DEAR SUN SPOTS: I just had an unfortunate thing happen and thought that many others might be interested.

With canning season here and lots of stuff to can, I decided that I would revert to my mother’s method of sealing the canning jars with paraffin. But instead of using her method of melting the paraffin in a double-boiler arrangement, I decided to go modern and use the microwave oven — not smart at all.

The result was that I ended up with a lot of applesauce and no convenient way to seal the jars. I researched on the Internet as to why the paraffin would not melt and the microwave just growled. It seems that the molecular structure of paraffin does not mix well with the microwaves and produce heat to melt the paraffin. The end result was a bad experience at canning and an expensive one at that, since the microwave oven ceased to function and had to be replaced.

The applesauce was rescued by reverting to a double-boiler to process the paraffin. And, the economy was stimulated with the purchase of a new microwave oven, which was a fairly expensive lesson to learn. — Blushing, No Town

ANSWER: Thank you for sharing your experience with the readers. Someone will undoubtedly be saved by your timely confession.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Where do people go to get legal help without it costing a lot to fill out bankruptcy papers? Pine Tree Legal could not help; they did not understand its paper and contents in it. These persons do not have much, just need the help to fill out paperwork. The legal fees run from $1,200 to$ 2,500 plus $400 to file the paperwork. These people have tried almost every avenue they could think of. They just want help to fill out the paperwork out so it can be filed in Bangor federal court. We appreciate any feedback from your column. The e-mail address is [email protected] Thank you. — No Name, No Town

ANSWER: You are not alone in having difficulty finding legal assistance. A Sept. 24 story on Maine Public Radio revealed the results of a review showing that Pine Tree Legal was only able to help about a quarter of the 6,000 people who requested assistance in a two-month period. The problem, of course, is money. State funding has fallen steadily while the need for help during these tough economic times has risen. So, if Pine Tree Legal is unable to help, Sun Spots is at a loss. She did find some Web sites offering assistance. You might want to check out www.helpmelaw.org, which says it renders assistance to low-income Mainers, as well as www.vlp.org/help/maine, the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project; www.maineaflcio.org/legal%20assistance%20maine%2004-09-25.htm, a legal assistance gateway; or or www.mainelse.org, if the persons in need of help are over 60 years of age.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In reference to Gerry D. of Lewiston in your Sept. 28 column: Yes, Joe Bornstein does really exist. I actually met him and shook his hand in the firm’s office in about 2003 when I used one of their lawyers. He is definitely not what you would expect when you meet him. He is not the lawyer-looking type but truly a really nice man. He shook our hand and promised us T-shirts from his office if we won our case. We won but are still waiting on the shirts. Thanks. — Tammy H., Livermore Falls

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I retained Joe Bornstein’s law office for a personal injury suit late last year. During that time, I did indeed meet “the” Joe Bornstein. He does not look at all like Robert Vaughn, but my experience with him and his firm showed that they are professionals who stand up for what they believe in. I would recommend him and his firm to anyone who has made a decision to retain counsel for any reason. — Toni C., Livermore

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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