Issue No. 77
The MSCN Newsletter

Welcome to Your October 2016 Newsletter!

This month we have an article about our current online Memoir Writing Class. This piece, written by LASC member Rachel Morin was recently published in the Twin City Times. Thank you, Rachel, for spreading the word about our pilot program! Lifelong learners love to exercise their brains and meet others who share their interests. The secret is finding a hospitable classroom space! Whether it is on campus, in the  pub, out in the local community, or perhaps in the library, historical society or even the bank. Today we can add an online Zoom classroom to the list!  Senior College snowbirds are no exception in the search for learning just for the fun of it. Read how former GLI board president, Mary Viruleg, found a Southern lifelong learning experience. Meanwhile, for those of us preparing to see the occasional snowflake, the Maine Senior Colleges have prepared some great events. These include LASC's glimpse behind the scenes of the White House at Christmas. The next "Forum on the Future" at UMASC presents an examination of the impact of global warming on Maine. Last but not least, Fiddle-icious will encourage some serious toe-tapping at the next "Concerts at Jewett."

MSCN Online Memoir Writing Class

First Assignment: In the kitchen!

Something new is happening for the 17 Senior Colleges in the State of Maine.   I have joined six members of USM's Lewiston Auburn Senior College in a pilot program with 13 students in an Online Memoir Writing class with a ZOOM application, similar to Skype, for a Sept. 12 through Nov. 21 class.  We will not only hear the class, but be able to see everyone on video as well.  What is even greater is that it is being taped for us to review what was covered in class.   As every good teacher knows, repetition is important.

The online course is offered in response to requests for seniors who may be isolated and unable to get to the classes offered at colleges, due to isolation in rural areas, illness, or disabilities making it difficult to get around.  The goal is to see how this program works.  If successful, this pilot program will be the foundation for future online courses on different subjects offered to Senior Colleges throughout the State. 

Elizabeth Peavey at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland
Photo by Gregory Rec

We are indeed fortunate to have Elizabeth Peavey as our instructor, a well-known Portland-based writer, performer and educator.   Her one-woman show, "My Mother's Clothes Are Not My Mother" has played to sold-out houses since 2011 and won the Maine Literary Award for Best Drama. An author of three books, her "Glorious Slow Going: Maine Stories of Art, Adventure and Friendship" was a Maine Literary Awards finalist.   She has written a humor column for 20 years, and her writing has been featured in Down East Magazine since 1993. She teaches Public Speaking at the University of Southern Maine now in her 21st year.   She also teaches and coaches writing groups across the state.

Anne Cardale
Anne Cardale, Program Director of Maine Senior College Network, is coordinating the online course in cooperation with University of Southern Maine, Portland.  Anne is also editor of the MSCN newsletter. She has conducted weekly online tutorial sessions the past six weeks in preparation for our official start of the class which was September 12. Patricia Vampatella, a class member, has been helpful going to local homes and installing the ZOOM application for students who needed help. 

The video part of the online course has been a boon as we have enjoyed seeing the instructor and the students inte racting.   Our small class has become a close-knit group and supportive of each other's endeavors.  We have made new friends.  For some of us, this online course was new to us, never having participated in one.   We have adopted the adage, "You are never too old to learn."  Our Lewiston Auburn Senior College Logo has a similar thought "Forever Learning."   Or as those at Sunrise College like to say "We're old enough to know that we're young enough to learn."

The photo (above) taken by Gene Gilbert shows  USM Lewiston Auburn Senior College students comparing notes on the tutorials they have been taking for the Online Memoir Writing Course using the ZOOM application. L to R, Rachel Morin, Patricia Vampatella, Susan Donar, Betty Campbell, Mary Jane Beardsley.

Written by Rachel Morin, USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College

Lifelong Learning for Gold LEAF 

George Henry Durrie - Winter Scene in New England (1859)
This is time of year that our immediate past president, Mary Viruleg,  sallies forth to winter in the deep south. This has been happening for seven years and it took Mary and Andy a little bit of time to locate life-long learning opportunities in their area.  Since then, they've been enthusiastically involved with The New Horizons program at  the University of Alabama at Birmingha
m.   In fact, Andy presents his popular opera classes for the Gold LEAF Institute during the summer term and then repeats them for the New Horizon group in the winter months. 

Gold LEAF Institute board meeting
with former President Mary Viruleg 

UAB has a strong focus on medical research and
the Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging  (which sponsors the New Horizons program) is part of the Medical School with close ties to the Department of Neuroscience.  So, amid a great variety of presentations on topics from environmental diversity to recollections of playing with the Boston Symphony, there are some very worthwhile programs on brain science and the aging process.  There is also an up and coming OLLI group in Birmingham to complemen
t those in Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and several other locations.
YouTube video - Anne Murray - Snowbird (with lyrics).

Over the years, participants have had lots of questions about the senior college programs in Maine.   People are amazed that Maine hosts seventeen of these, each with its own particular character and variety of offerings. Then there are the questions from lifelong Alabamians about their disbelief that senior citizens would venture forth from their heated homes in January or February and be outdoors when the temps are in the teens (or worse). On several occasions, Mary, a lifelong New Englander, has directed the conversation to the amount of time residents of the deep south spend indoors in their air-conditioned homes in July and August...

So, if this story has a moral, it revolves around the fact that, no matter where you travel, you can always find kindred spirits and opportunities to dispel those mental cobwebs and continue to learn.

Submitted by Eileen Kreutz, MSCN Liaison, Gold LEAF Institute

Food for Thought at USM's 
Lewiston-Auburn Senior College Presents: 

"Behind the Scenes at a White House Christmas"
Friday, October 14, 2016

Joan Macri, a Lewiston-Auburn resident since 1978, is the presenter for the Friday, October 14, 2016, USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College "Food for Thought" luncheon.  The public is cordially invited.  The title of her session is "Behind the Scenes at a White House Christmas".  Joan will share slides of her experiences decorating the Obama White House for Christmas 2015. One of 89 volunteers from around the country, she worked on preparing decorations for the Private Residence and then installed decorations in the East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, the entry way to the White House used by the First Family, and the President's private elevator. A unique and enormously gratifying opportunity for a history teacher from Maine!

Joan Macri is a retired secondary Social Studies Educator.  She taught for 37 years beginning in the Philadelphia area.  She then moved to Maine where she initially taught at Bonny Eagle High School, and finally at Lewiston High School (LHS) for 24 years. Joan taught American History, Economics, and Debate.  She coached various teams while at LHS including Debate, Mock Trial, Federal Reserve Challenge, Chicago Board of Trade Commodity Challenge, and Stock Market.

Joan created the Aspirations Program for LHS, which is a program that arranged college visitation trips for all sophomores including an Aspirations Lab for students. She then collaborated with College for ME Androscoggin to expand the Aspirations Program county-wide to seven other area high schools.  In addition, she also advised the LHS National Honor Society, Student Senate and Civil Rights Team.

Joan continues to reside in the Lewiston-Auburn area, finds more time for reading and gardening, and is really enjoying spending more time with family and friends in her retirement.

Senior College, now in its 19th year, presents this monthly luncheon program in Function Room 170 at USM LAC.  Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the program will begin promptly at noon.  The cost, which includes lunch, is $7 with an advance reservation or $8 at the door. To make your advance reservation, call Senior College at 753-6510 by noon on Wednesday, October 12. Reservation calls received after this date/time will be considered "at the door".

UMA Senior College Present "Forum on the Future"

Climate Change - How Maine Will Cope?
Sunday, October 30 at 2:00 PM in Jewett Hall, UMA.

"Climate Change - How Maine Will Cope" will be the topic of a forum on Sunday, October 30 at 2:00 PM in Jewett Hall, UMA. The speakers will be Ivan Fernandez, Ph.D., a soil scientist at the University of Maine, Orono, and Andrew Smith ScD, State Toxicologist, Maine Center for Disease Control. They are recognized scholars and professionals who will emphasize the present - and potential - effects of global warming and what we can do about them.

The urgency of the issue is reflected in UMA's selection of climate change as the academic theme for the current school year. We tend to think of climate change as something in the distant future, but some effects, such as the warming and acidification of the Gulf of Maine, with significant consequences for Maine's economy, ecology and society, are happening now. Examples of issues for Maine on the near-term horizon include coastal flooding, threats to the maple syrup indus
try and increase of Lyme disease-bearing ticks. The vastness of the climate crisis sometimes causes people to turn, if not to denial, to a sense of hopelessness or despair that anything can be done about it. One message of the speakers is that we can do something about it. They will not dwell too much on the carbon fuel connection with global warming but will focus on dealing with the effects of rising temperatures and other economic, environmental and public health consequences of climate change, and most importantly, how these effects can be mitigated or how we can adapt to them.

Ivan J. Fernandez is Professor in the School of Forest Resources, Climate Change Institute, and School of Food and Agriculture at the University of Maine. His research has focused on ecosystems changes due to alteration of the chemistry of the atmosphere. He has served on U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board committees since 2000, represents Maine in the USDA Climate Hub, and he has been involved in leading the "Maine's Climate Future" assessments in 2009 and 2015.

In addition to being the State Toxicologist, Andrew Smith is the Manager of the Environmental and Occupational Health Program within the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He leads a team of public health professionals that addresses a variety of environmental health concerns including childhood lead poisoning, arsenic in well water, and mercury in fish. Since 2010 he has been the Principle Investigator on a federal CDC grant, Building Resilience Against Climate Effects, which focuses on adaptation to extreme heat and Lyme disease.

The program will offer ample opportunity for questions and comments from the audience. UMASC forums are free and open to the public. Free refreshments are served. UMA Senior College is open to persons fifty years or older and their spouses. Its all-volunteer faculty offers courses on a wide variety of subjects for nominal membership and tuition fees. It provides monthly musical programs - Concerts at Jewett - for low admission prices. Forum on the Future produces four programs a year on topics which are both timely and significant for Maine people. A forum on Elections 2016 was recently presented. Coming up next year are forums on Maine's economy and transportation for elderly people.

Forum on the Future is free! 

UMA Senior College Present "Concerts at Jewett"

2 pm Sunday, October 16, 2016 
Cony High School: 60 Pierce Drive, Augusta, ME 
The "Concerts at Jewett" Series sponsored by University of Maine at Augusta College of Arts and Sciences and UMA Senior College will feature Fiddle-icious on Sunday, October 16, 2016, 2PM at Cony High School Viles Auditorium, 60 Pierce Drive, Augusta, Maine. We are happy to be hosting them once again and anticipate another near-capacity audience. 

Fiddle-icious is composed of a diverse group of enthusiastic fiddlers and other musicians of all ages and walks of life with members from Kittery to Augusta. Their music comes from the Irish, Scottish, Quebecois and Acadian traditions and includes reels, jigs, marches, hornpipes, waltzes, step-dancing and singing.  

Fiddle-icious is directed by Don Roy, a designated Master Fiddler from Gorham, considered a "living cultural treasure" here in Maine. Both Don and his wife Cindy are committed to keeping Maine's musical heritage alive with this non-profit, all volunteer community organization.

Tickets are $10, students $5, 12 & under free. Tickets are available at Pat's Pizza in Augusta, Dave's Appliance in Winthrop and at the door. Call 621-3551, or email for more information or for mail order tickets. 

The next concert is Sunday, November 6, 2016, 2PM - Don Campbell Honors American Veterans. Veterans admitted free.

Media contact: Irene Forster 445-5227 

FREE Screening of "Being Mortal" 
Thursday October 6th From 6PM - 8PM. - Bangor
St. Joe's Healthcare in partnership with Eastern Area Agency on Aging and the UMaine Center on Aging is holding a free, community screening of the documentary "Being Mortal" at The Dyke Center for Family Business. 

After the screening, audience members can participate in a guided conversation on how to take real steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences.



The MSCN newsletter is sent to each Senior College board. The boards then forward the newsletter to their membership. However, if you are not a member of a Senior College or perhaps you are, and you simply want the news "hot off the press" subscribe here! 
Newsletter Submissions Deadline Date:
The 26th of each month!

Please submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at

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The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the  

In This Issue
Don't forget to go to the Maine Senior College Network website to find out what is happening around the state!

Maine Senior College Network

Acadia Senior College

Augusta Senior College
Coastal Senior College

Downeast Senior College

Gold LEAF Institute

South Coast Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Penobscot Valley Senior College


Senior College at Belfast

St. John Valley Senior College

Sunrise Senior College 
Western Mountains Senior College

York County Senior College
MSCN Promotional Videos

Maine Senior Guide is a comprehensive web resource about all things senior that provides "one stop shopping" for Maine's seniors at the link below: 

Contact Information
Maine Senior College Network 
P.O. Box 9300 
Portland, Maine 04104-9300 
(207) 228-4128


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