Sunday, October 19, 2014

Opera Talk: "Carmen" Wednesday, October 29

Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

On Saturday, November 1, the Metropolitan Opera will broadcast Bizet's Carmen live in HD. Patricia Boyle-Wight will introduce us to this favorite opera on Wednesday, October 29, 10:30 am at the West Parish Congregational Church. Patricia will lead us to a fuller appreciation of the historical and musical elements of this great opera, which features one beloved and instantly recognizable melody after another. Come even if you can't attend the opera on November 1. If attending, please RSVP to Patricia at or 824-8453. The opera talk is free and open to the public, so bring a friend!

For tickets to the November 1 Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast contact or call the box office at 207-935-9232 (Mon-Fri, 9:00-1:00). Opera goers may choose to “ride-share.”

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Large Group Attends Session on Alzheimer's Disease

Jan Stowell and Mark Pechenik   photo Rosabelle Tifft
by Kathleen DeVore

Fifty-four people attended last week's To Your Health presentation, “Know the Ten Signs of Alzheimer's.” Mark Pechenik from the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association spoke of the following ten signs which suggest dementia.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting recently learned information; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for things formerly handled independently.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems: changes in ability to develop and follow a plan; keeping track of monthly bills; following a familiar recipe.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure: trouble driving to a familiar location; managing a budget; remembering the rules of a favorite game.

4. Confusion with time or place: losing track of dates, seasons; forgetting where one is or how they got there.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: difficulty reading, judging distance, determining color or contrast.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing: difficulty following or joining a conversation; finding the right word; calling things by the wrong name.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: putting things in unusual places; losing things and being unable to find them again.

8. Decreased or poor judgment: difficulty dealing with money; decreased attention to grooming.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities: difficulty remembering how to complete a favorite hobby; avoiding being social because of these changes.

10. Changes in mood and personality: becoming confused, suspicious, fearful or anxious, especially when out of one's comfort zone.

If you notice these signs in yourself or a loved one, see a doctor. The dementia could be due to coronary disease or another life-threatening problem with blood flow. If it is Alzheimer's, while there is not yet a cure, there are medications which can slow the progression. The Alzheimer's Association offers many types of support to the person living with Alzheimer's and to their friends and family.

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 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

WMSC Drawing and Painting Class Takes a Field Trip to Andover

On Thursday, October 2, WMSC's art class met at Pam Berry's house in Andover.  Everyone had a wonderful time drawing and painting from nature.  Here are a few photos that Wendy Hutchins sent to us.

Elly Dufault, painting a scene in Pam Berry's back yard.
Denise Hurd and Suzanne Taylor enjoy the front yard.
Bonnie Pooley and Pam Berry
Sisters Freda Davis and Roma Wilson, painting in Pam's studio.
Geri Kelley, Lee Smith and Bonnie Pooley. The whole group
 shared a "potluck" lunch before returning home.
 photos by Wendy Hutchins

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

Brown Bag Lunch Discussions

by Nancy Davis

Have you participated in one of our Brown Bag Lunch discussion sessions? Last spring’s was facilitated by Marvin Ouwinga, on Islam. The second, facilitated by Bonnie Pooley, was held recently, on “The Resilient Community in the 21st Century: how can elders shape the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren?” Twenty-two people participated in a lively discussion around questions of what makes our own community special, what might some of the downsides of a small rural community be, and what we can do to improve and define our community for the future. For more of the discussion, see the upcoming edition of the Bethel Citizen.

WMSC will be continuing these Brown Bag Lunch discussions as part of our inclusion of the public in sharing ideas and information. Our intent is that our ongoing Down Home Maine series will invite interesting Maine citizens with particular talents or expertise to share their experiences with us. In contrast, the Brown Bag Lunch is an opportunity for a facilitator to help participants to grapple with ideas, swapping a variety of perspectives on an issue. Nancy Davis is managing the program and welcomes ideas for future topics. Brown Bag topics may be issues-oriented, of local interest, related to learnings from a particular WMSC class – or any other topic that lends itself to spirited discussion. You may send ideas to Nancy at 381-1110 or Be watching for the next Brown Bag Lunch in January.

From the October 1 Brown Bag Lunch discussion.  photo Amy Chapman

The library at the Bethel Inn provides a friendly, welcoming setting.  photo Amy Chapman
For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, October 6, 2014

Energy Medicine for Your Health: An Introduction to Polarity Therapy

Emily Ecker, LCWS and Polarity Therapist
Woodstock resident Emily Ecker, LCSW and Polarity Therapist, introduces us to Polarity Therapy at this Down Home Maine offering on Wednesday, October 22, 4:30-6:00 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel.

Eastern cultures have long recognized that the body’s energies are the key to health, vitality and well-being. “Energy medicines” such as Polarity Therapy are now being studied and utilized in Western medicine and are beginning to transform how we view and empower our health.

Polarity Therapy works to restore balance and wholeness. The Polarity Therapist uses gentle touch to direct the healing energy to specific areas in the body. The benefits are many, including relief of chronic health issues such as arthritis, back pain, depression, headaches and digestive problems; strengthening the immune system; and bringing mental and emotional clarity to a troubling issue.

At this hands-on session Emily will demonstrate what Polarity Therapy is. She will teach us to use Polarity Therapy's Star Pathway on our own for relaxation, balance, and a greater sense of well-being. This presentation is free and open to the public. Contact Emily for further information (207-357-9954).

Health is not merely of the body. It is the natural expression of the body, mind and soul when they are in rhythm with the One Life – Dr. Randolph Stone, Founder of Polarity Therapy, 1952

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

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