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

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

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Standing Room Only for Music of December

by Kathleen DeVore

Tom Davis, local musician, composer/arranger, and teacher extraordinaire, presented The Music of December - A Concert Class to a packed house on November 29. He, along with 20 of his friends, performed nine selections for us, chosen for their themes of winter, hope and rebirth.

The English carol The Holly and the Ivy, with its ancient Druid roots, had become Christianized by the 17th century, while Rob Raede's haunting song The Candles of Chanukah is from today.

Tom believes that the carols composed by Alfred Burt and Wilha Hutson in the 40's and 50's should be better known, so he chose three for this presentation – Caroling Caroling/ O Hearken Ye (medley) and Some Children See Him (with Thea Dunn, soloist).

Have You Seen a Child? (from Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera composed for TV in 1951) was performed by Anneliese Smith, Jonathan Smith, Brendon Bass, and Simon Smith, accompanied by Clorinda Noyes, violin, Richard Noyes, cello and Elizabeth Smith, piano.

Rolly York and Jewell Clark treated us to Rolly's original composition Jesus, Our Savior, Our Lord.

The Lutheran hymn Comfort, Comfort Ye My People by Johann Olearius dates from 1671, whereas the concert finale Benediction (Christmas Song) by Dave Matthews was written in 1993.

In a pre-concert interview, Tom said he hoped to leave everyone in a mellow, peaceful mindset. He certainly did!

Warming up before the concert.

The Choir
Sopranos: Thea Dunn, Debby Luxton, Anneliese Smith, Jan Stowell, Carla Boyle-Wight
Altos: Jean Bass, Elizabeth Smith, Patricia Boyle-Wight, Wendy Youmans
Tenors: Tim LeConey, Jonathan Smith, Simon Smith
Basses: Ben Alford, Brendon Bass, Jim Bennett, Steve McCosh

Special Guests
Clorinda Noyes, violin
Richard Noyes, cello
Rolly York, guitar
Jewell Clark, guitar and vocals 

Selected Recordings
None of these recordings has the beautiful instrumental parts composed by Tom Davis for this concert, but they will introduce you to the songs.

The Holly and the Ivy  

The Candles of Chanukah
Caroling, Caroling
Some Children See Him

Have You seen a Child (from Amahl and the Night Visitors) 
Comfort, Comfort Ye My People
Benediction (Christmas Song)

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

Sunday, November 8, 2015

WMSC’s Prime Time Players Present Four Comedies

by Rosabelle Tifft

One of the four comedy plays to be performed by WMSC’s Prime Time Players at their fall performance was a first prize award winner by the International Thespian Society and Dramatics Magazine. "The Tale That Wagged the Dog" by Tim Kelly will be performed on Nov. 20 and 21 at 7 pm at Gould Academy’s McLaughlin Auditorium.

In the play Johann Strauss, The Waltz King, visits America on tour, to the excitement and interest of the ladies. Meanwhile, Rudolph, the composer’s valet, played by Norman Milliard, does a thriving business selling locks of the maestro’s hair. However, the hair comes from Strauss’s little dog, Bobo. One after another, young women invade the hotel suite: Arabella, played by Barb Dion; Charity, by Roberta Taylor; and Prudence, by Pat McCartney. They are determined to have a lock of their idol’s hair. Rudolph’s shrewish wife, Trudi, played by Tineke Ouwinga, wants to end the deception. How Rudolph deals with the women makes this play a delight.

"The Tale That Wagged the Dog" cast: seated, Norman Milliard; standing from left, Barb Dion, Pat McCartney, Roberta Taylor, Tineke Ouwinga

The three other comedy plays include a monologue, “Kindness of Strangers,” by Jim Gordon and featuring Lorrie Hoeh; “Drinks with Charles” by Jim Gordon, with Tim LeConey, Roberta Taylor, Barb Dion and Tineke Ouwinga; and “The Bickersons,” an adaptation of the December 27, 1946 radio broadcast of The Bickersons, which features Rosabelle Tifft and Jim McLean with Jack Kuchta as the announcer.

Jack Kuchta, new director, said the theme for the evening, “What Goes ‘round, Comes ‘round,” shows that some people are complex and not always as they appear at first encounter. With the cast of veteran and “young-at-heart" players, this promises to be an evening of fun and excitement. 

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