changes in the 2019-2020 Resident Handbook, page 30, which deals with exterior windows and balconies. Also discussed was the possible need for legislation to clarify the use of all forms of alcohol by Charlestown residents. The corkage permit Charlestown now has for wine has solved most of the problem, but it does not cover resident use of beer or hard liquor brought to the restaurant or consumed elsewhere on campus. Based on this discussion, the Committee passed a motion suggesting that the Residents’ Council approach Clara Parker for a discussion about how to proceed on this issue. The next meeting will be held on the 2nd Wednesday in September in Brookside Classroom 1.

MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING (Jackie Graham, Chair; presented by Hope Tillman):
The committee met on Tuesday, July 27th at 2:00 pm, in the General Services’ Conference Room with Kevin Crawford, Chris Caldwell, and Don Hoffman from General Services. General Services provided updates on projects scheduled for this year, those scheduled for next year, and items currently addressed or in process.

Projects Scheduled for this Year:

Building 7 elevator to be replaced this fall

Nature Trail Bridge repair working with contractors

The generator for St. Charles is to be replaced in August.

The AC for Maple Terrace is to be installed this fall.

Roof replacements Chapel Court and various bridges throughout campus.

Working on contracts

Projects Scheduled for Next Year:

Brookside and Herbert’s Run Renovations… Currently on schedule

Auditorium Stage Renovations… No decision at this time

Items Currently Addressed or in Process:

Lighting on bridge Harborview to St. Charles, replacing of carpeting in the building 2 elevator,

issue with lock automatic door bldg, 8/9 link and the centerline striping on the road near the Chapel. Also, various elevator malfunctioning issues are to be addressed by the contractor [OTIS].

The next scheduled meeting is September 28, 2021, at 2:00 pm in the General Services’ Conference Room.

RESIDENT LIFE (Ron Fayer and Cindy McManus, Co-Chairs): No report

SAFETY & SECURITY (Ed Wallace, Chair):

The committee met on July 13 with Craig Nelson and Shawn White from the Security Department.

The new Apple watches are able to detect falls.

The firearms takeback project is being postponed until the fall when the majority of residents are present.

The Gallery is being locked every evening, per Craig Nelson.  There are also signs advising groups that stay past 7:00 pm to notify Security so that the room can be locked.

Parking

Family members are permitted to park in assigned parking spots if the spot owner notifies security ahead of time.

When taking photos of or reporting illegally parked vehicles, the picture or information should show the resident sticker, not the license plate.  The sticker provides an instant way of determining the vehicle owner.

There are multiple vehicles parked on campus with expired license plates.  While Howard County has a moratorium on recently expired plates due to the Coronavirus, it is not known if Baltimore County has the same mortarium in place.

Cars parked in fire lanes should be reported to Security, not to the police.

The new parking lot construction is moving forward.  The parking will be for employees and workers primarily.

Craig Nelson, head of Charlestown security introduced Shawn White, who is the new assistant head.  Shawn is a 10-year veteran of Charlestown security.  Craig also indicated that security is only down a single person from the desired staffing level.

Shawn White reported on an incident where a resident was preparing to pay out a large sum of money in response to a scam, which was prevented by quick thinking by a Charlestown employee alerting security.

Craig Nelson was also asked:

Are there ways that the committee can inform residents about the good work Security does?

Are there any EMS staff that deserve special recognition?

How many incidents occur during a regular month; are any recurring on a monthly basis?

What are the Security Department priorities?

New ID cards will be issued in August, initially to be used for dining and swiping in at the gatehouse. The replacement fee for a lost card is $25.00.

The elevator in Building 2 is being repaired and Security should be contacted if help is needed.

There will not be a Security meeting in August.

NOMINATING & ELECTIONS (Pat Payne, Chair)

The Nominating/Elections Committee is pleased to once again introduce the 10 candidates for election to the Residents’ Council. They are Diana Dunaway, Rosemary Eck, David Elder, Carol Eshelman, Louis Nielsen, Justina Parezo, Sebastian Petix, John Remias, Mary Lee Seaman, and John Yoder. There are seven Council vacancies due to members completing their three-year terms. The election will take place on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Voting hours are from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Residents must vote at the polling place designated for the building where they live. Polling places include the Terrace Café, Fireside, Atrium, and Shortline/Chesapeake Restaurants.   Residents of Wilton Overlook and Caton Ridge are voting by absentee ballot. Special thanks, in advance, to the Election Day captains, polling team members, and vote-counters who will be working on Election Day to make sure that all the votes are counted in a fair and timely manner.

WORDS FROM MANAGEMENT (Nathan Blumberg):

Nathan began by stating that he was impressed with the work of the Council in the past month. He congratulated and thanked the Council for their efforts to be such a strong conduit between residents, staff, and the board.

The new badges have been distributed. There is no magnetic strip but rather an RFID strip that can be ‘read’ by the tablets the servers will use. At restaurants, the tablet will automatically record the diner’s resident number when the badge is placed on the tablet. If a preferred name change is needed, contact Brittany Owens who will assist in making those changes.

Staffing is an increasing challenge and is pervasive across the community. The challenges increase each day in every department. For example, Dining Services has a 25% shortage.  This has forced us to close the Atrium temporarily.  Anyone with Atrium reservations will be contacted to allow residents to switch to a different restaurant. We want to reopen the Atrium as soon as possible. It is a tough market, and candidates are hard to find despite significant efforts in every way.

Nathan asked for residents to be patient during this difficult time.

Charlestown is actively recruiting for three key positions: Associate Executive Director, the Resident Life Director, and the Finance Director.

The Board of Directors met at Wilton Overlook and was joined by the Council members. This was the first-time meeting in this new conference center.  It was another opportunity for the Council to ask questions of the Board and have a good dialog.

Capital budget matters include the Building 7 elevator which will be replaced this fall.  Awnings are being replaced – half this year, half next year.  The Wilton Overlook building is complete, and the parking will open at the end of August or early September. It will add 244 parking places. This new lot will also help residents in Fountain Hill, employees, visitors, and residents visiting the Medical Center. This will also alleviate parking constraints around the campus.

Community Resources has been busy also. There will be a New Resident Meet and Greet luau on August 27th in the Conference Center. The annual softball game with the competition between Charlestown, Riderwood, Greenspring, and Oak Crest will be held on September 8.  Fruits of Our Labor will be held on September 17 to showcase the many groups on campus.

Nathan thanked the Council for its support throughout the pandemic. Specific thanks went to Walt and Hope for their efforts in teaching and helping all of us with Zooming!