Sunday, April 26, 2015

Remembering Mark Vail

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Mark Vail, who died on April 20 after a short illness. Mark became a member of WMSC several years ago when he joined the Great Decisions class. Mark was an active participant in that class, and he will be missed. We send our condolences to his family.

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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Joyful Living

by Barb Dion

If you missed the Joyful Living program last week, you missed one of the best To Your Health programs offered! The highly entertaining trio of Ellen Crocker, Jewel Clark, and Karen Swanson kept the large audience laughing and on their toes – sometimes even literally.

Jewel Clark, Karen Swanson and Ellen Crocker   photo B. Dion
Ellen opened by giving her unique perspectives on life and aging. She spoke about the challenges of achieving joy and what we can do to enhance our lives. At our ages, we all have our own individual challenges but have the ability of taking charge of our lives. Don’t fret over regrets – get over them! Stop saving our best things for special occasions – use that fancy china and celebrate the ordinary times of our lives. Realize that the happier you are, the more you have to give to others.

Jewel Clark had the audience yodeling (yes, yodeling!) and clapping to the sounds of her musical offerings. She talked about the legacy her parents left and the influence it had on her life. She shared songs she has written and had everyone yodeling, even when we didn’t realize we were doing it at first. It was a lively and entertaining interlude and lifted everyone’s spirits.

Yoga instructor Karen Swanson had us stretching and relaxing and learning to embrace our inner selves. Once we were relaxed, she played music and encouraged us to dance to the beat both by ourselves and with a partner. This was a wonderful way to end the evening and we all left relaxed and happy!

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

Monday, April 6, 2015

Ed Knox on the Modern Middle East and More

by Scott Hynek 

Ed Knox, former CIA bureau chief and former history professor, spoke much like the latter on March 31 in describing the modern Middle East and how it came to be. Always important as the collection of land trade routes connecting Europe and Asia, it was how England got soldiers to and from India without going around the Cape of Good Hope, until the Suez Canal was built. He used a Peters projection map to show just how huge Africa really is, with a land area equal to that of China plus the USA plus India plus others.

Ed Knox described how Mohammad created community out of warring Arab tribes by promoting the five pillars of Islam – Acceptance of God (with himself as messenger), Prayer, Giving of Alms, Ramadan and the Hadj – all of which promote unity among Muslims (the schism between Sunni and Shia started later). He also described Mohammad as an enlightened conqueror.

He spoke of today's ungoverned areas (Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia and Venezuela) mostly anecdotally. He described our overthrowing Saddam as a terrible decision, allowed as how there is not much government in northern Nigeria, and described Venezuela as a narco-state. He sees Iraq as well along to becoming three separate (and weak) countries, even more subject to international meddling. Curiously, Ed Knox does not regard ISIS as significant as our sensationalist press would make it seem.

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