Monday, September 29, 2014

Know the Ten Signs of Alzheimer's

by Rosabelle Tifft

Is it Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia? In direct response to this topic and having received high ratings on evaluations of last year’s programs, WMSC's To Your Health is offering two sessions on Alzheimer's disease. In the first session, to be held at the West Parish Congregational Church on Thursday, October 9, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, participants will learn the ten warning signs that may indicate whether someone has Alzheimer’s disease or one of the related dementias.
Mark Pechenik

Mark Pechenik, Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter, will review steps to take if you recognize a warning sign in yourself or someone you know, the process of receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and reasons that early detection is critical. If it is Alzheimer’s, participants will learn the best ways to prepare for a life lived with this diagnosis. Pechenik will answer questions and will have handouts available.

Pechenik is responsible for developing essential connections between the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Maine community. He manages the Chapter’s Early Stage Social Engagement Program, which offers healthy fun and meaningful social activities that enhance the lives of those living with early stage Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

This To Your Health program is a collaboration of WMSC, Bethel Family Health Center, MSAD#44/Continuing Education, and the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available.

A follow-up program, “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease,” will be held on Thursday, November 6, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, also 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

October Events

Wednesday, October 1
Brown Bag Lunch Discussion 
Bring your lunch, enjoy the company of others, and be prepared for a lively discussion. Bonnie Pooley will facilitate discussion around the topic: The Resilient Community in the 21st Century: how can elders shape the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren? Free and open to the public.
Wednesday, Ocober 1; 12:15-1:30 pm; Bethel Inn Library

Thursday, October 9
Know the Ten Signs of Alzheimer’s
Mark Pechenik, Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, will present this program for anyone interested in learning more about early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Pechenik will explain the difference between age-related memory loss and dementia and will suggest how to proceed when one suspects Alzheimer’s.
Free and open to the public.
Thursday, October 9; 4:30-6:30 pm; West Parish Congregational Church
Wednesday, October 22
Energy Medicine for Your Health: An Introduction to Polarity Therapy 
Woodstock resident Emily Ecker will introduce Polarity Therapy at this Down Home Maine presentation. Benefits of Polarity Therapy include relief from chronic pain and enhanced mental and emotional clarity. Emily will demonstrate and teach us to use the Star Pathway on our own for a greater sense of well-being.  FMI: Emily Ecker 207-357-9954.  Free and open to the public.
Wednesday, October 22; 4:30-6:00 pm; West Parish Congregational Church

Wednesday, October 29
Opera Talk: Bizet's Carmen
In the city of Seville, in a tobacco factory, the fiery Carmen beguiled the naïve soldier Don Jose and the admired bull-fighter Escamilla.
Such memorable and stirring arias as the Habanera and the Toreador Song move this lively opera to the usual grave outcome. Patricia Boyle-Wight will lead us to a fuller appreciation of the historical and musical elements of this great favorite, which will be broadcast live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera on November 1*.  RSVP to Patricia at or 824-8453. Free and open to the public. 
 *For tickets to the Metropolitan Opera HD live broadcast, contact or 207-935-9232.
Wednesday, October 29; 10:30-12:00 noon; West Parish Congregational Church, Bethel 

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

Saturday, October 4
Mahoosuc Land Trust Step Falls Hike 
Hike up Step Falls with naturalist Dr. Roger Zimmerman. Meet at the trailhead in the parking area, 8 miles north of the Route 2 and Route 26 intersection in Newry. The hike is approximately one mile and will focus on “what’s there” and “how did it get there?" Participants should wear sturdy footwear and bring appropriate weather gear, water and snack. (Carpooling is encouraged to avoid roadside parking. Please do not park on private property.) FMI: 824-3806.
Saturday, October 4; 10:00 am; Step Falls Preserve, Newry

Wednesday, October 29
Community Supper
Free community suppers the last Wednesday of the month at Bethel Alliance Church.
Wednesday, October 29; 4:30-6:00 pm; Alliance Church, Walkers Mills Road, Bethel

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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Brown Bag Lunch Series Begins Second Season

By Nancy Davis
On Wednesday, October 1, WMSC begins their second season of the Brown Bag Lunch Series, following the series’ successful debut last April. Again, the program will be held from 12:15-1:30 at the Bethel Inn, and participants are invited to bring a lunch to enjoy over good discussion. Coffee and tea will be provided.
This session will be facilitated by Bonnie Pooley, whose topic is "The Resilient Community in the 21st Century: How can elders shape the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren?”  She will pose many questions for us to consider; here are a few: What are the values we cherish as we grow older? Why have we chosen to live in a small rural town? Why do so many young people leave Bethel, and what can we learn from this?   What can a small community like Bethel do to take care of all who live here? What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a small town far from population centers? How can we continue to provide fresh water for our residents? What can we do about the fact that our population is aging, and our schools are shrinking? What roles can elders play in a community? What can we do to make a positive difference in our community?
The discussion promises to be stimulating, and you are invited to take part, whether you’re a WMSC member or not. The session is free, but we’d like to know how many people to expect. For more information or to indicate your intention to attend: Nancy Davis ( or 207-381-1110). Please RSVP to Nancy by Friday, September 26. The session is Wednesday, October 1, 12:15-1:30 at the Bethel Inn; hope to see you there!

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

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Introducing WMSC's New Board Members

At the recent WMSC Annual Meeting we recognized retiring Board member Marcia Foster-Austin. Marcia served on the WMSC Board for the past six years, as co-chair of the Board, and more recently as co-chair of the Program Committee.

We then voted in our new Board members Jim Bebko, Irene Kuchta and Diane McMahon.

Jim came to Bethel in 2011 to set up a base camp from which to climb toward new challenges in his senior years. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a New York State Professional Engineering license, a pilot’s license, an EMT license, and certification as a Challenge Course facilitator. He enjoys hiking in the summer and downhill skiing in the winter. He and his wife, Ruth, enjoy partaking in the area’s classical music performances, art museums, and occasional travel outside the area. Jim hopes that WMSC will afford him opportunities to share some of his energies and experience for the betterment of the community he now calls home.

Irene says that she and her husband, Jack started skiing at Sunday River in 1989. They liked it so much that they bought a timeshare at the Summit in 1992. They found they liked that so much they bought an old dump in Hanover in 2001. They spent the next twelve years skiing, kayaking and trying to make the house livable. Last year Irene retired from her job as an academic librarian (and local union president) and moved to Hanover full time. Now she and Jack ski, kayak and do yardwork!

Diane lived in Peabody and Danvers, Massachusetts before moving to Maine. She taught math in Peabody for thirty-four years, mostly at the middle school level. She and her husband, Tim, became weekend residents of Bethel in 1985, and it became their permanent home three years ago when they both retired. Diane enjoys cooking, kayaking, snowshoeing, spending time with her children and four granddaughters, and taking advantage of the many courses and programs that WMSC has to offer.

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

February 2015: Join Us for a Serengeti Safari! Tanzania Lodge and Tented Safari

(The following invitation comes to us from Etta Abrahams, instructor and former President of Sunrise Senior College.  Last year WMSC member Kay Larson went on an Overseas Adventure Travel trip with Etta to Machu Pichu and the Galapagos.) 

I’m writing to invite you to join this year’s Overseas Adventure Travel trip, a Serengeti Safari, February 6-19, 2015. The trip is not associated with Maine Senior College Network or Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. (The Serengeti is in east Africa, bordering Kenya; no fear of ebola there!).

The entire trip, including almost every meal and the vast majority of tips, is $3095 (airfare excluded). You will be very, very well cared for, and the guides are from the area and highly informed and trained for every emergency. You can go to OAT travel online and check out this trip: 

We have just 6 spots left to fill. You must sign on by mid-September, and I am happy to provide more information. Feel free to contact me:

Etta Abrahams
Mid-May to October:
193 Kelley Point Road
Jonesport, ME 04649
Home: 207-497-5656 
Mobile: 207-263-7788 

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Senior College Players Rehearsals Start September 8

By Rosabelle Tifft
Veteran players and newcomers alike are invited to join the fun as the Senior College Players course resumes this fall. Anyone with an interest in theater is invited to join. There will be three plays in this fall’s production, and you may accept a role as an actor, stage crew member or director. All that’s required is a desire to become involved and enjoy working with others to produce a fun and memorable night of local theater.

Lorrie Hoeh, co-class facilitator with Ross Timberlake, will have a Senior College Players’ table set up at the WMSC Annual Meeting on September 3 at the West Parish Congregational Church, from 5:00 to 5:30 pm. She will be available to take your course registration and answer any questions. Current and new WMSC members interested in learning more about the Players are encouraged to see Lorrie to discuss the program.

If you are interested in joining the troupe but unable to attend the Annual Meeting, you may mail your registration form or take it to the Adult Ed Office at Telstar. This form and complete information is enclosed in the WMSC Fall Course Bulletin, which you should have received in your mailbox.

Weekly rehearsals will take place on Mondays from September 8 to November 10, l:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Congregational Church. Dress rehearsals take place the following week on November 18 and 19 at the Gould Academy McLaughlin Hall Trustees Auditorium. Performances are scheduled for Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22, at 7 pm, also in the Trustees Auditorium.

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

WMSC Course Bulletin Fall 2014

WMSC's Fall Course Bulletin should be arriving in your mailbox soon, if it hasn't already. Registration begins on Wednesday, August 27.  Due to space limitations some course descriptions in the printed bulletin have been abbreviated.  More detailed descriptions can be found on the blog:  Courses Fall 2014

You may not know that there is a link to the current course bulletin at the top of every blog page, and links to other information as well.  Just click on the tabs for the latest information.

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mahoosuc Land Trust 25th Anniversary Photo/Art/Writing Celebration

The Mahoosuc Land Trust is looking for those special photographs, original art works or written works that express the natural beauty of the Mahoosuc Region. Please share your work with the Mahoosuc Land Trust Community to celebrate our 25th Anniversary! We will be displaying all entries and having a Grand Showing on Saturday, September 27th from 11am – 5 pm at the Land Trust Office as part of the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend.

There will be prizes for photographs, original art, and written works in three age categories (12 and under, 13-18 and 19+). There is a $10 donation entry fee for the oldest age group.

Entry details: Photos should be matted, at a minimum, and may be framed. Original art should be exhibit-ready. Stories should be one typed page (max) and attached to a stiff backing. Entries should be dropped off at the Mahoosuc Land Trust Office by Wednesday, September 17th. Mail entries are also accepted. Any or all submissions may be eligible for inclusion in the 25th Mahoosuc Land Trust Anniversary Book. Information and pre-orders for the book will follow. Entrants are welcomed to sell their submissions at the show. More details on 

The Mahoosuc Land Trust is an accredited community land trust encouraging public interest in conservation in central Oxford County, Maine, and eastern Coos County, NH, supporting a balance between growth and conservation and emphasizing sustainable and traditional land uses. For more information visit or call 207-824-3806. 

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We Have a Date for Picnic, Blueberries and Poetry!

Walter and Beth Brough have once again offered their home (583 Howe Hill Road, Greenwood) and blueberry fields for this popular summer event. This year it will be on Thursday, August 7, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, with a rain date of Saturday, August 9. Bring containers for berries, your own sandwiches and a salad or dessert to share. Poetry to share is optional. RSVP to Beth (875-2216 or

Last summer the berries at Walter and Beth's were plentiful indeed!    photo R. Tifft

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

Explore Maine with Duane - Maine's Champion Trees

(Members of a senior college may take a course at other senior college as long as there is room in the class. The following article from Augusta Senior College appears in the July MSCN Newsletter.)

Maine's Project Canopy exists to locate, measure, verify and maintain current records of the Champion Trees in Maine.  This list is a compilation of the largest specimen of each tree species in Maine. Over 150 Maine Champions have been found over the past four decades, some of which are National Champions, but several have not been measured in over 10 years.  

Duane Prugh, of UMA Senior College, will be leading a group of students to find 40+ of these Champions, measure, photograph, and score them.  Some of these trees have a trunk diameter of 6-8 feet, a canopy spread of 150-175 feet, and a height of over 100 feet.

Jan Santerre, coordinator of Project Canopy and Maine's Big Tree Program, a partnership of the Maine Forest Service in cooperation with the Viles Arboretum, will be a professional consultant for this course.  The course will start in mid-August, 2014 and continue until mid-October. Only those champion trees between Scarborough, Belfast, Augusta, and Lewiston will be viewed. The class size limit is 30 students, but could be increased to 60 if a second 30 student section is needed.  FMI 207 621-3551 or e-mail

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