Friday, June 10, 2016

A Message from the Program Committee

During the Winter Term we offered a course on "Digital Devices" which covered Microsoft Word and Google Docs (word processing). Interest has been expressed in having another course which looks at other digital topics such as Smart Phones, email, and the full Google Suite (free word processing, spreadsheets, photos, and more). If you have other topics you would like to explore please let Steve Smith know your thoughts ASAP (

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

WMSC Summer News

The WMSC Summer News 2016 was recently sent out by email to all members. If you haven't received it perhaps it was sent to your Spam (or Junk) folder. If it's not there contact Kathleen DeVore ( and we'll send it again. In the event that other WMSC classes or events are added to this summer's offerings we'll announce them on the blog, so be sure to check in.

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

Monday, May 30, 2016

June Events

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.

Saturday, June 4
Bethel Library Plant Sale
Affordable perennials donated by local gardeners to benefit the Bethel Library. To donate plants or FMI call the library at 824-2520, Susan Day at 824-2741 or Susan Parker at 824-4767. Sale takes place rain or shine.
Saturday, June 4; 9:00-10:00 am; lawn next to Bethel Library, 5 Broad St., Bethel

Saturday, June 4
Trail Work Day at Rumford Whitecap
Sponsored by Mahoosuc Land Trust. Wear appropriate work clothing and footwear. Bring water, snacks, lunch, bug and sun protection and small tools such as clippers, loppers, shovels, rakes. Refreshments served at the end of the day. FMI: or 207-824-3806.
Saturday, June 4; 9:00 am - 3:00 pm; meet at the parking area on the East Andover Road in Rumford

Sunday, June 12
U.S. Air Force Traveling Band, Langley Winds
Langley Winds is a pioneering woodwind and percussion ensemble offering innovative programming covering a wide array of musical styles. Free admission. Presented by the Mahoosuc Arts Council. 
Sunday, June 12; 3:00 pm; Telstar High School

Saturday, June 25
Bethel Rotary Yard Sale and Auction
Annual yard sale and auction to benefit the local community. Yard sale begins at 8:00 am. Auction preview at 5:30 pm, followed by the auction at 6:30. FMI: (207) 653-9297.
Saturday, June 25; 8:00 am - 10:00 pm; Telstar High School

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dr. Daniel van Buren Speaks on Atrial Fibrillation

Last Thursday, February 4, Dr. Daniel van Buren spoke at a To Your Health presentation on Atrial Fibrillation (AF). AF is an abnormal heart rhythm affecting 33.5 million adults in the U.S., with 5 million new cases each year. Seven percent of everyone over the age of 65 is affected.  AF is responsible for 15% of all strokes.

Individuals with AF have a problem with the heart's electrical system. Very simply, disorganized electrical activity in the upper chambers causes the lower chambers to beat erratically. Blood is not pumped properly, which results in the formation of clots, hence the greatly increased risk of stroke.

Symptoms of AF include palpitations, shortness of breath, racing heart, general malaise and fatigue. Some experience no symptoms at all. AF is diagnosed with an EKG. Dr. van Buren described the EKG as showing a heartbeat that is “irregularly irregular.”

Because of the increased risk of stroke, medication that inhibits clot formation is usually prescribed. Traditionally that drug has been warfarin. But warfarin requires a great deal of tweaking and monitoring, which has led to under treatment. Newer drugs are now available that have proven to be at least as effective as warfarin, at least as safe, and do not require constant monitoring. The downside with any blood thinner is the risk of bleeding, but in the case of preventing stroke the benefits outweigh the risks.

An interesting new development is the Watchman Device. Most clots form in the left atrial appendage. The Watchman Device is inserted over the opening to the appendage to prevent blood from entering and clots from forming.

Jackie Cressy, Jan Stowell, Dr. van Buren and Rosabelle Tifft.
The thirty-five people in attendance asked many questions, which Dr. van Buren graciously answered.

The next To Your Health presentation, “Is Your Tummy Talking to You?” will be held on Thursday, March 3 from 4:30 – 6:00 at the West Parish Congregational Church.  It is free and open to the public.

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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fun for All at “Replaying the 60's”

Last Tuesday's Brown Bag Lunch, “Replaying the 60's,” was a fun-filled social event. Three teams of three players answered a variety of questions posed by Carlie Casey from the 60's edition of Trivial Pursuit. (A sample: What popular comedy hour was canceled by CBS in 1969?) Charlie Raymond put together a slide show of iconic photos from the 60's. Here's one:  What specific event does this political cartoon refer to?

Kathleen DeVore challenged the teams to a game of “Name That Tune.” Nancy Davis was scorekeeper. We ended the afternoon with a rousing rendition of “Twist and Shout.”

Stay tuned – plans are in the works for a possible multi-session course on the 60's in the not too distant future. The next Brown Bag Lunch discussion, “Ideas from the Age-Friendly Community,” is on Thursday, February 25 at 12:15 in the Bethel Inn Library. RSVP to Nancy Davis by Feb. 22; she really needs to know numbers for setting up the room (, 207-381-1110).

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