DEAR SUN SPOTS: Calling all storytellers! The BookReach program is seeking dedicated volunteers to spend up to an hour of their time every one to two weeks reading to children.
Sponsored by both the Lewiston and Auburn libraries, BookReach is dedicated to fostering a love of books in our youngest readers and bringing quality children’s literature into local family childcare homes.
After a brief orientation at the library, a volunteer is matched up with a nearby child care provider. Using a bag of preselected books, the volunteer conducts a 20- to 30-minute story time at the provider’s location every one to two weeks.
This is a great opportunity for people who enjoy working with children and children’s literature.
For more information, please call or email me. — Kara Reiman, Lewiston Public Library, 513-3004, ext. 3515, firstname.lastname@example.org
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I like to see the stories in the Sun Journal of people helping each other, such as running to help a child with cancer or going to a bean supper to help a burn victim. There are so many wonderful organizations.
But now I wonder. The people that work on the roads to cut down trees. Why don't they donate the wood to people who need to get warm in the winter? That would be great, to keep children in a warm house all winter.
They could also use the scrap to make little birdhouses for the needy children so they could have some birds to watch.
Thank you so much. — Lucille, Auburn
ANSWER: Sun Spots thinks you have a very good heart. She, too, would like to see leftover wood used wisely, but there are several issues to consider.
For one thing, there is not just one group that is trimming trees. Sometimes it is local government or, as with a recent letter in the column, a lake association doing the work. In that case, the wood was sold to fund the work of maintaining the water quality of Lake Auburn, which provides drinking water for residents of Lewiston-Auburn.
Sometimes it is contractors for Central Maine Power trimming to protect power lines. In that instance, much of their work is on private land, so that wood belongs to the landowners, not CMP.
Another issue is the quality of the wood itself. If trees along a roadway are being trimmed, there is a variety of both soft- and hard-wood trees. Also, much of the wood is small branches, which are less useful. Although some contractors do toss the small stuff into chippers. The chipped wood can then be burned in special furnaces or used for fill or mulch.
There are also legal issues to consider. If you cut down trees on your land and offer the wood for free, you may actually be liable if the person gets hurt while cutting up the tree on your property.
Lastly, handling wood is time-consuming, heavy work, and often those most in need of help keeping warm may not be up to the task.
As for making birdhouses out of scrap from building projects, that is a good idea. Someone could certainly start a charity to build birdhouses and feeders, then sell them and raise money for needy children. Plenty of talented home woodworkers would probably welcome the chance to volunteer their skills.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I went all through high school with a best friend named Lissa Holman. We graduated in 1969, and I have not seen or heard from her since.
I so loved our friendship and have looked for her year after year. I believe her father's name is Richard and her mom — I believe her name was Marjorie — passed away when we were in school. This all took place in Jay.
I am so lonesome for my friend and hope any of your readers can find a clue for me as to where she might be. When I felt all alone in the world, Lissa was there for me. Thank you for any help you might provide for me and a possible reunion. — Bernie Dalot, email@example.com
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.