Monday, November 11, 2013

Senior College Players to Present "Shakespeare in Shambles"

by Rosabelle Tifft

The third of the three Senior College Players comedies, “Shakespeare in Shambles” by Wade Bradford, will be presented on November 22 and 23 at the Gould Academy McLaughlin Trustees Auditorium, beginning at 7 pm. This entertaining play finds William Shakespeare (Ross Timberlake) dealing with ticket sales, an eccentric actor, Thomas Kemp (Norman Milliard), an insanely jealous wife (Ginger Kelly), and Lord Chamberlain (Roberta Taylor), who wants to close down the immoral theater. Everyone is anxious to find out what Shakespeare will write next - except for Queen Elizabeth (Bonnie Marshall), who may be the real playwright. Keeping their secret hidden takes a lot of work and costume changes, with the help and comings and goings of Gerty (Barb Dion), a boisterous “costume wench.”

Cast of "Shakespeare in Shambles:" front, Bonnie Marshall, Ross Timberlake; back, Roberta Taylor, Ginger Kelly, Barb Dion, Norman Milliard  photo L. Hoeh

Roberta Taylor, Bonnie Marshall, Barb Dion  photo L. Hoeh
Bonnie Marshall, Norman Milliard, Ross Timberlake  photo L. Hoeh

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

Managing the Holiday Blues

by Kathleen DeVore

We all know someone, or someone whose loved one, is dealing with depression. Severe depression is debilitating, but there are levels of depression, and even a mild case such as being down in the dumps can take its toll. This was the focus of To Your Health's latest offering, “How to Keep the Holidays Happy – Managing the Holiday Blues.” Torrey Harrison, LCSW, and Stephanie LeBlanc, LCSW, both from Tri-County Mental Health, were the presenters.

The symptoms of depression, whether minor or severe, include: feelings of sadness or unhappiness; changes in appetite (eating too much or not enough); loss of interest or pleasure; lack of energy, oversleeping or insomnia; and irritability, frustration, agitation. Harrison and LeBlanc said that one in ten Americans are impacted by depression, either personally or through a loved one, but that 80% of people struggling do not seek help.

Harrison and LeBlanc also made the following points during their presentation:

  • As with any medical condition, if you are experiencing a major disruption to your life, talk with your doctor. Medication may be in order, but there are other avenues to explore as well. Many people find help through cognitive/behavioral therapy. Talking with a non-judgmental third party can be beneficial. Improve your general wellness level through physical and social activity. Exercise and eat a healthy diet to improve your sleep patterns. All of these can help you become more aware of what triggers your depression, and help you to cope.
  • The holiday season – from Halloween to Valentine's Day – just happens to coincide with the darkest 100 days in the northern climates. Many people suffer from a mild depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during this time. It is more common in women 20 – 55 years old, less common for men. If you did not suffer from SAD when you were younger, it is less likely you will experience it as you get older.
  • The symptoms of SAD are not at the level of intensity as those of depression, but they are the same: loss of energy and interest, feeling moody or irritable, change in appetite (often an increased craving for carbohydrates), difficulty concentrating and accomplishing tasks. All are brought on by short days and decrease in light.
  • With SAD there is no one thing that will help everyone. It is important to find things that work for you. Many people find that using full-spectrum lights at home or at work greatly improves their well-being. Known as “happy lights,” these are readily available. Taking extra vitamin D or St. John's wort is of benefit to some. If you know you experience a mood dip in October, plan things to look forward to during the dark season. Try to stay in the moment of what's happening now. Be realistic – do you really need to make four pies for Thanksgiving? Reach out and connect to others. Do something for someone else – it really does help you feel better! And don't forget to take time out for yourself, even just a few minutes. Avoid getting too busy.
  • With family, decide what the holidays mean to you, and keep that in mind. Buy into what you want to do, not what others expect of you. Identify points of possible tension, and work to avoid them. Laugh! Have a favorite joke at the ready. And if you can't laugh, force yourself to smile. Smiling will make you feel better.

The session concluded with a graphic of the Eight Dimension of Wellness:
  • Physical – healthy patterns, eating, exercise, imbibing, sleeping
  • Emotional – awareness, expressing, managing
  • Social – positive supports, regular contact
  • Occupational – sense of purpose and meaning in everyday life
  • Intellectual – activities that are creative, learning something new
  • Financial – making conscious spending decisions, planning and preparing
  • Environmental – pleasing surroundings support physical/mental health
  • Spiritual – connect with something greater than one's self
Being mindful of these points will help us manage the “Holiday Blues.”

Lida Iles, Torrey Harrison, Stephanie LeBlanc, and Bob Iles     photo R. Tifft

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Native American Reconciliation at Down Home Maine

by Saranne Taylor
Cheryl Schaufler and Arla Patch  (photo P. Gross)
Cheryl Schaufler, who is Native American, and Arla Patch, who is European American, presented a horrifying picture of the atrocities suffered by Native Americans during the last two and a half centuries. We may know these things, but such an eloquent reminder from Cheryl and Arla was both sobering and painful.

Arla and Cheryl’s work focuses on the Maine-Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was signed in June of 2012 at the State Capital. The Wabanaki are the five Nations comprising the Mi’kmaq, Maleseet, Passamaquody, Abenaki and Penobscot. As far as we know, this is the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to address Indian Child Welfare in the US.

The mandate of the TRC has 3 main goals:

TRUTH: document what has happened, and is happening to Wabanaki involved in the Maine Child Welfare system

HEALING: give everyone, Wabanaki especially, a voice to begin the healing process

CHANGE: make suggestions for the best Child Welfare practices with Wabanaki

Arla and Cheryl spoke about the “Cultural Genocide” of the Wabanaki people, which was authorized by the governments of the times. Phrases such as “The Indian people should be put into perpetual slavery” or “Capture and subdue the Saracens” were used by prominent people.

Thanks to the dedicated work of Cheryl and Arla, steps are being taken to heal the wounds, particularly those of the Indian children who were removed from their homes, families and tribes not only in the 1800’s, but as recently as 1984 when the last school was closed. Children were placed in boarding schools when they were as young as four or five years old, or, they were adopted by white parents. At school and during adoption, children were forbidden to speak their own language, dress in their own clothes or follow any of their tribal customs. Frequently they were physically and emotionally abused, which had tragic outcomes still observed today.

Despite this, the TRC is making headway in the healing process, and in Maine we can be proud that the TRC is the first of its kind in the US.

If you would like more information, or would like to know how to volunteer for the TRC, please write to:

Many thanks to Cheryl and Arla for this Down Home Maine presentation.

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

Senior College Players in Rehearsal

by Rosabelle Tifft

“Who Murdered Who,” by Millard Crosby, is one of three plays to be performed by the Senior College Players on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23, beginning at 7 pm at Gould Academy McLaughlin Science Center Trustees Auditorium. Players have been rehearsing since mid-September. A brief summary of “Who Murdered Who,” is included below, along with several photos.

This play is filled with laughs, thrills and excitement. Gould Trevor (Jack Kuchta) receives a threatening note. Jennie, Trevor’s housekeeper (Lorrie Hoeh), overhears Trevor talking of murder and thinks Trevor plans to murder her. Jennie flees, and a strange woman who calls herself Mary Jones (Rosabelle Tifft) takes over as housekeeper for Trevor. Excitement increases as mysterious happenings take place, with nearly everyone suspected of murder.

Watch for information on another play in the next BLOG.

Cast of "Who Murdered Who:" seated, Jack Kuchta and Tineki Ouwinga; standing, Lorrie Hoeh, Mark Antell, Kathy Berberian, Carole Timberlake, Rosabelle Tifft and Jim McLean  (photo R. Timberlake)

Carole Timberlake, Jack Kuchta, and Tineke Ouwinga  (photo L. Hoeh)

Jim McLean, Rosabelle Tifft, Mark Antell and Lorrie Hoeh  (photo L.Hoeh)

Lorrie Hoeh and Kathy Berberian  (photo L. Hoeh)

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