Dear Sun Spots: Can you find out why Wal-Mart allows people to open sealed food containers and eat most of the contents without paying? I observed an elderly lady in a blue coat crack open a sealed container of peanuts and just stood in full view of everyone eating the contents. After having consumed about a third of the container, her husband, I assume, came along and gave her a large cream-filled doughnut, which was probably “stolen” from a container in the bakery section. I may be from “the old school” but this sure seems like stealing to me. Can you find out why this is allowed? I am sure Wal-Mart must raise the price of items to make up for these thieves. – No name, no town.

Sun Spots contacted two members of the Wal-Mart Media Relations Department who chose not to comment on this issue. Some people would agree this is stealing, others see no problem with opening a package of crackers or peanuts and eating a portion of them while grocery shopping. These items can be paid for at the checkout, and hopefully these people plan on paying for the items. Items that are sold by weight, such as produce, can’t be tracked so if it’s eaten before the customer gets to the register, it can’t be paid for. As a customer, it might be worth asking the store manager if they have a policy on this.

Dear Sun Spots: I have three totally unconnected requests for help with tracking down information about people and/or companies who provide the following services in the greater Lewiston-Auburn area.

1. I have some cast iron patio furniture that belonged to my parents. Over the years it has had multiple coats of paint. It has been left outside over many winters and I now think that it needs some rehabilitation such as having the paint stripped off, the underlying iron cleaned, sanded and then repainted, hopefully with waterproof or water resistant paint. Is there anyone in this area who does this?

2. I have some sterling silver cutlery that has been damaged. Typically it is the spoon bowl and/or the fork tines. I would like to know if anyone in this area can either repair the damaged parts, or make jewelry out of the non-damaged parts?

3. Does anyone or any place in the area offer pool lessons for absolute beginners? Any help that you can provide will be very much appreciated. – Andrea, Lewiston.

In response to your first request, contact Tom Levasseur, owner of Bix Furniture Strippers, 357 Main St., Auburn, 783-3459. He can do the stripping, and will help direct you to the company that can sandblast and repaint your furniture. He can be reached from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In addition to responses from readers regarding your cutlery needs, speak with Alfred at Jewelry by Alfred, 770 Main St., Lewiston, 782-7206. Alfred said he can assist with the repairs, depending on the extent of the damage. He can also turn your cutlery into jewelry. He pointed out that sometimes it is less expensive to create a piece of jewelry rather than pay for repairs, as the repairs can be time consuming. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Sun Spots spoke with David Lebel, owner of Schemengee’s Billiards, 553 Lincoln St., Lewiston. Lebel is certified through the Billiard Congress of America, the Valley National 8-Ball Association and is also Monk certified. He’s received training in Las Vegas and is available to train levels from beginner to semi-pro. Schemengee’s is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week; he can be reached there at 777-1155.

Dear Sun Spots: For the person who needs a man’s mitten made with an old sweater (Sun Spots, Dec. 30), I knit double mittens in any size or color. Call 784-3930. – No Name, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: I would like the address of the “Today” show on NBC, attention Matt Lauer. Also, I would like Oprah’s address. Thanks Sun Spots for all you do. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: Write to Lauer in care of “Today”, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112. According to his biography, Lauer has been co-anchor of the show since Jan. 6, 1997, and he joined it in January 1994 as news anchor. Since 1998, he has broadcast live from remote locations around the world for the “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” annual trip. Some locations include the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Grand Canal in Venice, the Parthenon in Athens, the Taj Mahal in India and Mount Everest.

A spokesperson for Oprah Winfrey said the “The Oprah Winfrey Show” no longer accepts unsolicited mail. The best way to contact Oprah or a member of her staff is to use the “e-mail us” link from the home page. You could try to contact Winfrey in care of Harpo Productions, PO Box 909715, Chicago, IL 60690.

This column is for you, our readers. There are 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 or e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]

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