DEAR SUN SPOTS: Would anyone know who offers self defense classes for women? I would like it to be in the Lewiston area. I am looking for a short two- to six-week class that specializes in women’s self defense. Thank you in advance for any help you can give. — No Name, Lewiston

ANSWER: Two Lewiston martial arts studios responded to Sun Spots’ queries. Rich, the owner of Pelletier’s Karata-Do (35 Taylor Hill Road, 786-3731), said that he offers a full complement of services for individuals and small groups. He does offer self-defense and will even give seminars to teams at organizations for free as a community service.

He recommends that prospective students read two books by Gavin De Becker, “Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)” and “The Gift of Fear.” He prefers that teenagers come to class with a parent and that women bring a companion as well.

John, the owner and chief instructor at L-A Bushido (277 Lisbon St., 786-3149, http://labushido.com/), said that at his school self-defense is a primary focus for adult students and secondary for children. He offers a free two-week trial for his group classes. John suggests you call or visit the Web site to learn about all the different courses he offers, which include tai chi as well as self-defense and other martial arts.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I would like to thank you for printing my letter last month regarding the purchase of a tanning package at Madison’s Tanning and Day Spa only to see them close a week later. A few people did respond stating the same thing happened to them. I would like to know what is the proper way to handle this now? Should we contact the Better Business Bureau, or possibly have all others who were deceived by Madison’s contact me so that we may have a case in small claims court?

It is my understanding that the owner basically took all our money and then took off to Florida with not so much as an apology. Also, I do not know the owner’s name other than she was a Bulick and married a Gendron at one time, but I’m not sure of her first name. Can Sun Spots obtain that for me? I have seen other owners of closed establishments do the right thing through Sun Spots and offer to refund money. I just hope that Ms. Gendron has enough integrity to do the same. — Betrayed by Madison’s in Lisbon

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ANSWER:
Sun Spots does not have a lot of hopeful information for you. She checked with the town office in Lisbon, and the business was owned by Madison’s Inc. That means it’s incorporated, and you cannot go after the owners personally.

You could file in small claims court, but the fee to do so is $50. You get this back if you win, but that is no sure thing. You also have to arrange for “service,” which notifies the defendant about the suit and costs an additional $15 plus any fees from the sheriff, but with the business closed, where would you deliver the claim? 

If Madison’s Inc. files for bankruptcy, you could join as a claimant there, but don’t expect to get the entire amount back. There will be lots of creditors (which could include lenders, former employees, utility and supply companies, tax obligations, etc.) lined up to divvy whatever is left. Bankruptcy filings are public records, so you could check with the Androscoggin County Courthouse and see if they filed. That information is also printed periodically in the Sun Journal in the Matters of Record section.

Sun Spots called the Maine Attorney General’s office hoping for additional guidance, but no one returned her calls. She is sorry to say that she thinks you will spend more time and effort trying to get your money back than it’s worth. If she was you, she’d keep her eyes peeled for a bankruptcy filing but be prepared to chalk the loss up to experience.

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). Please include your phone number. 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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