Sunday, March 1, 2015

Update to Spring Course Bulletin

We inadvertently left out of the Spring Course Bulletin the time and place for the Brown Bag Lunch Discussion scheduled for May.  Here's the full text:

Local Foods, Happy Farmers
Continuing the theme of our community, this time we will focus on local food initiatives. The discussion will begin with updates on some very exciting ventures around our community and will invite ideas on how we can support those efforts and foster a healthier community. Facilitators: Amanda Moran of the Edible Bethel project ( and Meryl Kelly, Executive Director of the Local Food Connection. Please RSVP by May 1: - 381-1110.
Tues., May 5; 12:15-1:30; Bethel Inn Library

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

March Events

Wednesday, March 4
Down Home Maine TED Global Conference in Brazil
Bethelite Ian Blair speaks about his opportunities to meet with TED presenters and attendees at last fall's TED Global Conference and will share his experiences with the people and culture of Rio. Free and open to the public.
Wednesday, March 4; 4:30 - 6:00 pm; McLaughlin Auditorium, Gould Academy (rescheduled from February)

Thursday, March 5
To Your Health Supermarket Strategies 
Cathi DiCocoa explains how to negotiate supermarket aisles; eat healthily and affordably; choose between organic and non-organic; compare store and name brands; buy locally and in season; and decode labels. She will do a cooking demo and share food samples. Free and open to the public.
Thursday, March 5; 4:30 – 6:00 pm; West Parish Congregational Church

Thursday, March 12
Opera Talk: Lady of the Lake
Patricia Boyle-Wight explains the historical and musical elements of this Rossini opera. Based on Sir Walter Scott’s tale, several men (including the disguised King of Scotland) vie for the love of the legendary Elena, Lady of the Lake. The Metropolitan Opera will broadcast this opera live in HD on Sat.,
March 14; for tickets contact or 207-935-9232. Please RSVP to Patricia Boyle-Wight if you will be attending the opera talk: or 824-8453. Open to the public.
Thursday, March 12; 2:00 - 3:30; West Parish Congregational Church

Thursday, March 19
Pairs and Spares Dinner Out
Say “Good-bye” to winter with a group social night out at S. S. Milton. Register by Thursday, March 12. Guests welcome. Each person pays his or her own check. FMI contact Kay Larson at or 207-824-3333.
Thursday, March 19; 6:00 pm; S. S. Milton Restaurant

Monday, March 30
Music of the Civil War: The Campfire, the Church and the Concert Stage
Tom Davis takes a look at music that was being composed and performed during the Civil War. We'll explore a variety of genres, listen to recordings and sing some of the songs, and hear true stories of how music affected soldiers, ordinary citizens and artists. This presentation supports the continuing program “Local and Legendary: Bethel and the Civil War,” that is co-sponsored by the Bethel Library, the Bethel Historical Society, and Gould Academy.
Open to the public.
Monday, March 30; 10:00-noon; West Parish Congregational Church

Tuesday, March 31
Down Home Maine Modern Mideast: Power and Politics
Ed Knox is a Brunswick resident, a retired CIA officer of 26 years, and a former history professor at Boston College; he has lived and worked in Jordan, Ivory Coast, Cyprus, Japan, and England and is the author of The New Eastern Question. He will help us explore the realities of power in the modern Mideast (ISIL, etc.) from geographic, historic, and cultural perspectives and probe the issue of why we are on a current losing streak militarily. Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, March 31;  4:30 - 6:00 pm; McLaughlin Auditorium, Gould Academy 

Wednesday, April 1
Brown Bag Lunch Discussion American Society: Mistrust and Fear
This discussion centers around two over-arching questions about our society: Who are we? What sort of people are we? Ed Knox (see bio above in Down Home Maine) will facilitate the discussion as we consider such questions as: What made America great? When did we begin to fear each other and the rest of the world? When did we last feel good as a nation and about ourselves? Why have we lost faith in education, infrastructure, and government? Please RSVP by Mar. 27: - 381-1110.
Wednesday, April 1; 12:15-1:30; Bethel Inn Library

The following events are not sponsored by WMSC, but may be of interest to our members.

Wednesday, March 18
Mahoosuc Land Trust "These Are Your Farmers"
"This Is Your Backyard" series continues with a showing of "Growing Local," a film containing poignant stories that show the interconnected fates of Maine's small farms, consumers and the local food movement. Following the film, a representative of the Maine Farmland Trust will moderate a panel discussion among farmers in our own area – our neighbors and friends. FMI: or 207-824-3806.Wednesday, March 18; 7:00 pm; McLaughlin Auditorium, Gould Academy

Sunday, March 29
Bethel Rotary’s Country Breakfast
Proceeds to benefit greater Bethel Community projects and scholarships. Adults/$7 ($8 at the door), Children/$3.  FMI:
Sunday, March 29; 7:30-11:00 am; Ordway Hall, Gould Academy

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ian Blair's Down Home Maine Presentation Rescheduled for March 4

The recent Down Home Maine program with Ian Blair has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 4, 4:30-6:00 p.m. Blair recently attended the TED Global conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will discuss being part of this high-energy gathering and meeting presenters and attendees from all over the world. This presentation - part of our traditional Down Home Maine program and open to the public, free of charge - precedes our TED Talks class by a week, but is completely separate. We hope you'll be interested in both Ian's presentation and our members-only class, but feel free to attend just the Down Home Maine program if you wish (for more background, visit 
Wednesday, March 4, 4:30-6:00, Gould Academy's McLaughlin Auditorium 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Times and Dates for Opera Talk and Pairs & Spares Dinner Out

We have details to announce!

The Opera Talk on Rossini's Lady of the Lake will be held on Thurs., Mar 12; 2:00 - 3:30; West Parish Congregational ChurchIf attending, please RSVP to Patricia Boyle-Wight: or 824-8453.

Pairs and Spares Dinner Out will take place on Thurs., Mar. 19; 6:00; S.S. Milton, Bethel. Guests welcome. Register by Thurs., Mar. 12.  FMI contact Kay Larson at or 207-824-3333.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

To Your Health Presents Supermarket Strategies

To Your Health celebrates National Nutrition Month with local chef Cathi DiCocoa. On Thursday, March 5 she will speak about supermarket strategies: 4:30 to 6 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church, Bethel. The public is invited, and there is no charge.

The theme of National Nutrition Month 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” and DiCocoa will help audience members make informed food choices by taking them on a “trip to the supermarket.” She poses the question: “How do you go in a grocery store and make it work for you?” She explains that grocery stores are designed with the healthiest food on the outside aisles. She will suggest how to negotiate the aisles, eat healthily and affordably, choose organic or non-organic, compare store and name brands, and check supermarket labeling. She adds, “Never go to the store hungry and always bring a list.”

Cathi DiCocoa
DiCocoa also plans to give a food demonstration with samples and recipes available. Among her handouts, she will include the newest regulations on food labeling and what foods should always be eaten organic.

To Your Health is sponsored by WMSC with the collaboration of the Bethel Family Health Center and MSAD#44/Continuing Education. The public is invited, and admission is free. The next program, “Joyful Living,” with presenters Ellen Crocker, Jewel Clark and Karen Swanson, will be held on April 9 at the West Parish Congregational Church. For more information, contact Rosabelle Tifft at 824-2053. 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, February 16, 2015

Registering for Spring Courses

Your copy of the WMSC Spring Course Bulletin will be in your mailbox soon, if it hasn't arrived already. We have a very full complement of spring courses, many of which promise to be quite popular, and it's possible that some will fill as soon as registration opens on Monday, February 23. In the event of that happening the WMSC Board has developed a Course Oversubscription Policy, the full text of which can be read here.

In a nutshell, all registration forms received by 11:00 am on February 23, either by mail or delivered to the Adult Ed office in person, will be treated equally. We will begin processing registrations at 11:15 am. If at that time a course has more registrants than space allows a lottery will be held; those not chosen in the lottery will be placed on a waiting list and will be given first preference the next time the course is offered.

If there is a course you want to take register as soon as possible. Telstar is closed this week for school vacation, so the Adult Ed office will not be open again until Monday, February 23, the day registration opens. If you plan to hand-deliver your registration be sure to do so early Monday morning.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Down Home Maine - Ian Blair

As you probably know, we recently canceled a Down Home Maine program.  We are working hard to reschedule Ian's presentation on his recent trip to the TED international conference in Brazil.  Watch for an update.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Potluck & Recipe Swap

Mark Wednesday, February 25, 5:30 – 7:00 pm on your calendar (snow date Thursday, February 26). That's when WMSC will host its February Potluck & Recipe Swap at the West Parish Congregational Church. It's like a regular potluck – bring whatever you'd like – but with a slight twist. We'll be putting together a compilation of recipes from the potluck; if you are willing to share yours, we'll add it to the collection.

There are several ways to add your recipe to the mix: email it to, give us a single printed copy the night of the potluck, or if absolutely necessary, give it to us hand-written. We'll put these together into a single document and, a few days after the potluck, send an electronic copy to those who would like one.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Blair to Discuss TED Global Conference

by Amy Chapman

(This article originally appeared in the February 5 edition of The Bethel Citizen.)

Ian Blair of Bethel will be the speaker for the next presentation in the Western Mountains Senior College’s Down Home Maine series, to be held on Thursday, February 12 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. at Gould Academy’s McLaughlin Auditorium.

Blair attended the TED Global conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in October, and will discuss what it meant to be a part of the high-energy gathering, and to meet presenters and attendees from all over the world.

The theme of the conference was “South!” and many of the presentations focused on improving the quality of life for inhabitants of the southern hemisphere, addressing issues of culture, infrastructure, and economics.

“There were activists and entrepreneurs doing absolutely amazing things, impacting entire societies with their work,” Blair said.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a nonprofit organization that was founded to spread ideas and inspiration through brief talks (usually 18 minutes or less) by people who are passionate about their chosen subjects.

Beginning in March, WMSC will offer a TED Talks class, facilitated by Scott Hynek and Nancy Davis. For information on joining WMSC and enrolling in classes, call the SAD 44 Continuing Education Office at 824-2780, or visit

Offerings in the Down Home Maine series are free and open to the public.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Dr. Daniel van Buren Speaks on Valvular Heart Disease

On Thursday, February 5, Dr. Daniel van Buren spoke to a very receptive To Your Health audience on valvular heart disease. This disease occurs when the valves of the heart do not open fully or leak when closed. It is most often a degenerative disease, resulting from wear and tear, and is chronic, progressing slowly over time.

Either an obstructed or a leaky valve can be heard with a stethoscope; a patient diagnosed with valvular disease will be monitored until symptoms occur. Symptoms include angina (pain), shortness of breath, and eventually heart failure. Once a person develops symptoms, it is essential they receive treatment – 50% of symptomatic but untreated patients die within two years.

Most valvular disease occurs on the left side of the heart, involving either the aortic valve (going out of the left ventricle) or the mitral valve (coming into the left ventricle). The treatment of choice for the aortic valve is surgical valve replacement. But in many cases the mitral valve can be repaired rather than replaced; when possible, this is the preferred treatment. As Dr. van Buren said, this is by far the more complicated valve, and you want to keep your own parts as long as possible. 

In just the past few years a new, non-invasive procedure for valve replacement has been approved for patients for whom surgery is not possible. With Trans Aortic Valve Replacement a balloon-type device and a replacement valve are inserted into a vein in the leg, sent to the heart, inflated, the valve attached, the balloon deflated and removed. Dr. van Buren said that while this is being performed only in those who cannot tolerate surgery, he believes this will be the procedure of the future.

Daniel van Buren and Carlie Casey speak after the presentation.
 To Your Health committee members Rosabelle Tifft, Ellen Crocker, Donna Coe, Linda McDonough and Jan Stowell.   photos Rosabelle Tifft

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