Dear Sun Spots: Can someone explain how the turning lanes in Lewiston are to be used? I recently heard that they are to be used only when turning into a business or street and not to be used to come out of a business/street into the turning lane. If the latter is true, most people I’ve asked are not aware. Thank you.

— No Name, Auburn

Stephen McCausland, public information officer at Maine’s Department of Public Safety, referred Sun Spots to a Web site, According to Maine law, a driver can use the center turning lane in four ways:

• When overtaking and passing another vehicle when the way is clearly visible and the two-way traffic lane is clear of traffic for a safe distance — unless an official sign or traffic control device limits the use of that lane to turning only.

• In preparation for a left turn from the two-way traffic lane.

• When the two-way traffic lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is posted to give notice of that allocation (you sometimes see this use in large cities where the center lane is used for inbound traffic in the morning and outbound traffic in the evening to accommodate rush hour).

• As part of a two-part turn when the vehicle turning left from a driveway or entrance uses the two-way traffic lane until the travel lane in the direction the vehicle is proceeding can be entered safely by the vehicle.

As you can see from the last item, the center lane can be used for pulling out into traffic. But be careful when doing so. Statistically, left-hand turns are far more hazardous than right, and many driver-refresher courses for seniors advise them to plan their routes so as to avoid left-hand turns. Even some delivery services, such as UPS, are redoing their routes to limit left-hand turns both for safety and to cut costs. Left-hand turns often require more idling of your vehicle’s engine while waiting, so avoiding them can save gas.

Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for someone who makes and sells plain wreaths for others to resale. I am in need of a supplier and cannot seem to locate one in and around the Lewiston region. If anyone could help with this, it would be greatly appreciated, even if it’s in Monmouth or surrounding towns. You can call me at 754-6050 or e-mail [email protected] Thank you.

— No Name, Lisbon

 Answer: Sun Spots does not know of any sources for plain wreaths, but you might check with some of the local garden centers. Perhaps readers will have some suggestions.

With the holiday season just around the corner, many readers may be planning to make and sell wreaths. Unfortunately, invasive pests have become a problem, as insects and other creatures hitch a ride in firewood, shipping crates and, yes, even Christmas trees and wreaths. To avoid having their wreaths rejected for sale, Maine shippers should learn
about and follow state regulations
before sending out wreaths (both plain and
decorated) and trees.

The Maine Department of
Agriculture, Division of Plant
Industry, has information on
shipping Christmas wreaths
and trees to other states. No
certification or inspection is
required for the interstate
shipment of wreaths,
although they should not
contain certain materials for decoration
depending on the state. Due to changes in
federal regulations to prevent the spread of gypsy
moth, shipments of cut Christmas trees to any
state other than Connecticut, Maine, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and
Vermont require inspection and certification that
the shipment is free of life stages of the gypsy
For more information, contact the Maine
Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant
Industry, 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME
04333, 287-3891).

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 e-mailed to [email protected]

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