Monday, May 23, 2016

End-of-Year Potluck Supper

Don't forget the spring potluck supper on Wednesday, June 1 from 5:30 - 7:00 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church. Bring whatever dish you would like to share, and a guest too if you'd like - social evenings are a great way to introduce a friend to the college. 

We need volunteers to set up at 4:30 and to clean up at 7:00. Contact Marvin Ouwinga ( if you can help.

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

Drop-In Tech Help Concludes

WMSC sends a big thank you to Telstar High School student Kayla, who spent Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in the Adult Ed office helping area residents with their tech questions. Kayla's sessions have now come to an end – at least for this year. I know those of us who met with her greatly appreciate her generosity and patience. Thank you, Kayla!

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

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fragrant Flowers and Fine French Cuisine – Reserve Your Spot!

Don't forget to reserve your spot for the spring Pairs & Spares Dinner Out at Maurice Restaurant in South Paris on Wednesday, May 25. Before dinner we will visit neighboring McLaughlin Garden at 3:30 during the height of lilac season. Dinner is at 5:00 at Maurice Restaurant, where we'll benefit from the two for $25 special (includes two $15.99 or less entrees and two salads). Contact Kay Larson (, or 207-824-3333) by May 18 for sign up and carpooling arrangements. Come for the garden visit at 3:30, the dinner at 5:00, or both. Guest are always welcome!

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

Lilacs in Bloom

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Age-Friendly Community Project Celebrates First Anniversary

by Nancy Davis

Remember these WMSC programs a year ago? One was on Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal and the other explained the Village to Village concept and other approaches that in some communities are helping seniors stay in their homes and communities at the end of life. From that humble beginning emerged a planning team of nine individuals, leading Bethel through the process of becoming a member of AARP’s Age-Friendly Community Network, administering and analyzing a community survey and conducting two public meetings aimed at engaging community members in the movement. An important decision was made, and AARP and town leaders officially approved the inclusion of the communities of Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock in the project. The team was expanded to include four representatives from those communities – a new model that AARP has heartily and publicly endorsed.

On Thursday, May 19, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Alliance Church in Bethel there will be a Public Celebration of the Age-Friendly Community Project’s first year and planning for the future. Some important projects have been identified from the ideas suggested through the survey and in a variety of meetings. Ambitious plans for improving transportation services are underway, as are Tech for Seniors classes at the Bethel Library. The team is looking for people to help with several other short- or medium-term projects, including: creating a directory of services in the community (hard copy and online), setting up a daily call/check-in system, pursuing using existing venues for a Community Center facsimile (with later exploration into building a Center). And more! Please attend this important get-together to see what’s happening and lend your voice. (New information from the planning team is inserted weekly in the tab at the top of this blog page.)

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Events

Wednesday, May 4
Down Home Maine Learn About the People of Palestine 
Since 2007 Jim Chandler has been working online with science teachers and students in the West Bank. Last summer Jim traveled to Palestine to visit friends, learn more about the culture, and help support science education. Come get a small taste of what it is like to live and work in Palestine.
Wednesday, May 4; 4:30-6:00 pm; McLaughlin Auditorium, Gould Academy 

Wednesday, May 11
Step Falls Wildflower Hike 
Lynne Zimmerman will lead a leisurely, easy, one mile (round trip) hike along beautiful Step Falls to identify wildflowers and enjoy the waterfalls. Bring appropriate footwear, water, bug repellent and camera. FMI: Lynne Zimmerman ( or 595-0780).
Wednesday, May 11; 2:00 pm; Meet at the Step Falls Parking Lot on Rt. 26 

Wednesday, May 25
McLaughlin Garden and Pairs & Spares Dinner Out 
Visit McLaughlin Garden during lilac season and dine afterward at neighboring Maurice Restaurant. Contact Kay Larson (, 207-824-3333) by May 18 for sign up and carpooling. Guests welcome.
Wednesday, May 25; 3:30 visit to McLaughlin Garden, 5:00 dinner at Maurice Restaurant, Norway

Wednesday, June 1
Spring Potluck Supper 
Join your Senior College friends for an evening of good food and conversation. Bring any kind of dish to share. Guests welcome. We need volunteers to set up at 4:30 and to clean up at 7:00. Contact Marvin Ouwinga ( if you can help.
Wednesday, June 1; 5:30-7:00 pm; West Parish Congregational Church

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

Monday, May 9
Mahoosuc Community Band Spring Concert
Our local community band performs traditional and popular music arranged for concert band. Refreshments following the concert.  Free admission; donations appreciated.
Monday, May 9; 7:00 pm; West Parish Congregational Church, Bethel

Saturday, May 14 
May Day 5K Race
Inaugural May Day 5k race. Hosted by Bethel Rotary. Proceeds benefit local programs for youth and families.
Saturday, May 14; 10:00 am; Crescent Park School, Bethel

Tuesday, May 17
Telstar Middle/High School Spring Concert
Telstar Middle and High School bands and choruses, under the direction of Tom Coolidge and Jennifer Bennett, present their annual spring performance.
Tuesday, May 17; 7:00 pm; Telstar High School

Wednesday, May 18
Into the Woods with a Game Warden
Brock Clukey will speak of his experiences as a Maine Game Warden. Game Wardens
provide conservation law enforcement and search and rescue services to all who venture into Maine’s woodlands and inland waterways. FMI: or 207-824-3806.
Wednesday, May 18; 7:00-8:30 pm; Andover Elementary School, Andover

Thursday, May 19
Age-Friendly Community Public Meeting
The Age-Friendly Community Planning Team will share their progress and plans for the future.
Thursday, May 19; 5:00 pm; Bethel Alliance Church

Sunday, May 22
Benefit for Meals on Wheels
Shadagee Ramblers benefit for SeniorsPlus Meals on Wheels Program. $10 per person at the door, under 12 free. Live music, 50/50 raffle, pie auction, refreshments and more.
Sunday, May 22; 2:00-5:00 pm; American Legion Hall, Gore Road, Locke’s Mills

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

Teaching Science in Palestine

by Amy Chapman

On Wednesday, May 4, Jim Chandler will speak about his trip to Palestine at a Down Home Maine presentation in the McLaughlin Auditorium at Gould Academy. Since meeting a Palestinian teacher at the World Forestry Institute in 2007, Chandler has worked on line with teachers and students in the West Bank of Palestine. Last August, he traveled there to visit friends, learn more about the culture, and help support science education. His presentation is sponsored by the Western Mountains Senior College and will take place from 4:30-6:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. (Note: This presentation has been rescheduled from an earlier date.)

Environmental educator Jim Chandler of Woodstock teaches a
class with Rafat Shantir, director
For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, April 18, 2016

Move It or Lose It

by Marvin Ouwinga

On April 7 between 4:30 and 6:30 at the Congregational Church in Bethel about 30 participants enjoyed a wonderful, fully involved, series of health inducing exercise sessions led by three experienced local fitness trainers. This session was introduced by Dr. Catherine Chamberlin of the Bethel Family Health Center and sponsored by the Western Mountains Senior College. Dr. Chamberlin first introduced Betsey Foster who holds weekly classes in Tai Chi and Qigong at the Ripley Building of Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway. Betsey explained how the ancient arts of Tai Chi and Qigong stimulate the internal organs and help deal with chronic conditions such as arthritis and COPD.      

Next Patti Truman, a Zumba instructor and personal trainer, rolled away the rugs and led us in a fast paced Zumba dance workout. This was an excellent aerobic exercise. Patti has a studio called Leapz and Beatz at 208 Grover Hill Road in Bethel where she holds classes during the week. She is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. Call her at 824-3259 or use the Leapz and Beatz Facebook page to make an appointment.

After all that exercise Karen Swanson, a yoga teacher with 20 years experience, showed us how to relax with slow movements and deep breathing. She set a warm, comfortable tone with music and gentle instructions. Karen offers classes and private sessions at her home studio and in the Methodist Church annex on Main St. in Bethel.

Tai Chi with Betsey Foster

Chair Yoga with Karen Swanson

Zumba with Patti Truman

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

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Maintaining Digestive Health

Roberta Balon
Roberta Balon (Androscoggin Valley Hospital) spoke on digestive health at the latest To Your Health presentation, “Is Your Tummy Talking to You?” The large group in attendance learned that the health of your digestive system is affected by what you eat, the medications you take, and your level of stress, all of which can change the balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you are having digestive issues, chances are this balance is off.

You can increase the presence of good bacteria in the digestive tract by eating foods that contain probiotics (friendly bacteria and yeasts) such as milk, sauerkraut and live-culture yogurt. Prebiotics are foods that form good bacteria when they are broken down. These are plant-based foods rich in fiber such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Eating a diet rich in probiotic and prebiotic foods is essential to good digestive health.

Taking an antibiotic medication may be necessary, but it can negatively impact the bacterial balance in the gut. Taking a probiotic supplement can prevent this – take the probiotic for twice as long as you take the antibiotic.

How about eating gluten-free? The gluten-free diet is on everyone's radar, but for most of us it provides no benefit. There are three groups of people who should avoid gluten: those with Celiac disease, those who are allergic to wheat, and those who have a gluten sensitivity. Otherwise save your money!

The next To Your Health presentation, “Move It or Lose It!” will take place on Thursday, April 7 from 4:30-6:30 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Senior College Artists, It's Time To Show Your Stuff!

All Maine artists 50 years of age and older are invited to participate in the Senior College at Belfast 14th annual Festival of Art, June 9-12, at the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. A special invitation is extended to Maine Senior College members, especially students of Senior College art courses.

The registration period runs from March 1st through March 31, artwork to be dropped off on Wednesday, June 8. For complete information see the Maine Senior College Newsletter Festival of Art Invitation.

"Blue Vocalist" by John Walley, featured guest artist presenter for this year's Festival.

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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Two Opportunities for Help with Technology – and They're FREE!

Tech Help 1: The Bethel Library is sponsoring a class specifically for area seniors on how to use computers and iPads. Don’t have one? Not to worry! The Library has purchased devices and will offer instruction, thanks to a grant obtained by its Director, Michelle Conroy. The training begins soon - and it’s free!

Classes meet on March 9, 10, 23 and 24, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, at the Bethel Library. 

Class size is limited, so register now by calling the library (824-2520) or registering at the front desk. Here’s your chance to learn how to:

  • Get important health information. There are a host of easily accessible websites like and NIH SeniorHealth.
  • Find out how to cook a quiche, hook a rug, collect your genealogical information – or almost anything else you want to learn.
  • Share a hobby with others.
  • Skype (email with an imbedded camera). Many seniors keep up with their families in this way.

You should be prepared to attend all 4 sessions. Register soon, but if you miss this first chance, and there’s interest, a second class may be offered in the future.

Tech Help 2: Do you need help with your smart phone or tablet (like iPad)? The Adult Ed. Department at Telstar is hosting an informal drop-in time every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30 – 4:00 for help with these devices. Bring in your phone or tablet, ask questions, and get help from an expert. The drop-in times are open to all in the community.

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