Dear Sun Spots: Could somebody help me figure out ozone? I hate to stay in the house on a nice day, but if there’s ozone it just knocks me out! Is “humidity” ozone? Is “muggy” ozone? Is humidity “muggy”? I’m not learning much from the weather channel. Thanks a lot. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots corresponded with Martha Webster, air quality meteorologist for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, who provided lots of information on ozone. Ozone is a pollutant that impacts the lungs and heart. It is a photochemical pollutant, which means it is not emitted directly, but forms in strong sunlight from other chemical reactions and is only a problem in Maine during the summer months. Ozone season starts in late March or early April and continues through the end of September or into October. Most of Maine’s ozone problem is due to what is transported into the state.

She pointed out that this summer has been a very ‘clean’ summer for ozone; with only three days when ozone exceeded the new ozone standard. Mugginess is when the air is warm and humid and many people feel draggy on such days. This is due to how much humidity is in the air and has nothing to do with ozone. Since we’ve had fewer days when ozone was a problem and many days when rain was a problem she suspects that you are probably not reacting to ozone.

Maine DEP issues air quality forecasts every day of the year. They forecast ozone and particle pollution. They participate with the Environmental Protection Agency and submit the forecast electronically to EPA’s AIRNOW Web site. In turn the EPA collects all the forecasts from each state and sends them on to the weather providers.

Their forecasts use the Air Quality Index (AQI). Each category on the AQI has a specific health message associated with it. You can find the forecast and out learn more about the AQI on the air quality Web pages at http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/. You can also call the air quality hotline at (800) 223-1196 for the daily forecast.

Webster suggests that you pay attention to the air quality forecast and the reports of how much humidity is in the air to discover which is really causing the problem. When air quality is poor she suggests that people cut back on strenuous exercise, but notes that you should still be able to enjoy the fine weather.

Dear Sun Spots: I am hoping you can help me locate and contact Mrs. Seymour (though I’m not sure that’s exactly how she spelled her name). She was my teacher at Bowdoin Central School back in 1974. Fifth grade, I believe. She shared the teaching day with Mr. Foster, who was also the principal of the school at the time. She was one of those teachers you just never forget and I’ve often wondered how she is doing. Thank you for your help! – Barbara, Lewiston.

Answer:
We corresponded with a member of the Bowdoin Central School staff, who has been employed with the school for 15 years, but did not work with her. He told us her first name is Josie and will check with veteran teachers to see if they might know of her whereabouts. Sun Spots will keep you informed, but in the meantime, perhaps other readers will be able to share some information with you.

Dear Sun Spots: Cub Scouts Pack 110 in Sabattus-Wales is looking for adventurous boys in grades one to five. To learn more about our Pack or to sign up, join us at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the American Legion Hall on Island Road in Sabattus. Call Cubmaster Robert Michaud at 513-1122 or visit www.mainepack110.org to learn more. – Robert, Wales.

Dear Sun Spots: A big thanks to the gentleman who donated a chain saw after reading the article last week about my friend Lawrence who was robbed the week before. This act of kindness will be a huge help to him. I’m going to drop it off to him today. I apologize for not knowing the name of the man who donated it. I was unavailable when he delivered it, but he knows who he is. Thanks again so much! – Jeanne, No Town.

Answer: That’s great news! Sun Spots is always touched by the generosity of our readers.

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). 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 posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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