DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am looking for someone/someplace that sells suet (ground up) so I can make my great-grandmother’s Scottish plum pudding. The recipe calls for two cups suet, and I can only find suet available at times in big chunks. The larger grocery stores said they do not grind it.
Also I am looking for a bank that sells the gold presidential dollar coins. Our credit union stopped selling them a while ago, and we like to use them for gifts to grandkids and tips. Also, do they charge a service fee for this? Thanks. — S. Mathews, Auburn
ANSWER: Sun Spots has also recently asked the meat department in Hannaford to grind up meat and was told that after the tainted meat incidents, they no longer routinely do that for customers.
Sun Spots thinks that local butchers must still grind meat, and thus suet. Hopefully they will write in and offer that service.
Another option is to buy chunks of suet and grind it up in your food processor, if you have one. If not, maybe a friend would do it for you.
As for the presidential dollars, Sun Spots addressed this question in March, when the U.S. Mint first changed the dollar coin program. Here is what she wrote then:
Unfortunately, few people share your interest in the presidential dollars. Because not enough people were collecting or using these coins, more than a billion dollars worth of them ended up sitting in U.S. Treasury vaults.
The Planet Money team on National Public Radio (http://tinyurl.com/3ef4yp3) helped bring the cost of minting and then storing the unwanted coins to the government's attention last year. As the Planet Money team noted, there are not a lot of fans for Millard Fillmore and other less-well-known presidents, and people say they don't like using dollar coins because they are too heavy.
So in December the U.S. Treasury announced it was suspending production of most of the coins, with just a small number produced for collectors such as yourself.
When Sun Spots wrote about this in March, www.usmint.gov said that you should be able to order the coins from your bank. But she double-checked and found that you can now buy the coins directly at www.usmint.gov (exact site: http://tinyurl.com/2eesc2). Customer service phone number is 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
There is a shipping and handling fee.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: The United New Auburn Association wishes to thank our community for the awesome outpouring of generosity after the extensive vandalism of the holiday decorations at Sullivan Square Dec. 9 and 10. We have received donations of decorations and monies that have been and will be used to replace the damaged items. Sullivan Square twinkles again!
Please drive, bike or walk by and visit the little park in New Auburn. Sullivan Square is a wonderful welcome to our New Auburn area, and almost every lighted ornament on display was donated by our community at large after the vandalism. Again, thank you, thank you ! — Kathy Shaw for all the members of UNAA
ANSWER: Reporter Scott Taylor wrote about both the vandalism and the subsequent generosity in the Sun Journal. You can read those stories at sunjournal.com (vandalism: http://tinyurl.com/c3eegzm; decorations donated: http://tinyurl.com/cgvbdrl).
NOTE TO READERS: Many of you were kind enough send Sun Spots questions in the last couple of weeks. However, many of them require her to contact various government officials. As you can imagine, this is fairly difficult over the holidays. So if you don't see an answer to your question, take heart, they will appear after the first of the year.
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