Dear Sun Spots: I was wondering if you could find out for me, on the show “Extreme Makeover,” who pays for the taxes on these new homes after they are built? The people who get these homes can’t even afford to fix their homes; how can they afford high taxes on new homes?

Also, I was wondering if Rob Caldwell and Pat Callaghan of Channel 6 have any kids? I never hear them talk about any like the other anchors do. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots did not receive a reply from the producers of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” but the topic was explored in a 2004 article by staff writer Roger M. Showley of The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. It is unclear whether or not the makeover recipients are responsible for higher property taxes.

Showley referred to an article in Newsweek magazine that reported “that documents it obtained indicate that the producers told participating families they should face no income tax consequences” since the families in the program are “renting” their houses to the production company during the renovation period.

The article states that there is a tax provision that allows homes to be rented “for less than 15 days a year with no tax consequences, and with improvements voluntarily made during that period by the tenant considered to have no value to the owner.”

We also found some updates on the “Extreme Makeover” site where families have noted that they received help with mortgage and tax payments through fundraising done during the renovation.

In response to your second question, Rob Caldwell has no children and Pat Callaghan has two grown children, a son and a daughter.

Dear Sun Spots: The Auburn Middle School Drama Club is putting on a play this spring that is full of wonderful characters who need some wonderful costumes. If anyone has any long, flowy dresses (especially ballroom dance dresses or prom or bridesmaid dresses) of any color, we would happily accept any donations.


Start your spring cleaning by donating all those old, unusual, bizarre and wonderful clothes to a local theater program. Most helpful are dresses of any kind, small men’s suits, and unusual hats, shoes and accessories. Please contact Liz at 653-5325 or leave any donations in the office at Auburn Middle School.

We also will need four long fishing rods (no accessories needed) and a decent looking overstuffed living room chair. Please leave your name and address with your donation. Thanks so much for your help! – Liz Rollins, director, Music and Theater, AMS.


Dear Sun Spots: On April 3, Martha Stewart had a guest on who made a fish dish. It was called gefilte fish, eaten on Passover.

It was cooked on a mold and had carrots in the recipe. It was to be on the computer. However, I don’t have one. Could you try to obtain this recipe? What would we all do without the help you offer us?

Thank you for helping once again. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots located the following recipe on Martha Stewart’s Web site for “Gefilte Fish Pate.” The recipe is from Joan Nathan’s “Jewish Cooking in America.” It serves about 20 as an appetizer.

Ingredients: 3 tablespoons vegetable oil; 4 medium sweet onions (about 2 pounds), peeled and chopped; 1½ pounds whitefish fillet, bones removed, finely ground; 1½ pounds pike fillet, bones removed, finely ground; 4 large eggs; 2 cups cold water; 6 tablespoons matzah meal; 1 tablespoon coarse salt; 2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper; 2 tablespoons sugar; 2 large carrots, peeled and grated; fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish; red horseradish, for serving; white horseradish, for serving.

Method: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Remove from heat and let cool. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine fish, cooled onions, eggs, water, matzah meal, salt, pepper, and sugar. Beat on medium speed for 15 minutes. Add grated carrots and mix until well combined.

Transfer mixture to 12-cup bundt pan, smoothing top with a spatula. Place bundt pan in a larger baking dish and fill baking dish 2-inches high with water. Transfer to oven and bake for 1 hour. Cover bundt pan with parchment paper-lined foil and continue baking until center feels solid when a wooden skewer is inserted into the center, about 1 hour more.

Remove bundt pan from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Invert onto a flat serving plate and refrigerate overnight. Slice and serve garnished with parsley.

Dear Sun Spots: It’s time to do spring cleaning, and I am willing to help you recycle your child’s outgrown/not wanted cold winter gear. We all remember how cold we were this winter; as we are every winter in Maine. Imagine how much colder you or your children would have been without winter coats.

There are many organizations providing winter coats and accessories to children of our Maine communities, but there are still many children who are not warm during our coldest season for lack of appropriate winter wear. These children are often left out of winter school activities because they do not have coats, ski pants or boots to wear in deep snow.

Remember the state requires children to go outside during recess at school even in the coldest of weather, and that more importantly recess gives our children the opportunity to socialize with their friends and peers.

My desire is for used winter wear to be given to me for distribution next winter to individuals in need, and to agencies who provide for those parents who request support through the winter season. I am accepting clothing and footwear that will fit children from birth to 18 years of age, and am willing to pick up donations at your home.

Before contacting me, please ask yourself if you would want your children to wear what you are donating. Would your children feel good about themselves when wearing what you contribute? If so, please call 946-2068 and leave a message with your name, phone number, address and hours you can be contacted. – K. Mason, Greene.

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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