Maine Senior College Network news & updates
April 2022
Welcome to the April newsletter

Spring classes are up and running across the network. Some have yet to start and still have openings for members of sister colleges. So keep an eye on our Online Class Openings web page.

Alternatively, some terrific one-off talks, lectures, and workshops are coming up soon. This newsletter has details, times, and registration information listed for these upcoming activities.

Zoom has opened the door to exciting opportunities for Maine's Senior Colleges by making it possible to join in activities all across the state. And now, many members want online classes to continue alongside face-to-face courses. With this in mind, hybrid classes present a solution.
I took the opportunity to drop into Coastal Senior College's "Mystery Mondays" book group. "Mystery Mondays" is a hybrid class with four people gathered together in person and sixteen more joining via Zoom. Maryanne Ward, the president of Coastal SC, runs this excellent book discussion group using a Meeting Owl Pro from her home. She connects her Owl plus computer (running Zoom) to her TV positioned to show all participants in the gallery view. The sound and picture quality was excellent. Congratulations to Coastal, and a big thank you to Martin's Point for generously supporting the MSCN hybrid class experiments! Coastal is leading the way, showing us what is possible with hybrid classes.

There is more to read in this April issue. Don't miss Priscille Michaud's review of Catherine (Kate) Furbish, the Maine botanical artist.

And congratulations also go to The Gold LEAF Institute's president Phil Poirier for his GLI video promotion on Mt. Blue TV.

And, finally, many thanks to Pat Reef for sending in her latest book review!

Program Director
Wikimedia Image:
Jervis McEntee, 1864

The University of Maine at Augusta Senior College

Maine Women Take Center Stage
by Priscille Michaud
In 2020, UMASC instructors Linda Williams and Sue O’Halloran offered a course called 'Maine Women Take Center Stage." The course was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the legalization of women’s right to vote. The following is part of an ongoing series in which Priscilla Michaud explains why each of the “spotlighted” women took center stage, and she describes the life and accomplishments of each of them.

Catherine (Kate) Furbish (1834 – 1931) was from Brunswick, Maine. Her expertise in botany and drawing led her to devote sixty years of her life to traveling thousands of miles throughout Maine to collect flowering plants. As an artist, botanist, and scientist, she created very accurate drawings and water-color paintings of the plants that she found. This scientist was never afraid to venture out on her own through bogs and mud in her campaign to hunt for Maine’s flora. Covering more than 200 Maine towns, Kate collected over 1,300 samples and pressed them in books that spanned 14 volumes. This collection, titled Flora of Maine, was archived and donated to Bowdoin College. Her 182 sheets of pressed ferns were donated to the Portland Society of Natural History, and 3,000 sheets of dried plants went to the New England Botanical Club.

Kate was thrilled that two plants that she had discovered were named after her. One of them is the very rare Pedicularis furbishiae (Furbish’s lousewort), and the other is the Aster cordifolius L. var furbishiae.

Article originally printed in the University of Maine at Augusta Senior College the Illuminator newsletter

Wikimedia Image
discovered by botanist, Catherine 'Kate' Furbish
near the St. John's River in Maine.
Acadia SC
Food for Thought Series
Photo: Meal, newspaper, reading - Photographer Unknown - Wikimedia
Food For Thought
The Underwater World of Diver Ed
Friday, April 15, 2022 at Noon
Free online presentation

Please join Diver Ed as he shares incredible stories and shows you the beautiful underwater world from his summer in Eastport, the eastern-most city in the US.

Diver Ed and Captain Evil (Edna) have operated the Dive-In Theater since 2000, running from the College of the Atlantic, where Ed is an alum.

In 2021, the lack of marine life around the Porcupine Islands forced the Dive-In Theater to find an alternate location. Ed and Edna’s good friends operate the whale watching and deep-sea fishing tours in Eastport, and they offered to help. Diver Ed’s favorite Maine dive sites are in Eastport, so he was very excited. They had a great time even though the diving there was extremely challenging. Diver Ed will share his fine sense of humor, vast knowledge, and experiences from this past summer in Eastport. Ed’s dive buddy, Mini-Ed, may even make an appearance.

This event is free and open to everyone. Don't miss it!

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Maine's Role in the Atlantic Slave Economy
Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at Noon
Free online presentation
Join Luke Gates-Milardo from the Maine Maritime Museum in a discussion of Maine's role in the Atlantic slave economy, and an overview of the Museum's collaboration with Bowdoin College in curating the exhibit Cotton Town: Maine's Economic Connections to Slavery.

This event is free and open to the public.

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The Biden Administration Impact on Maine and Our Workers
April 29, 2022, 12:00 Noon
Online presentation

In this important presentation, Garrett Martin (photo) will share his thoughts on the impact of the Biden administration's programs on the state of Maine and our people. Garrett has dedicated his career to connecting the dots between the daily struggles of working people and policies that can alleviate those struggles. A generation removed from poverty, he made his way to Maine after working in community economic development in the Mississippi Delta, southern India, and Latin America.

Garrett combines his commitment to providing credible and rigorous economic analysis with his passion for advancing economic justice as President and CEO of the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP). MECEP has been at the forefront of successful efforts to boost incomes and increase access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Mainers.

Garrett is a Truman Scholar and holds a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University with a concentration in economics and public policy analysis. He served on the Community Development Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and has taught graduate courses in community economic development at the University of Southern Maine. In addition to his work at MECEP, Garrett coaches his local high school cross country and track teams and was selected the Maine State Coach of the Year in 2017.

This event is free and open to everyone.

OLLI Presents Two Saturday Workshops on Zoom

Tough Choice!
Pick one of these two OLLI Saturday Workshops!

Two OLLI workshops on Zoom.

Voting in the US: Of Suffrage & Suppression - Mike Berkowitz
4/9 • 9:30 – 11:30 A.M. • $15 
The cornerstone of our democracy is the right of every citizen to vote. There has been a progression in the enfranchisement of various groups. Yet, various methods have been used to suppress voters throughout the years. A brief overview will survey the accomplishments and the setbacks that have led us to where we are today, and to the critical question, “What will the future be like?” Class format will include online lectures and discussions.

Mike Berkowitz taught in day-care centers, fifth grade, special education, and colleges before finding his niche at OLLI. He enjoys challenging folks to think in new ways about the issues of our times. 
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Introduction to Buddhism - Heather Edgerly
4/9 • 9:30 – 11:30 A.M. • $15 
This course will be an introduction to the family of religions we call Buddhism. We will discuss the development of Buddhism in India by focusing on the life and teachings of its founder and will then briefly follow its spread across time and space through Asia and the West. Repeat course. Class format will include online lectures. 

Heather Edgerly began studying Eastern Religions twenty years ago and has subsequently received degrees in Religion from the University of Hawaii and Harvard University. She has taught Buddhism and Eastern Religions at the University of North Carolina and currently leads classes in the theory and practice of meditation. 
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To register for OLLI's Saturday Workshops please contact OLLI via email
or call 207-780-4406

Join SAGE at the University of Maine In Presque Isle Lunch & Learn on Zoom!

SAGE - Lunch & Learn
with Jayne Farrin

SAGE/Maine Senior College membership is REQUIRED to enroll in the class.
The class fee is $5

Jayne Farrin has lined up presenters on various topics that will either educate, entertain, or both. Grab your lunch and sit down at your computer and join her in this amazing collection of presentations. Attend the weeks you are interested in or join us for all of them. For a list of speakers and dates, they will be presenting, see below.  

April 5         
How to Jump-Start Your Genealogy Research using
Dr. James Oberly

April 12       
City of Caribou’s River Road Cemetery
Spike Savage

April 19       
Tour of Katahdin Woods & Waters
Elaine Hendrickson

April 26       
Meteorologist at National Weather Service
Louise Fode

May 3          
Yearning to Breathe: The Immigrant Experience in Maine
Erica Nadelhaft

May 10        
Acadian Culture
Lise Pelletier

May 17        
Kajak! An Exhibit at Bowdoin College’s Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
Curator Genevieve LeMoine

May 24        
Top Ten Science Stories for 2021
Video by Curiosity Stream

SAGE/Maine Senior College membership is REQUIRED to enroll in the class for the fee of $5.

Wikimedia Image:

The Gold LEAF Institute features in a video
promotion on Mt. Blue TV
Mt. Blue TV's Community Connections program serves the towns of Farmington, Jay, Livermore Falls, and Wilton. The Community Access TV station gave GLI President Phil Poirier the opportunity to talk about his favorite senior college in this video!

Other News
Older Adult Health and Wellness Fair! 

The UMaine Center on Aging is pleased to present the 2022 Older Adult Health and Wellness Fair! This three-hour, FREE event will bring together a wide array of exhibitors and participants to provide wellness opportunities and health information to older adults and caregivers in our community. Health screenings, education opportunities, and information about local volunteer groups are just some of the exciting booths older adults can expect to find at the fair. This event is one of many happening during Maine Impact Week

MSCN Climate Change Conversations
The MSCN Climate Change Conversations web page is keeping track of network talks and classes that touch upon different aspects of climate change. We are looking at how this affects us personally, as Mainers, Americans, and world citizens. Though the scale of climate change feels overwhelming, we are looking at the many actions both great and small that we can take to help.

The MSCN What's Happening? page on the MSCN website will add the image above to flag offerings that contribute to this ongoing conversation.

Murky Overhead
by Michael Connolly
Published by Tower Publishing 2021
Pages 285 Price $19.95 paperback

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

For those who love history depicted in a novel about Maine, read "Murky Overhead" by Michael Connolly, a retired professor from St. Joseph's College. The title comes from an upbeat lilting Irish song, not the current tragic crisis in Ukraine; this book is about immigration in 1900 in Portland, Maine.
The novel tells about the wonderful courage and spirit of the Irish people who came to America in 1900 to settle on the coast of Maine in Portland and work in the harbor. The fictitious characters of Coleman Folen and his wife Mary make history come alive as the author describes the life of a longshoreman on Portland's waterfront with nine children to feed, facing poverty, discrimination, freezing cold weather, physically hard work, alcoholism, and a language adjustment.

The indomitable Irish spirit shines through with gentle humor, the beautiful quotes that head each chapter, and a touch of poetry inside some prose passages.

All the action in this imaginary story takes place on January 31, 1900. What makes the story so real is that the author mentions familiar street names in Portland that still exist today: Franklin Street, Federal Street, India Street, Fore Street, Munjoy Hill on the Eastern Promenade, and the Bramhall area on the Western Promenade.
The whole book inspires me to walk through those sections when the weather is warmer in April.

Irish customs are woven into the story. The author said, "Tea for the Irish was a constant companion. It seemed to join souls together in warmth, comfort, and friendship." Poems and songs of the old country were also constant companions. Tea was a nearly universal libation and originated from the further corners of the globe, but" Irish tea" in a home in Portland became a tradition. The author stated that most teas were packaged and sold by British concerns, but the truth had never kept the Irish from saying, "There's nothing that can take the place of a good cup of Irish tea." That statement from the book has motivated me to buy a box of Irish tea the next time I go grocery shopping!

How this family of nine survived in 1900 in Portland, Maine, is amazing. Refrigerators did not exist, and iceboxes were used. Babies were born at home by a midwife, not in a hospital. Mary had nine children by the time she was 35. 
No one had a car. Work at the harbor started at 6 a.m. before sunrise, and longshoremen came home after dark at sundown. The foghorn from Portland Headlight could be heard forecasting the weather for the next day, not on channel 8 T.V. Televisions did not exist.
Everyone could walk to the Cathedral on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and Franklin Street, which was an important part of Irish life.
Michael Connolly, the author, is a lifelong resident of Portland, Maine, and Munjoy Hill. His experiences of growing up in one of Portland's predominantly Irish communities influenced his writing. He earned an M.A. in Modern Irish History at Boston College in 1988. He taught for 36 years at St. Joseph's College in Windham, Maine. He has done extensive research on the history of the Irish in Maine and edited a collection of essays titled "They Change Their Sky:The Irish in Maine." (2004).He co-edited another book with Dr. Kevin Stoehr, titled "John Ford in Focus: Essays on the Filmmaker's Life and Work." (2006). In 2010 he wrote "Seated by the Sea: The Maritime History of Portland, Maine and its Irish Longshoremen" In 2016, he completed a documentary film," Building Bridges: Connections between Maine's Governor Joseph Brennan and Senator George Mitchell." Connolly still resides on Munjoy Hill in Portland with his life partner and great love, Becky Hitchcock.
For those who love the history of Maine, I highly recommend "Murky Overhead." You can get it from your local public library,, or the Maine Historical Society 489 Congress Street, Portland, Maine.Tel.207-774-1822. The Maine Historical Society was founded in 1822 that is why I can remember its telephone number. It is a beautiful resource to visit. It always has everything!

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