Thursday, December 12, 2019

Happy holidays to all!

Whatever winter holiday you celebrate, we hope it's a peaceful, productive season for you.

PVSC's holiday gift to itself is a serious upgrade in the way we offer our courses and other services. Beginning January 1, we'll be online. Members will be able to read the catalog and register for classes  online, and get instant confirmation. They'll be able to pay their membership fee and get all the news in a timely way.

Members who don't go online will still be able to do everything by phone and mail, but others will appreciate the convenience of our online services.

And it will be easier than ever for non-members to get information about what we have to offer, and eventually join up.

Please note: our contact information will be changing on January 1. Watch for details!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The season of giving

It's the season of giving: making lists, considering loved ones, contributing to causes we care about. We might become annoyed at the ever-present urges to think about the holidays. We complain about the barrage of solicitations in the mail and the way-to-early Christmas displays in the stores. But at the heart of the holiday season is a great impulse.

So when you're thinking about donations, don't forget PVSC.

We wish everyone a calm, joyful, holiday season filled with everything good.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Maine is age-friendly!

Senior College has always been age-friendly: that's our purpose, after all! Now the whole state of Maine has gotten on the bandwagon, by joining AARP's Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. By doing so, Maine has become an officially Age-Friendly State, according to AARP.

The goal of the undertaking is, as Governor Janet Mills said, "creating age-friendly, livable communities with walkable streets, safe and affordable housing, transportation and access to services." While these goals would help Mainers of any age, they're especially welcome to seniors and those with disabilities. 

A skeptical person might think that this is only a label. But there's meat at the heart of it. The network will make "critical data, technical advice, best practices and organizing tools" available to Maine, Mills said. Even raising awareness of seniors' needs is a good start, so hurrah for Maine! Onward and upward!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

What's next?

We've had our annual luncheon and fall courses are starting to wind down already. Six weeks seems really short when you're having fun! Already the Curriculum Committee is planning spring courses. The rest of us may be wondering what we'll do with ourselves when we have to say goodbye to our weekly learning-and-socializing.

Well, of course we can follow up on whatever line of thought/learning/reading we were pursuing in class. We can embrace fall, with its leaves and pumpkins and Thanksgiving dinner. And find ways to enjoy the cold and dark that follow.

Even better, we can find new learning opportunities in the area. Don't forget that, come January, seniors can take UMaine System courses tuition-free and can audit, so there's no cause to worry about grades.

If you're a member, you have free membership at nearby Senior Colleges; some have winter events and courses.

Local libraries, EAAA, and Gateway Seniors have all kinds of activities. AARP has frequent informative meetings.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Fall classes

We've been so busy with the last-minute summer jaunts and the start of fall classes that this blog has gone without posts for a while now. The good news: fall courses are off and running, and feedback says this is likely to be an excellent semester.

The variety is large. One class is enjoying a crash course in the highlights of Western music (as in European-American, not country-and-western), taught by retired UM professor of music Dennis Cox. Another group has just organized its road trip to Calas and the St. Croix historic site, the conclusion of Ray Pelletier's short course on that first European settlement in North America.

Other students are waxing creative as they learn watercolor techniques, or exploring the world of science fiction, or learning about DNA. And more. There's always something to learn with no pressure--just for fun and stimulation.

And there's a bonus: you can meet new people while you're investigating new ideas.

If you're not already a member, come on down! Join up and be ready for spring courses!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The A-word

Autumn. It's the word a lot of us in Maine don't want to hear. Yet for many, September is our favorite time: the tourists are gone, the (grand)kids are in school, and the weather is great.

So how do you spend your September? Taking a woodsy hike? Getting in a supply of wood and pumpkins? Stocking the freezer for winter while the farmer's markets are still going strong? Sitting in the sun with a good book? Hitting the coast while it's not so crowded?

However you enjoy your free time in September, don't forget the treats: the good times and food to be had at our members-only luncheon on September 18 (Black Bear Inn in Orono, 11:30. Be sure you've signed up); and, of course, the start of courses the week of the 23rd.

So maybe the A-word is OK. Good things come in autumn.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

All the details

Now is a great time to sign up for the courses that begin the week of September 23.

Everything you need to know is in our catalog. It's available online at

Friday, August 23, 2019

Dates to mark

Lots of things coming up in September:

Wednesday, September 4: presentation on Frances Perkins, "the woman behind the New Deal." 10:00-12:00 AM in Room 124, Eastport Hall, UMA-Bangor. Please register by calling 992-0118 and leaving your name, phone number, and email address.

Wednesday, September 18: members only: annual luncheon and short business meeting. Guest speakers: Bob and Sandy Duchesne, birders extraordinaire.

Monday, September 23: Fall classes begin!! If you are a member and didn't get your catalog, call 992-0118. If you aren't a member, this is a great time to join up! Call that same number and leave your contact info.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Learning computers

Whether you want to learn computer basics or expand your existing skills, there are FREE classes in our area!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Fall classes

They're so intriguing that we're repeating the list of fall classes. As soon as we have days, times, and locations, we'll post them. So many choices! Here they are, in no particular order:

Buddhism and Mindfulness
Steve McKay, psychologist (not the weatherman/minister)

Readers Theatre
Mark Bilyk and Tellis Coolong. co-founders of True North Theater in Orono

The Merchant Marine Now and in the Future
Larry Wade, Mastermariner

Music of the Western World: A Survey
Dennis Cox, retired professor of music

Science Fiction for Grownups
Ruth Nadelhaft, retired professor of English

Bridge for Beginners
Lorraine Taylor, long-time player

The First European Settlement on St. Croix Island
Raymond Pelletier, retired French instructor

DNA for Beginners
Dee Virtue, retired biology teacher

Learning MORE about your IPhone/IPad (Advanced)
Ed Brazee, retired professor of education

Learn to Paint with Water Colors
David Whalen, art instructor

Respecting the Elders: Traditional Teachings Through Wabanaki Stories
John Bear Mitchell, lecturer in Wabanaki Studies

The Aging Brain Owner’s Manual
Dr. Cliff Singer, Chief of Geriatric Mental Health, EMMC, and Josh Bridges, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

While you're thinking longingly . . .

. . . about our fall classes (scroll down for the list), don't forget our One-Day Event on September 4. Summer visitors will have come and gone, Labor Day festivities will be over, and you'll definitely need something to get those brain cells going!

Highlights of the Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins:  The Woman Behind the New Deal

Presenter:  Michael Chaney

September 4, 2019

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Room 124 Eastport Hall
U Maine Augusta—Bangor

"Highlights of the Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins" is a 30-minute documentary presenting her Maine roots and early career, her contributions enacting the New Deal, her life through the letters of her solicitor general, Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr. and her programs for jobs, infrastructure and art in the New Deal.  Audience discussion will follow the documentary, which is accompanied by a six-panel traveling exhibition on Frances Perkins.

Michael Chaney is the Executive Director of the Frances Perkins Center, based in Newcastle with administrative offices and a public exhibit on Main Street in Damariscotta.  Chaney, a native of Alna, holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine-Orono and a Master’s in history from the University of Connecticut.  Before returning to Maine in 2010, Chaney’s career was in non-profit management and public history in Vermont and New Hampshire, including serving as President (2001-2009) and CEO of the New Hampshire Political Library, a non-profit educational organization founded to preserve New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.  From 2010 until earlier this year, Chaney was the Executive Director of the Yarmouth Historical Society.

To Register: PVSC members please call 992-0118 and leave your name, phone number, and email address. If you’d like to bring a guest, please register their information as well. Confirmations will be emailed approximately one week prior to the event.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Courses for fall: update

Our catalog is going to press soon, and we have the final course line-up for fall! Classes begin the week of September 23. 

Members can look for their catalogs in mid-August. Non-members can call 992-0118 to join up!

Buddhism and Mindfulness
Steve McKay, psychologist

Readers Theatre
Mark Bilyk and Tellis Coolong. co-founders of True North Theater in Orono

The Merchant Marine Now and in the Future
Larry Wade, Master mariner

Music of the Western World: A Survey
Dennis Cox, retired professor of music

Science Fiction for Grownups
Ruth Nadelhaft, retired professor of English

Bridge for Beginners
Lorraine Taylor, long-time player

The First European Settlement on St. Croix Island
Raymond Pelletier, retired French instructor

DNA for Beginners
Dee Virtue, retired biology teacher

Learning MORE about your IPhone/IPad (Advanced)
Ed Brazee, retired professor of education

Learn to Paint with Water Colors
David Whalen, art instructor

Respecting the Elders: Traditional Teachings Through Wabanaki Stories
John Bear Mitchell, lecturer in Wabanaki Studies

The Aging Brain Owner’s Manual
Dr. Cliff Singer, Chief of Geriatric Mental Health, EMMC, and Josh Bridges, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Supreme Court follow-up

A couple of weeks ago, Sol Goldman, popular explainer of the Supreme Court's current cases, held a special mini-class to recap the Spring 2019 Court session. Seniors got caught up on some landmark decisions, and shared insights with one another at the break.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Maine's Bicentennial

Our birthday is coming up! In 2020, it will be 200 years since Maine became a state.1820 was particularly important, because Maine came into the Union as part of the Missouri Compromise, an event that forever changed how the nation developed.

So two of our PVSC classes for fall will have a Maine connection: Native Elders and Their Stories, and First French Settlements in Maine (St. Croix Island). There will be more Maine topics in the spring.

And don't forget that there are a dozen other fascinating topics on deck for fall, from watercolor painting to bridge to DNA to Buddhism. Be sure you're a member so you get first dibs!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Supreme Court treat!

What was decided in this spring's Supreme Court session?

Sol Goldman teaches an extremely popular spring course on the Supreme Court, discussing key cases from each session as they happen.

As a summer treat, Sol has graciously agreed to offer a one-time follow-up to explain what decisions were made in those key cases, and why.

Y'all come! The event is open to anyone, so round up a friend or a carful and come to EMCC on July 9, 10:00-12:00. Follow the signs to Schoodic Hall and go to Mathieu Auditorium. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Classes for fall!

Hot off the presses: the tentative course line-up for fall! A few details remain, and there may be one or two added to the list, so stay tuned. But these fascinating topics are on tap:

Buddhism and Mindfulness
The Aging Brain Owner's Manual
DNA for Beginners
Water Color Painting for Beginners
Science Fiction: Ursula leGuin
The Merchant Marine Today and in the Future
Native Elders and Their StoriesMusic in the West
First French Settlements in Maine
Bridge for Beginners

Doesn't it all sound like fun? and intriguing? Just be sure you're enrolled for 2019-20; summer is the time to renew or join for the first time. For an application form, just click on the "Taking classes" tab above.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Upgrade your life!

Keeping that brain active is a good way to both enrich your life now and perhaps fend off mental decline later. And taking courses at PVSC is the perfect choice. See how much fun the folks to the left are having?!

Our wonderful Curriculum Committee is already putting a slate of very cool fall classes together, on topics from Buddhism to bridge. Stay tuned for details!

Meanwhile, if you're not a member, just click the "Taking classes" tab above for details and an application form. Send it in with your membership fee. Members get first crack at course choice, so do it now!

If you're already a member, be sure you've sent in your renewal. If you did, your 2019-20 membership card should have already arrived in your mailbox.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Summertime, and the learning is easy

Learning in the summer? Pshaw, you might say. Summer is for relaxation, getting to the coast, sipping lemonade on the deck at sunset. 

But learning happens anyway, maybe by accident, maybe by design. Summer, when the pace slows, is the perfect time to learn new stuff. 

Maybe you take a class. You start with our upcoming One-Day Event, and several offerings are available at nearby Senior Colleges. You don’t forget that seniors get free tuition at all Maine System campuses.

But it’s the more accidental learning that can be the most fun. Walking across unfamiliar land, wondering what rocks lie underfoot, can led us straight to the library to learn bout Maine geology. Wondering why that bird is behaving in such an odd way takes us to  friend who’s a birder, or to a film or book.  On a trip to the nursery for tomato plants, you see something new that leads to a whole exploration of orchids, or ivies, or hybridization. 

Best of all, perhaps, is having an explore of new territory: reading all the roadside signs, Googling the history of the place, asking questions of locals. 

Learning for fun and stimulation. Seniors are experts.  Attachment.png

Sunday, June 2, 2019

So much fun!

Summer is here, more or less. It's time to plant gardens, plan outdoor adventures, and drink lemonade. 

It's also time to renew or begin your membership in PVSC, so you can be sure to enjoy our terrific classes. Here are a few images from spring classes, to whet your appetite for fall.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Shutterbugs on the loose!

We asked our publicity committee and the classroom assistants--those wonderful folks who make sure each class runs smoothly--to haul out their cell phones the last week of classes. The results are pretty wonderful. Look at all these over-50s having a great time!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Beyond the end of the semester

Classes are ending. We're sad.

But don't forget the One-Day Event coming up, focusing on that major killer of our friends and colleagues, cardiovascular disease. Dr. John Kaiser will provide a ton of information of June 13, 1:00-4:00 in Eastport Hall on the UMA-Bangor campus. Bring a friend! Especially a friend who might be interested in joining us!

And don't forget to keep up with the Senior College Network. Some SCs have summer courses and activities. Read this month's newsletter at

And check out the SCs near us (Ellsworth, Belfast, Augusta). Find out more at

Monday, April 29, 2019

Winding down . . .

Alas, the spring courses are ending soon. It's been a rich and varied set of learning opportunities, everything from planning for one's own death to Maine shipping to documentary film. And our Curriculum Committee is hard at work planning an even more dynamic roster of classes for fall.

Meanwhile, we can keep on learning via One-Day Events and a special summer even in the works. Check the post below for details about your chance to learn about the #1 killer in the U.S.: cardiovascular diseases.

Mike Melochick, Director of the Bangor 
Historical Society, speaks to the
Bangor history class.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Mark your calendars!

Mark your calendars and think about a friend you can bring to an important talk. Cardiovascular disease is one of the plagues that can afflict those of us who are aging. Come and learn all about it at a One-Day Event June 13. Click on the image to enlarge.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Classes have begun!

Spring classes have started, and what a rich variety! We have everything from Bangor history and Maine literature to iPhone/iPad instruction to the nature of reality, and everything in between. Something for everyone!

And if you look closely at the course list, a theme emerges. Bangor history. Maine in the Civil War. Maine literature. Maine geology.

Why? Because we're beginning a walk toward 2020, when Maine will celebrate its bicentennial: 200 years since we became a state. Of course, plenty of folks were living here already in 1820, but they were citizens of Massachusetts. In 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise, Maine was created as a separate, non-slavery state, to balance the admission of Missouri as a slave state.

So stick around! Lots of interesting bicentennial events and information will be coming our way!

Friday, March 8, 2019

A life of service

From time to time, we profile a member. Our folks have led interesting lives! Check the "Notes" section on our Facebook page for earlier posts featuring some of our people. Meanwhile, enjoy Lin Lufkin's story:

Lin Lufkin, Vice President of Penobscot Valley Senior College, has led a life of service. Born in Levant, Maine, Lin and his lovely wife, Mabel, have raised 4 children and have been blessed with 10 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Lin is very involved in his church, the North Brewer/Eddington Methodist Church as well as being an active participant in the Bangor Rotary Club, the Habitat for Humanity, and our very own PVSC. In addition, Lin was an active duty member of the Army Corps of Engineers for 21 years, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Along the way, Lin graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Agricultural Engineering, later gaining a Master’s degree from Texas A&M in Civil Engineering and studying International Relations at the Army’s War College in Carlisle, PA. During his time with the Corps of Engineers, Lin participated in the dewatering of the Eisenhower Lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway, studying the structural integrity of its walls. He was part of a team, in 1969 that diverted the water from the American Falls at Niagara to the Horseshoe Falls, so that the Corps of Engineers could study the riverbed and the faults, and stabilize points being affected by hydraulic pressure.

During his military career, Lin was stationed for a time in Germany, was part of the First Calvary Division in Vietnam, and also was stationed at the Pentagon.  Following Lin’s retirement from the Army, he went to work for the Cianbro Corp in Pittsfield, Me., building bridges. He later joined Nickerson & O’Day of Brewer. With them he participated in some of the memorable projects in our area, including the expansion of the Bangor Public Library, the Buchanan Alumni House in Orono, and the innovative Camden Library addition, constructed completely underground.

Now retired, Lin volunteers many hours per week with Habitat for Humanity, an organization that has built over 20 houses in our area, Lin Lufkin is indeed a man of service! We are so fortunate to have him serve as our Vice President of Penobscot Valley Senior College.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Help wanted!

Two wild and crazy requests:

Can anyone volunteer to teach ukelele?

Can anyone volunteer experienced grant-writing skills?

If either of these appeal to you, please fill out the "Email Us" form on the right and give us your contact info. We have a project in mind that might be great fun!

Meanwhile, don't forget to get on board the wonderful spring course selection. The catalog is at

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Spring course catalog!

An exciting array of courses is on offer for spring. Classes begin the week of March 25, so if you're not a member, now's the time to get involved! Remember: no requirements, no tests, no homework (well, maybe a little reading in literature classes). Nothing but learning for fun and stimulation.

So come on along! The catalog is online at

If you're not a member, the application form is at

Unfortunately, we can't yet take online applications or registrations, but you can print the forms out or call 992-0118 and leave a message. The friendly folks at Eastern Area Agency on Aging, who handle our registrations, will get back to you promptly.

Y'all come!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

All about Islam

Could there be a more timely topic? Here's a chance to learn about Islam right here at home, from the wonderful folks at the Islamic Center in Orono. It's open to all and free.

Click the image for a larger view.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Learn about UTC!

There's a fascinating school right here in Bangor. Now's your chance to learn more about this wonderful place and see some technology and courses we'll bet you didn't know existed. SIGN UP NOW to be sure there's a place for you! (Click on it to enlarge the poster.)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Spring classes!

Enough teasing! We've given hints about spring classes, which begin the week of March 25. Here's a full list of great course titles. The compete catalog, with times and locations, will be in the mail soon to members.

If you're not a member, this is a great time to join, but you can also get a catalog if you're on our mailing list. Just call 992-0118 to be sure you get a catalog.

Sol Goldman: The Current Supreme Court Term

Bob Tredwell: The Nature of Reality and Other Matters

Capt. Charles Weeks: The Business of Shipping

Judy Hakola: Maine Behind the Postcards: Maine Writers Offer Another View

Steve Norton: Maine’s Geology 

Ned and Diane Smith: Maine in the Civil War

Kal Elmore: Sketchbook/Journaling : Fun and Easy
Judy Tredwell: Not If, But When….
Ed Brazee: Getting the Most out of Your IPhone/IPad: beginner and advanced classes
Lisa Feldman: Thistle, Shamrock and Rose: Folk Music of England, Scotland and Ireland
Tom McCord: The Republic of Bangor: Six New Views of a Small City’s History
Michael Grillo: Documentary Film
Hal Borns: Global Warming: Causes and Effects

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Film class

Add a film class to our list of hints about spring courses. Yes, but what kind of film? ? ?

Stay tuned for a comprehensive list of topics!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Spring classes: hints

Our spring catalog isn't out yet, so we're giving hints about courses that will be offered. So far we've mentioned granite, ships, Bangor, reality, death, global warming, Maine writing (did you guess those in the posts below?), and thistle/shamrock/rose.

Today's hint: writing and art: doing both in a smallish, personal way. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Another hint

Today's hint about our spring course lineup. It's a follow-up to a course and One-Day Event that were very popular:

For more hints, just scroll down to earlier blog posts.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Courses coming up

We've been doing a series of hints about spring course titles. Hints so far include the concrete--granite, ships, Bangor--the more abstract--reality, death--and something that defies categories: thistle/shamrock/rose.

Moving on, do you recognize this?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Spring classes are coming!

It's cold. It's winter. But March is coming, and with it comes our wonderful new batch of classes!

We're giving hints to tide you over until the catalogs are mailed. They're about to go to the printer. 


Think about granite. Ships. Bangor. Reality. Death. If that's not variety, we don't know what is. Add in a little something about thistle-shamrock-rose. 

Intrigued? Stay tuned for more hints!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Spring classes!

It's time for some hints about upcoming classes. 

Think about granite . . . ships . . .reality . . . death . . .

Stay tuned for more about our great spring courses!