Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fall Course Bulletin Coming Soon

In just a few weeks you will be receiving your copy of the Western Mountains Senior College Fall Bulletin. The Program Committee has put together an interesting selection of courses and events; we think there will be something for everyone.

At a recent WMSC board meeting we began discussing the possibility of distributing the Course Bulletin electronically. There are advantages: the costs of printing and postage would be eliminated, and the amount of paper put into the recycle stream would be reduced. But not everyone is in favor of this. So, we decided to ask our members.

On the Fall Registration/ Membership Renewal Form there is a single survey question:

“WMSC is examining the possibility of distributing the Course Bulletin electronically. Would you be in favor of receiving your Bulletin by email rather than US post?”

All you have to do is circle yes or no. We do hope to hear from you.

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

Looking for Volunteers to Help with Course Bulletin Mailing

Do you have an hour to help us get the Fall Course Bulletin ready for mailing? We’ll be working from 10:00-11:00 am on Wednesday, August 16, in Telstar Room 133. If you can be there, contact Kathleen DeVore (, (207) 357-2005). Thanks!

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

Broadband Internet Planning in Oxford County

The Northern Forest Center in partnership with Axiom Technologies of Machias and Community Concepts Finance Corporation (CCFC) of S. Paris was awarded a $78,600 grant for broadband internet planning from the ConnectME Authority, Maine’s broadband/Internet state agency.

The grant is targeted to the Maine West region which includes towns and townships in the River Valley, Bethel area and Oxford Hills. 

Planning grants support the work needed for developing plans to expand the availability of broadband services in unserved and underserved areas. 

One of the first steps in the planning process is surveying Maine West residents and businesses to find out what internet service they have now, how satisfied they are with their service, and what more they would like and need to do that they cannot do now. 

We have developed two online surveys, one for businesses and one for residents or community members. The survey is easy to fill out and is confidential. If you choose to take part here is the link to the community survey.  Thank you for helping us improve broadband connectivity in Oxford County.

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

August Events

The following events are not sponsored by Western Mountains Senior College, but may be of interest to our members.

Saturday, July 29
Yankee Brass Band
The Bethel Historical Society hosts the Yankee Brass Band for an outdoor concert of old-time music played on authentic 19th century instruments. Bring a chair or blanket. Free and open to the public, donations appreciated. FMI: (207) 824-2908. 
Saturday, July 29; 2:00 pm; side lawn Moses Mason House, Bethel

Sunday, July 30
An Evening with Richard Blanco

Poet & engineer Richard Blanco, Mahoosuc Heart and Soul and The Gem Theater team up for a poetry reading followed by a discussion about community. Free and open to the public, coffee and desserts served.  FMI: or Catherine Ingraham at 207-590-0541.
Sunday, July 30; 6:30-8:30 pm; The Gem Theater, Bethel

Friday & Saturday, August 4 & 5
Andover Area Art Show

Original works by Andover area artists, living or deceased, or art that represents life in Andover and the surrounding area. Held in conjunction with the Andover Old Home Day celebration.
Friday, August 4; 5:00 pm; Saturday, August 5; 9:00 am - 3:00 pm; Old Telephone Office Building, Main Street, Andover Center

Thursday, August 10

Schooner Fare
Opening concert of the Paris Hill Music Festival, Schooler Fare (from Paris, ME) performs "Down East" style folk songs and ballads on six- and twelve-string guitars and banjos.  Don't miss the wonderful Maine humor interjected throughout their performances.  Tickets $25, available at (207) 743-9390.
Thursday, August 10; 7:00 pm; First Baptist Church on Paris Hill, Paris, ME

Friday, August 11
Daponte String Quartet
Part of the Paris Hill Music Festival, the Daponte Quartet is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Maine.  In 2015 they were recognized as the #1 Music Group of Maine across all genres of music. The program is scheduled to include Ludwig van Beethoven's Quartet Op. 59, No. 1 and Ottorino Respighi's Quartetto Dorico. Tickets $20, available at (207) 743-9390.
Friday, August 11 7:00 pm; First Baptist Church on Paris Hill, Paris, ME

Saturday, August 12

Noel Paul Stookey
Part of the Paris Hill Music Festival, Noel Paul Stookey is recognized best as one of the trio known as "Peter, Paul, and Mary." Stookey has continued as a soloist, writing and performing music that addresses social change, fusing jazz improvisation and insightful folk lyrics. The sociopolitical, spiritual, and cultural dynamics of life’s stories continue to drive his songs. Tickets $30, available at (207) 743-9390.
Saturday, August 12 7:00 pm; First Baptist Church on Paris Hill, Paris, ME

Sunday, August 13

Chris Humphrey Jazz Quartet
The final concert of the Paris Hill Music Festival, the quartet (piano, drums, bass, and saxophone) from Kennebunk, Maine will perform jazz selections perfect for a summer afternoon. Tickets $20, available at (207) 743-9390.
Sunday, August 13 3:00 pm; First Baptist Church on Paris Hill, Paris, ME

Monday, August 14
Mahoosuc Community Band Summer Concert

Under the direction of Patricia Boyle-Wight, the band performs traditional and popular music for concert band. Refreshments served.  Free and open to the public, donations appreciated. FMI: Julie Schubert-Cowan (
Monday, August 14; 7:00 pm; West Parish Congregational Church, Bethel

Wednesday, August 30
Community Supper

Free community supper the last Wednesday of the month. All are welcome.

Wednesday, August 30; 4:30 - 6:00 pm; Bethel Alliance Church, 251 Walkers Mills Road, Bethel

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

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Bethel Family Health Center Offers Free "Living Well" Class

(from The Bethel Citizen, June 29, 2017)

Bethel Family Health Center is pleased to offer a free Living Well for Better Health class starting Thursday, July 13. Because ongoing health conditions affect so many adults, SeniorsPlus offers this interactive workshop where participants learn tools to better manage their own health conditions. The Living Well workshop has also been shown to reduce hospitalizations by improving participant's ability to take care of their health.

Topics discussed during this six-week course include depression, medication use, nutrition and communication skills. Classes run from noon to 2:30 p.m. every Thursday for six weeks. The class begins on Thursday, July 13 and ends on August 17. All sessions will be held at Bethel Family Health Center.

To register or for more information, please call SeniorsPlus at 800-427-1241. Bethel Family Health Center is located at 32 Railroad Street in Bethel. Living Well for Better Health is FREE and open to the public. Caretakers and spouses are welcome to attend as well!

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

Summer Exercise for Seniors

(from The Bethel Citizen, June 22, 2017)

It is fairly easy to stay active in the summer when the weather is more cooperative, but if you are interested in exercising as a social activity as well as a health benefit, you might be interested in these free opportunities being offered on a weekly basis this summer. These two activities are jointly sponsored by the Bethel Recreation Committee and the Bethel Area Age-Friendly Community Initiative. If you are a resident, 55 years or older, of Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Newry or Woodstock, you are invited to participate in these group activities.


Offered through the generosity of Jeff and Patty Parsons at the Bethel Outdoor Adventures and Campground, Monday mornings from 10 to noon, starting June 26. This is a sport that is featured in the Senior Olympics, so if there are any aficionados out there, come on over and show us how it's done! (Croquet can also be offered if there is interest.) FMI call Eliza Barnes at or 824-3703.


Offered through the generosity of our AFCI member town of Greenwood, Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon, starting June 27 at the Greenwood Town Beach. Swimming is a wonderful all-body exercise, but one should never swim alone. If this is your preferred activity, join Bob for some invigorating exercise when the beach is relatively quiet. FMI contact Bob Oickle at 576-5104 or

And a reminder about other exercise opportunities in our area:

The Telstar High School track is open for use by residents during the summer.

The Bethel Pathway provides a flat, hard-surfaced, 2.5-mile path along the river and across the Gateway property owned by the Mahoosuc Land Trust.

The Mahoosuc Land Trust maintains other trails for public use on its various properties and is now building a handicap-access trail at the Valentine Farm. FMI call 8243806 or visit

Barker Mountain Bikes on Route 2 hosts casual rides (social and scenic) Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Perfect for those new to the sport, getting back into shape, or who want to enjoy some great company. FMI call 824-0100 or email

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Remembering Walter Brough

by Tineke Ouwinga

Walter Brough passed away on May 23rd, his and Beth's 58th wedding anniversary.
Walter and Beth Brough

Walter was always good with timing. He would come up with just the right joke, the right quip, at the right time. He was a wonderful, interesting, sensitive, intelligent, humorous Senior Player and friend.

Remember his performances in 'A Little Something for the Ducks' or his role as father-confessor in the Joan of Arc play? Walter was very flexible, always adapting to the situation and filling gaps when needed. He was never judgmental and very supportive of his fellow players.

Walter loved the German language, its poetry and songs. He would make these funny German comments on the side and sing German folk songs with me.

Music was the family's hobby. To hear three generations of Broughs sing together was a real treat. One year all the Broughs came to several houses on Christmas Day to sing carols; what a beautiful, surprising, moving occasion that was!

Several of us were privileged to be in the West Parish Congregational Church choir with Walter and Beth for years. His tenor and Beth's alto kept us on track.

Who can forget the blueberry picking in Walter and Beth's garden combined with songs and poetry? Their flowers and veggies were always admired and appreciated.

What about the watermelon seed spitting contest Walter held during a Senior College gathering?

Walter leaves behind lots of fun memories, which make us smile. We will miss his wit, wisdom and friendship!

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Age-Friendly Community Has a Website

The Age-Friendly Community Initiative has launched their new Website:   Take a look - you will see a lot of familiar faces!  The website is still under construction, but when the resources link is active there will be a link to Western Mountains Senior College.

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

Sunday, May 7, 2017

State Newsletter Features WMSC Brown Bag Lunch/ Wildflower Walk

Western Mountains Senior College's "Searching for the Plants and Flowers of Spring" is featured in this month's Maine Senior College Network's Newsletter.

Each month we post a link to the MSCN Newsletter at the top of the blog (it's the tab just before the blog posts begin).  Check it out - it's interesting to see what's going on at some of the other 16 senior colleges around the state.

If you want to attend the "Searching for the Plants and Flowers of Spring" Brown Bag Lunch/ Wildflower Walk it's not too late - contact Liz Wooley ( The event is this Thursday, May 11 from 12:30-4:00 at the Valentine Conservation Center, 162 North Road, Bethel.

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

Minimizing the Risk of Heart Disease

Ever-popular cardiologist Dr. Daniel van Buren recently spoke to a To Your Health audience on the risk and prevention of heart disease. Some risks (age, race, sex, and family history) are non-modifiable; but others, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of physical activity can be modified.

Dr. van Buren divided prevention of heart disease into two types – primary prevention (lifestyle changes) and secondary prevention (medication prescribed after disease has been diagnosed). This presentation focused on primary prevention.

Inactivity, obesity, and diabetes are among the greatest risks for developing heart disease. The good news is that there IS a magic pill – it's called 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. (Examples of moderate exercise: a brisk walk, snowshoeing, or using a treadmill). Regular exercise coupled with eating a healthy variety of foods in moderation can work wonders in reversing the risk associated with inactivity, obesity and diabetes.

Dr. van Buren left us with a prevention list of seven things to do:
  • Get regular medical checkups.
  • Control your blood pressure.
  • Check your cholesterol.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Manage stress.

And one thing not to do:
Don't smoke.

Dr. Daniel van Buren with To Your Health committee members Jan Stowell, Ellen Crocker, Rosabelle Tifft and Judy Whitman.

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

Senior College Players Looking for Actors

A message from Jack Kuchta:

Several of our Senior College Players members are retiring this year, and we may not have enough actors for a fall production. Both the players and the audiences have a great time and we really want to keep this program going. This is your chance to give acting a try! I am not asking for a firm commitment now, but please send me an email if you think you may be available. And if you know anyone else who might like to join the troupe, please send this on to them.

Thank you,

Jack (

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Changes to Tech Help Offerings at Telstar

When school resumes after April vacation Tech Help at Telstar will only be offered on Tuesday afternoons.  But be sure to call the Adult Ed office before you come (824-2136 ext. 1340). Spring is a busy time for students and your helper may not be available.

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

On Arthritis

At To Your Health on April 6, Christopher P. FitzMorris, D.O., M.P.A. introduced the causes and symptoms of arthritis to an interested group. There are several types of arthritis, but Dr. FitzMorris concentrated on osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type, resulting mostly from wear and tear or injury. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints, which may be worse first thing in the morning or after sitting for awhile. Anti-inflammatories can help, but for severe arthritic pain, you should see your physician. Injections and drugs can relieve the symptoms.

More debilitating is rheumatoid arthritis, which usually presents between the ages of 30 and 50. Diagnosis and treatment by a physician are required.  While the causes of rheumatoid arthritis are still under investigation, there are drugs which can alter the disease, not just treat the symptoms.

Whatever kind of arthritis you may have, take control of the situation! Discuss self-management strategies with your primary care provider. Research credible sites, such as the Arthritis Foundation (  Manage your weight. Eat a healthy diet. Remain active as much as possible. If you are not active, begin a gentle exercise program, remembering that small increments provide the most benefit.  Use assistive devices (cane or walker) when necessary.  And perhaps most important, form a support team of your medical professional, your friends, and family.  But remember, you are the captain!

To Your Health team members shown with speaker:  Linda McDonough, Judy Whitman, Jan Stowell, Dr. Christopher FitzMorris, Donna Coe and Rosabelle Tifft.

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

Someone's Had a Birthday!

On Thursday, April 6 members of the drawing and painting class presented Suzanne Taylor with flowers and a cake in honor of her 80th birthday.  For many years now Suzanne has facilitated both this and the creative writing class.  Thanks, Suzanne!      photo Karen Mills

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The "What's New?" Tab

We now have a “What’s New?” tab at the top of the blog. As new information becomes available, we'll announce it in this new tab. For example, two Brown Bag Lunch discussions have recently been planned, and they’ve been added to the Public Events listings. But you wouldn’t know about these new events unless we announced them somewhere. That’s where the new tab comes in. Whenever you click on “What’s New?” you’ll see the latest updates. It’s up at the top between the “Home” and “Membership/Registration Form” tabs. Give it a try! (To get back here click on the "Home" tab.)
What's new.JPG 

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

Takeaways from “Ask the Pharmacist”

On Thursday, March 23 two local pharmacists, Scott Fraser, RPh and Retief Orffer, RPh spoke at To Your Health’s “Ask the Pharmacist” presentation. More than 30 people attended. Following are several points that they made:

  • A varied diet will supply most necessary vitamins and minerals, and it is better to get them from food. It is difficult to get enough Vitamin D and calcium, so supplementing these is beneficial. But avoid megadoses!
  • Ask your doctor for a printout of all the medications you are on and take this to your pharmacist. Your doctor and your pharmacist commonly discuss issues of drug interaction, but your pharmacist is not usually notified when you are taken off a drug. This list will keep him or her up to date. 
  • When you visit your doctor, take a list of questions so you don’t forget. Bring a friend or family member with you - two sets of ears are better than one. Ask how long you will be on a medication, if you are starting at the lowest dose, and if there is a lower-priced generic equivalent available.
  • Your pharmacist is the only health care professional you can see and speak with without an appointment!

Scott Fraser and Retief Orffer offered three handouts - “Patient Guide for Food and Drug Interactions,” “Vitamins and Minerals” and “How to Interact with Your Pharmacist.” If you were unable to attend, copies are available in the Adult Education office at Telstar High School.

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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Telstar Middle/ High School - Winners of the School Spirit Challenge

Congratulations to Telstar Middle/ High School, winners of this year's School Spirit Challenge. The students collected 58,006 pounds of food for the Good Shepherd Food Bank and local food pantries.  Thanks to all WMSC members who contributed - it was indeed a community effort.

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

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Inclement Weather

A reminder - when MSAD 44 schools are closed because of inclement weather WMSC courses will be canceled as well. Tune in to your local radio or TV station or check their web site for school closing announcements. If a special event (such as Down Home Maine, To Your Health or Brown Bag Lunch) is canceled a notice will be posted here on the WMSC blog.

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