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Course Schedules

2019 Winter Intersession Schedule

Free and Open to the Public

The 2019 Winter Intersession, given between semesters, offers to retirees and those semi-retired, a sample of LIRA’s almost year- round program and friendly community. The program is planned and much of it provided by the members themselves. Visitors are cordially invited to attend any and all intersession programs.

  • All intersession programs are 10 a.m. – Noon except January 31, which will be a bus trip
  • The programs will be held in University Suites, Room #106, 327 Perkins Street, Lowell, MA. Please enter University Suites from the Perkins Street side of the building.
  • For visitors, on street parking for $1.50/hour is also available in metered spaces on each side of University Suites.
  • LIRA members may park at the East Parking Garage directly across the street from the Rec. Center or in the Perkins Parking lot. Your ID is needed to enter the garage or lot. Please use your parking hang-tags wherever you park.

December 12, 2018

Book Discussion 10 a.m. to Noon, "The Cloister," fiction by James Carroll
Coordinator - Toby Hodes*

January 9, 2019

On the Road with #45 - Jonathan Lemire, AP White House Reporter
Note: The location for this class will be in O'Leary Library Room 222

White House Reporter and MSNBC Political Analyst will talk about his career in Journalism – first as a reporter for the NY Daily News covering 9/11, crime and politics in New York City, then as a White House reporter for the Associated Press. Jonathan traveled with candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign and was in the AP offices in Washington, DC when the AP called the Presidential election for Donald Trump in the wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016. Since then, in addition to writing about the daily events at the White House, Jonathan has traveled with President Trump to Europe, Asia and the Middle East and received attention for his news conference questions to Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin at their 2018 summit in Helsinki, Finland. Jonathan will also share his experiences as a political analyst for MSNBC where he appears regularly on “Morning Joe,” “Deadline White House,” and “The 11th Hour.” 
Coordinator: Susan Lemire*

January 16

Our Liberian Journey - David Penfield and Becky Bronson
Join us for an account of our trip to Liberia last spring to visit our son, Andy, who is a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching High School math and physics in a remote Liberian village. We spent a week with Andy at his site (staying with him in his little house with no running water and no electricity) and a week in the village of another friend, and learned so much about this incredible country. The trip was certainly eye-opening for us, and in this presentation we share our insights into Liberian life with you! 
Coordinator: Jean Rubinstein*

January 16

Book Discussion 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
American Pastoral, fiction by Philip Roth
Coordinator - Toby Hodes* 

January 23

Elders Climate Action of MAClimate Change: What We’re Up Against and What You Can Do About It
Rick Lent, Ph.D. and Grady McGonagill, Ed.D.
The devastating impact of climate change is increasingly evident, yet many of us do little to address it. This does not reflect a lack of concern but rather a lack of understanding of what can be done to make a meaningful difference. After briefly reviewing examples of the damage already done by global warming, we will engage in a conversation grounded in hope around what we can do to address this enormous threat. Specifically, we will consider seven action steps most people could take, even with small amounts of time.
Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

January 30

New Directions/New Authors in Mystery and Detective Fiction -Melissa Pennell
Many people have favorite writers of long standing in mystery and detective fiction, but the genre is ever-changing and new writers regularly introduce a detective and/or series that soon becomes another fan favorite. This presentation will look at the work of some of these authors and their additions to the field, as well as mentioning some new releases by old favorites. 
Coordinator: Sally Coulter*

Thursday January 31 - BONUS EVENT

Trip to Peabody Essex Museum
On Thursday, January 31 LIRA will travel by bus to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. where we will have a guided tour of the Empresses of the Forbidden City exhibit. This is the first international exhibition to explore the role of empresses in shaping China’s last dynasty––the Qing dynasty, from 1644 to 1912. Nearly 200 spectacular works of art from the Palace Museum, Beijing (known as the Forbidden City), tell the little-known stories of how imperial women lived and engaged with court politics, religion, and art. After the tour, you are on your own to explore the museum’s vast collection.

The cost is $30 for LIRA members and $35 for non-members. This includes the bus, admission to the Museum and the cost for the guided tour. Please note that we must pay the full admission price and forgo the use of Library Passes, MTA cards, PEM comp passes or PEM memberships in order to qualify for the guided tour. Please also note that our admission does not include entry to the Yin Yu Tang Chinese House. Admission to this is available at the museum for an additional $6.
Our bus will leave Hannaford’s Parking lot in Chelmsford at 9 a.m. and leave the Museum for the return trip home at 2 p.m. Lunch is available for purchase at the Museum’s Atrium Café as well as in restaurants in the surrounding area or you can bring your own.
Please send checks payable to “LIRA, Inc.” to Bob Hanlon, 255 North Road, Unit 37, Chelmsford, MA 01824. Checks must be received by Wednesday, January 23.
Coordinator: Bob Hanlon*

February 6

Pluto's Amazing Story - J. Kelly Beatty
In July 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto after a 9½-year-flight. The historic encounter has been 85 years in the making, ever since 24-year-old Clyde Tombaugh discovered this enigmatic body at the edge of our planetary system. Today we realize that Pluto is among the largest objects in the Kuiper Belt, even though initially it was believed to be a body perhaps as massive as Earth. Join veteran space-science reporter Kelly Beatty as he traces the history of Pluto — from predictions of its existence to the discovery of its moons to its “demotion” to dwarf-planet status. Then take a tour of what New Horizons has revealed about Pluto and Charon — truly the “odd couple” of our solar system — and an even-more-distant object (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”) that the spacecraft will visit on New Year’s Day 2019. 
Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

February 13

A Man of the People? Ben Butler and Labor's Cause 1840 – 1890 - Robert Forrant
Often lost in the story of Benjamin Butler, scourge of the South and thorn in the side of Massachusetts Republicans, is his standing with the Commonwealth's workers and workers on a national scale. This talk will look into the often untold story of Ben Butler and the working class. 
Coordinator: Bev Rudeen*

February 20

The Traveling Librarian Goes to Istanbul - Jeff Klapes
Jeff Klapes, Head of References Services at Beebe Library in Wakefield, will take you on an armchair travel presentation to the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Istanbul. Straddling Europe and Asia, both literally and figuratively, the largest city in Turkey has a long history going back more than 2,500 years. With influences from several empires, including the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman, Istanbul has a rich cultural and architectural heritage that makes it one of the most fascinating cities in the world for travelers.
Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

February 20

Book Discussion 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
The Soul of America: the Battle for our Better Angels, non-fiction by Jon Meacham
Coordinator - Toby Hodes* 

February 27

Chateau Lydia: Adventures in Wine Making in New England - Bob Gamache
Wine enthusiast Bob Gamache’s hope in 2004 was to produce some fine Burgundian style wine in his small vineyard in Dunstable, MA. After all, it’s at almost the same latitude as the renowned vineyards of Dijon, France. He started with 100 vines, half Pinot Noir and half Merlot. Fast forward 14 years after much trial and error, and take an armchair trip to Chateau Lydia, now planted with a mix of Frontenac and Marquette vines. Learn about the wine making process: from the planting of the vineyard, the spring-summer work, to harvest and pressing .in late summer-early autumn, and finally to the cellar.
Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

* Denotes LIRA member.

Book Discussion Group Selections

Every month the Book Discussion group reads and discusses a variety of books, including sociological studies, memoirs and biographies, political histories and fiction, including the classics. The selections for this session are listed below. Meetings will be held at University Suites, Room #106A, 327 Aiken Street, Lowell, MA.

Winter 2019

Book Discussions

Facilitator: Toby Hodes, LIRA member
3 Wednesdays:

  • December 12, 2018: 10 a.m. to Noon The Cloister, fiction by James Carroll
  • January 16, 2019: 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. American Pastoral, fiction by Phillip Roth
  • February 20, 2019: 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. The Soul of America: the Battle for our Better Angels, non-fiction by Jon Meacham