Winter Wisdom available weekly at Brunswick library

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BRUNSWICK — Midcoast Senior College for 16 years has been bridging the gap between fall and spring semesters, while feeding minds and bodies.

The Wednesday afternoon Winter Wisdom program, which runs through Feb. 20, provides “an intellectual venue that people can enjoy during their luncheon breaks,” program committee member Stu Gillespie said in an interview Monday. “… People bring their bag lunches, and sit and take in a lecture.”

Prior to the series’ launch in 2003, “there was just nothing going on (in January and February), and people kept saying, ‘couldn’t we have something?'” Gillespie said.

One or two offerings at the start have grown to six or seven. A summer wisdom series now bridges the months between the nonprofit college’s spring and fall classes, too.

The free, public lectures take place at Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant St., from 12:15-1:45 p.m., and are sponsored by the  Highlands senior living community in Topsham. Log onto midcoastseniorcollege.org/winter-wisdom, call 725-4900, or email mscoffice@midcoastseniorcollege.org for more information.

This year’s program began with insights into the life and music of “Johannes Brahms, ‘The Young Eagle,'” led by George Lopez, the Beckwith artist-in-residence at Bowdoin College.

“Action Plan for Terrorism” follows Jan. 16, when Francis Dillon, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, will delve into six actions to help the country, region and community protect itself.

“The Uncertain State of U.S.-Cuba Relations” is on tap for Jan. 23. Allen Wells, emeritus history professor at Bowdoin College, will discuss how President Trump’s discontinuation of normalizing relations with Cuba has raised questions about the future of relations between the longtime adversaries.

Ivy Frignoca, Casco baykeeper with Friends of Casco Bay in South Portland, on Jan. 30 will discuss “A Changing Casco Bay: An Update on the Health of our Coastal Waters.” She will look at efforts to reduce pollution in the bay, as well as ocean acidification and climate change, and ways to help the bay adapt to changing conditions.

“Greece Before the Odyssey: Myth and Realities,” follows on Feb. 6. Cynthia Shelmerdine – professor emerita at the University of Texas at Austin and a research associate in classics at Bowdoin College – will talk about the Bronze Age in Greek history, from the 1939 discovery of King Nestor’s palace in southwestern Greece in 1939, to ongoing excavations in Iklaina, one of the towns within his kingdom.

Feb. 13 brings history back home in “Twice A Day Island: The Peterson Canal at New Meadows.” Built by hand in the 1790s in order to connect the New Meadows River with Merrymeeting Bay, the sometimes-dubbed “canal to nowhere” allowed logs cut along the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers to be transported to sawmills on the New Meadows River.

Brenda Cummings and Timothy Richter, who serve on the boards of Phippsburg Land Trust and Bath Historical Society, will lead the talk.

“Longfellow Leading the Way,” a discourse on the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, will conclude this year’s series Feb. 20. John Babin – author and visitor services manager for Maine Historical Society’s Wadsworth-Longfellow House – will discuss many published poets that Longfellow and his work inspired. John Babin is the visitor services manager at Maine Historical Society.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.