Maine Senior College Network news & updates
May 2021
Welcome to the May 2021 Issue!
Happy National Blueberry Cheesecake Day
May 26, 2021

Celebrate the May sunshine with a lovely cheesecake topped with delicious Maine blueberries!

This month's issue features classes looking for participants! Some are free offerings, while others give terrific value for their excellent courses and workshops. Sign-up now, while there are still open seats!

Program Director

Midcoast Senior College Present
Four Free FANTASTIC Talks!
Four Wednesdays in June from 1 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Join your friends at Midcoast Senior College for a Zoom Talk and Discussion with a different guest speaker each week on a different topic! 

SUMMER WISDOM 2021 IS SPONSORED BY Sunnybrook Senior Living Community in Brunswick

If you wish to join each event, you must register. The series is free, thanks to our generous sponsors Sunnybrook Senior Living Community, but registration is required. Locate the registration link within the information below. Once you've registered, you will receive a link on the morning of the talk.

Contact Midcoast SC by email with any questions or visit our website.
We look forward to seeing you!

SUMMER WISDOM 2021 IS SPONSORED BY Sunnybrook Senior Living Community in Brunswick

The class titles link to more information on the respective senior college websites.

June 2: 
How The U.S. Navy Orders New Ships At Bath Iron Works
Bath Iron Works (BIW) is a private shipyard that has built commercial and military vessels since its founding in 1884. As part of the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command, a Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair (SUPSHIP Bath) installation is co-located with BIW, providing on-site technical, contractual, and business authority on behalf of the Navy, ensuring the highest quality ships are delivered to the Naval fleet.
Captain Joseph Tuite will share an overview of their work in support of national security. Since May 2017, Captain Tuite, has served as the Commanding Officer of SUPSHIP Bath. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy where he received a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering. He holds a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School and a professional engineer’s license in mechanical engineering.

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June 9:
A Tale Of Two Pandemics
Our current experience with the Covid-19 virus inevitably invites comparison with the great influenza pandemic of 1918. This presentation will discuss the parallels between the two pandemics and their offending viruses, compare and contrast society’s experiences with each, and discuss what the future may hold in the struggle between microbe and man.
Richard Neiman, MD has had a lifetime interest in the history of medicine. He is an emeritus professor of pathology, laboratory medicine and internal medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He has held numerous positions with MSC since 2004.

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June 16:
Continuity And Change In The Contemporary Arctic

The Arctic is experiencing rapid environmental and cultural changes. This illustrated talk will examine some of the ramifications of those changes, how they are being felt, and ways residents of the North American Arctic are responding to them.
Susan A. Kaplan is an Arctic anthropologist and archaeologist who has conducted fieldwork in northern Labrador (Nunatsiavut), Canada, for over thirty-five years. Currently, she is Director of Bowdoin College's Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, and a professor of anthropology. She holds a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College.

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June 23:
Past, Present And Future Of The Old Navy Base In Brunswick

The presentation will provide a historical journey of the redevelopment effort of the former Naval Air Station, Brunswick. It will start with the BRAC decision to close the Navy base and take the audience through the current state of activity on the former base. It will focus on the original planning effort and associated environmental studies, property conveyance structures, governance, land use development, target business sectors, resource management and future initiatives.
Steven Levesque is the Executive Director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority which is charged with the responsibility of redeveloping the former Naval Air Station Brunswick (NASB), which was closed in 2011. He was previously the Executive Director of the Brunswick Local Redevelopment Authority, where he was charged with overseeing the successful completion of the reuse master plan for NASB.

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OLLI Summer Registration Opens May 26
OLLI at the University of Southern Maine is excited to open registration to Maine Senior College Network members on May 26, 2021

The OLLI Summer 2021 term will be entirely online. Courses run from June 22 to July 29 and are open to anyone who has paid dues with an MSCN associated senior college. View the Summer 2021 Catalog.

A note about costs
OLLI Summer courses are all $50.
Workshops vary depending on their length please see the prices listed with the descriptions.

To Register
Please complete our Registration Form and email it to OLLI at USM

Be sure to:

  • Mention that you are a member of a Maine Senior College

  • Select alternate courses/workshops as we cannot guarantee your desired course will have open seats when MSCN registration begins. 

Email OLLI at USM if you have any questions.

Seniors Achieving Greater Education (SAGE)
The University of Maine in Presque Isle

We have spaces in two classes in June.
These classes are Free to MSCN members!
People's Guide to Reliable News
Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM 
FREE Class on Zoom 

People's Guide to Reliable News - Join award-winning rural journalist, editor, and publisher Andrew Birden as he explores the modern news landscape. In this class, you will learn to understand the relationship between bias, propaganda, honest errors, corporate motive profits, and strategic fake news as it appears through digital media. Birden will use local examples and national stories to help you see the world of news information in a more useful and pragmatic fashion, reducing the influence and stress that pernicious fake news can have on your life. 

Instructor: Andrew Birden (see photo above!)

The Lynching of Jim Cullen
Tuesday, June 8, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
FREE Class on Zoom 

Jim Cullen, the only known lynching in New England. Cullen was a New Brunswick farmer of Irish descent who worked in the Maine woods logging in the winters. He also worked odd jobs in the mills and at local farms. Jim Cullen was a tall, giant of a man with a red beard, who was reputed to have stolen articles of clothing from many a clothesline. He lived in New Brunswick, moved to Ball’s Mills, which today is called Mapleton. 

Instructor: Kim Smith, Presque Isle Historical Society

Links to MSCN Late Spring & Summer 2021 Classes

Midcoast SC 

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 


South Coast SC

Sunrise SC


Summer Pop-Ups!
Keep an eye on MSCN's "What's Happening?" web page!

Zoom makes it easy for the network to post spontaneous "pop-up" classes, lectures, and events!

Join the website and receive instant upcoming Pop-Up notifications in your email!

“The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
by John Babin, Pub. Maine Authors Publishing 2021
Pages 25 Price $9.95 paperback

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

As we survive the pandemic of the 21st century, a renaissance is emerging in the appreciation of the life and works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. After a long winter dealing with the pandemic of 2020, it is comforting to look back at the beauty created in our culture in the 19th century.

I highly recommend a children's book titled “The Village Blacksmith” by John Babin, published by Maine Authors Publishing (2021). Children’s literature is a microcosm of the adult world, reflecting its values and way of life. In this new poetry book, author John Babin introduces children to Longfellow's use of words when expressing poetry about everyday life in the 19th century. 

In an interview, Babin said, “Blacksmiths helped people travel on horses just as cars help people travel today. Children should understand that. People associate blacksmiths with creating only steel shoes on horses, but they did more than that. Blacksmiths were craftsmen welding creative household objects like doorknobs, hinges for doors, handles for drawers, and candle holders. They made life easier for the average person and more beautiful. In this poem, The Village Blacksmith,” Longfellow celebrates the life of a hard-working laborer through this one poem, bringing about respect for all everyday working people. 

Children learn first by rhyming words. They love the sounds. They figure out what they mean later. Babin’s book defines certain words at the bottom of each page so children can easily understand words used in the past like bellows, forge, sinewy, and wrought. The format of the book is easy for children to handle and open and hold themselves. Illustrations, black and white wood engravings by Garrett and Merrill from the 1890s, complement the poetry with a classic quality. Babin also provides a short introduction to young readers about Longfellow’s life and how children responded to the poet in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after the city had cut down a chestnut tree. Children donated to create a chair for Longfellow from the chestnut tree, and Longfellow wrote a poem to thank them. If you want to read about that poem, you will have to pick up this book!

Babin is writing a series of children’s poetry books about Longfellow. The next one will be titled “My Lost Youth” and focuses on a poem that describes Longfellow’s memories and love of Portland. This book will be designed like “The Village Blacksmith,” featuring an individual poem by Longfellow plus another at the end of the book “Musing,” written in Longfellow’s childhood home in Portland.

Literature is one of man’s greatest achievements. The spoken word fascinates all children. Speech is the first step in learning to read. Hearing stories develop vocabulary and the span of concentration and listening skills. Hearing words that rhyme over and over again bring pleasure to a child and help with memory. In fact, a good children’s book appeals to both children as well as adults. All of Longfellow’s poems appeal to children as well as adults. John Babin’s book, “The Village Blacksmith," is one of those special books that children and adults will want to read again and again.

Both John Babin and Nicholas Basbanes, a well-known Longfellow scholar, spoke eloquently in a discussion program sponsored by the Maine Historical Society on April 8, 2021. 

Babin explained, “The Village Blacksmith” depicts the average man doing a good, honest day’s work.” Basbanes agreed as he discussed the importance of Longfellow in today’s society. Basbanes praised John Babin’s book saying, “The Village Blacksmith" will introduce Longfellow to the next generation.” Brisbane's own adult biography, “Cross of Snow, A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,” is outstanding and a scholarly volume that reads like an intimate conversation. I highly recommend both books.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Maine
“Stop. Check. Prevent.”

The 2021 Lyme Disease Awareness Month theme this May is “Stop. Check. Prevent.” This reminds us to stop and practice tick prevention measures frequently. The easiest way to avoid tick-borne diseases is to prevent tick bites.

Please remember to:
  1. Use caution in areas where ticks may be found.
  2. Wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs.
  3. Use an EPA-approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  4. Perform tick checks on yourself, family members, and pets daily and after any outdoor activity. Take a shower after exposure to a tick habitat to wash off any crawling ticks.

Infected deer ticks can spread the bacterium that causes Lyme disease when they bite. For transmission to occur, the deer tick must be attached for 24-48 hours. Use frequent tick checks to find and remove ticks as early as possible.
In Maine, adults over the age of 65 years and children between the ages of 5 and 15 years are at the highest risk of Lyme disease. People that work or play outside are also at high risk of encountering infected ticks.

If a tick bites you or you spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure to watch for symptoms for up to 30 days after exposure. Also be sure to call a health care provider if symptoms develop. The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a skin rash. This is better known as the “bulls-eye” rash. The rash usually appears 3-30 days after the tick bite and can show up at the bite site or anywhere else on the body. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and joint or muscle pain. Lyme disease is treatable, and most people recover fully. 

For more information please go to:

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