Snowbanks block view of traffic


DEAR SUN SPOTS: Every year I have to call the Maine Department of Transportation about snowbanks that obstruct oncoming traffic on Phil O Mar onto Washington Street. The banks are so high at the corner of Phil O Mar and Washington Street that we can’t see oncoming traffic without getting right out there in the traffic.

I know the Maine DOT cut back the snowbanks when we have a thaw, but what can be done about private businesses doing theirs? This is definitely a motorist safety hazard.

I have kept an eye on other sites, and this is the only place I see a problem on my way to and from work. Can something be done without me calling the DOT every year? — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots called the business in question, where the owner told her that the snowbanks are not from his parking lot.

It turns out that Phil O Mar is key to both the city and the state when it comes to plowing, as the city plows from Phil O Mar into town, while the state does from Phil O Mar out. He said that the both entities use Phil O Mar to reverse direction and plow the road going the other direction.

Sun Spots emailed Auburn Public Works, and information assistant Tracy Pinkham wrote back that her advice would be to “contact the Public Services Department at 333-6670 or via email at [email protected] We can evaluate the location and contact the appropriate party.”

Sun Spots knows of no easy notification method. While it may seem like a chore to call, government cannot be everywhere all the time. As citizens it behooves us to keep an eye out and let the proper officials know when something needs their attention.

It has been a difficult winter for Public Works crews all over the state, and it looks like they are about to be challenged again!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I wrote to you in mid-2013 asking for help locating music CDs of a long-deceased singer named Keith Whitley. I wanted to find them to give to a dear friend who loved his music long ago and was wishing she could hear him singing again.

Thanks to you and an anonymous “Peter” from the Lewiston area who belonged to a swap-CD group, I received CDs from Colorado, Arizona and Ohio — and amazingly no duplications — and my friend had a most precious gift at Christmas.

She and I both thank you for making that possible.

I now have another request. The Lufthansa aircraft people have been restoring an old Lockheed Constellation aircraft at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport. Several years ago a group from the local historical society in Minot was invited to tour and see the inside of the stripped-down craft that was to be restored at the time. Their target date was Oct. 10 for the completion of that restoration.

A picture of another retiring 747 being flown over the airport appeared Jan. 16 in the Sun Journal, with a caption leading me to believe the old Constellation has not yet left the local restoration facility.

Can you find out the current status of that restoration project, what its current projected completion/first flight date may now be and how one can be sure to know when the plane leaves the runway, as I’d very much like to be there to see it take off.

Perhaps a reporter can take on this query and a follow-up story can appear in the paper? Thank you for whatever you can find out for me. Thank you for all your hard work and especially for “being there” for all of us who have questions needing answers. — Virginia Labbe, South Paris

ANSWER: Sun Spots contacted the Lufthansa project and was told that the plane is still at the airport and that while they have a projected completion date they are not releasing that information. 

However, have no fear about missing this event. It will undoubtedly be highly publicized and appear prominently in the Sun Journal.

Reporter Scott Taylor and Chief Photographer Russ Dillingham have both written about the Constellation (see for a photo of the inside of the plane) and will not let it take off without their being there to see it!

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