Dear Sun Spots: Hoping you could help me once again. I am looking for anyone in the area who makes neck wraps and back wraps that are usually filled with rice or beans or flax seed and aromatic herbs that you can put in the microwave to heat for neck and back relief. If anyone can assist me, would you please give me a call at 740-4388. I have pictures available of what I’m looking for if that would help. Thank you! – No Name, Lewiston.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, Sun Spots also used to have one of these “rice bags” for back pain relief. It came from the Nezinscot Farm Store, 284 Turner Center Road in Turner. Owner Gloria Varney said they do have some available.

Also check out, a Web site for these products handmade by two women in the Waterville area. They offer neck, knee, eye, elbow and wrist wraps, as well as hand mitts and slippers designed to hold a contoured rice bag in them. Each bag is filled with rice and lavender, known for its ability to calm and soothe tension. They use organically grown and processed herbs in their rice bags. Please note that these are for comfort only, and are not meant to cure any pain. Contact Colleen or Francine with any questions you may have, 873-1954 or 873-6144.

Alternately, if you’d like to try making your own, here’s an easy method: Take a 10-inch square piece of cotton material, fold it in half with the material inside out, and sew one short end and up the long sides. Turn rightside out. This makes a little sack to which you add about 1¾ cups uncooked long grain white rice; do not use minute rice. Then, turn in the seam on the remaining open end and finish with sewing across it, locking your stitches so the rice can’t get out.

To make a pillowcase to put the rice bag in, take another cotton square cut a little bigger, about 10½ by 11½ inches. Sew up this piece like you did the sack only finish off the open end like on a pillowcase on your bed. This will be what can get washed if it gets soiled. Don’t wash the actual rice bag.

These rice bags can be tossed in the microwave and heated for a few minutes and are wonderful because they mold to your body. Rather then giving off a dry heat, they offer a nice warm mist heat to help soothe your aches.

Dear Sun Spots: REACH, the Rape Education and Crisis Helpline serving Oxford county, Harrison and Bridgton, is currently running a support group. At the July 23 meeting, we will be discussing “Animal Powers,” and how connecting with animals can be helpful in the healing process. For an activity we will be doing, we need National Geographic magazines, or other magazines with lifelike, quality pictures of animals. If anyone has magazines of this type and is willing to donate them to REACH to use, please call our office at 743-9777. – Debbie Dembski, Executive Director.

Dear Sun Spots: The East Monmouth Methodist Church, Route 135 is having a Christmas in July sale Saturday July 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is yard space available for crafters for $10 (please bring table). Lobster rolls and hot dogs will be available for sale. Inside or take out. Free balloons for children under 10. For details call Geneva Bates 933-2830. – Geneva, Monmouth.

Dear Sun Spots: Can you tell me where in Newry the inn is located where the murders involving Christian Neilson took place? Is the inn still in business? Thank you. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: The Black Bear Bed and Breakfast is on Sunday River Road in Newry, about 2.5 miles from Sunday River. It is no longer in business.

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