Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

February 21, 2019


Meeting came to order at 7:40 p.m.  Meeting held at Fishnet Restaurant.  Board members in attendance:  Bob Catlin, Chad Stern, Jim Nealis, Christy Dollymore.  Other attendees included Nick Brennan, Josh Westgard, Monroe Dennis, Margaret and Harvey Himmelfarb, Mary Katherine Theis, Marina Dullnig, Felipe Truncoso, Jason Daniels. 


The minutes from the January meeting were not immediately available, so were not approved.  Chad reported on the BDCA donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Our account has a current balance of $2,120.73.


One attendee expressed concerns about a nearby yard with much trash and debris.  The city Code Enforcement office had done nothing when contacted.  Councilman Dennis suggested she email her city council members, they can follow up.  Chad asked if BDCA can express an opinion on switching from 2-year to 4-year council and mayor terms – Monroe said yes.


Guest speaker Rob Landau spoke at the meeting – he is supporting a bill in Annapolis to allow terminally ill citizens (such as those with cancer, ALS, etc.) to have an ‘End of Life Option.’  This would mean ill persons could choose to be given drugs to end their lives.  There are many safeguards – need two doctors to determine ‘terminal illness’, have under six months to live, are a Maryland resident of sound mind, not just temporarily depressed or mentally ill.  The individual must make three requests, the second in writing with witnesses.  The lethal drug must be self-administered. The proposed law is quite similar to laws in several other states.  Mr. Landau said such deaths are quite rare – about 75 per year in Oregon. He said studies show such deaths are not disproportionately affecting poor, less educated, or uninsured people. He said Medicare will not pay for lethal drugs, and doctors are not held liable for prescribing them. One attendee spoke against the bill, expressing religious concerns about taking such lethal actions, and encouraging more support for hospice care.  She worried that this would diminish the value of human lives. Another attendee noted that not all folks shared such religious concerns, and felt the state should take priority in such cases.  Others asked about the current issue of doctors over-prescribing opioid drugs – where would these lethal drugs fit into this issue?  Can you have a will with ‘advance directives’ about using these lethal drugs? The answer was no.  About 1/3 of ill patients end up not using the drugs (they change their mind or die sooner than expected) – who is responsible for removing or returning the drugs?  Can you take the drug at home or must you be in a hospital or other controlled environment?  (Can administer at home).  Attendees seemed to have very mixed feelings about this issue.


Bob Catlin asked about ‘Zagster’ bikes coming to College Park, and Monroe indicated they would be ‘docked’ around the city.  Bob also asked about parking spaces on Pontiac St. being available for Cambria Hotel employees.  There are two city budget meetings coming March 23 and 30.  Also a meeting March 11 at Davis Hall to discuss the 4-year term issue.  Mayor Wojahn joined late in the evening – said City Hall will close near the end of this year, so City Hall meetings will take place at Davis Hall for maybe two years while a new city hall is built – probably a four-story building with UM offices on upper floors (UM will share the cost of building). About 200+ townhomes/graduate student housing units are proposed for the SW corner of campus – may be taxable by the city.  The mayor also said Summer Camp scholarships are available until March 8th.  Neighbors Helping Neighbors is expanding to help seniors/disabled with chores, driving, etc.  A study is under way to assess city requirements for recreational needs.  The Lidl grocery should be open by August, 2019.  And plans are still in the works for subsidized apartments across from Branchville Fire Dept.


Meeting concluded at 9:00 p.m.


Notes compiled by Jim Nealis