DEAR SUN SPOTS: There will be a free clothing distribution at the Lewiston Root Cellar, 89 Birch St., Lewiston, 782-3659, on Friday, Jan. 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be free professional and casual clothing and shoes of all sizes. The event is open to everyone in the community.

Our office is open for donations Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rule of thumb is that you only bring donations that you yourself would wear. — Emily Copenhaver, [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: We will be having a free public supper at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 148 Main St., Jay, on Saturday, Jan. 15. The doors open at noon for warming and socialization. Food will be served from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The menu is meatloaf with baked potato, soup, salad, bread, veggies and desserts.

Girl Scouts will be helping us serve, along with our other wonderful volunteers. Donations accepted.

To use the elevator: Come in the back door, push and hold buzzer button on stairwell wall. You will hear it; we will come help you.

We would like to let people know that the On the House free clothes store, across the street at the Jay Community Center, was opened by the Jay Active Youth. Hours are Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon. They are looking for help to keep it open. We are not affiliated with each other. — Michael Schaedler, [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: When you have just gotten a state-certified appraisal on your property, can the town charge you taxes on a higher valuation of that property than what it was appraised at?

Also, do you know why King Wok in Rumford closed? It closed quickly, and we got stuck with gift certificates from there, just like we did with China One in Dixfield. Aren’t there any rules regarding restaurants honoring these already-purchased gift certificates to protect the consumer?

Thank you for your help. — No Name, Rumford

ANSWER: Sun Spots thinks you must mean that you had an appraisal by a state-certified appraiser, which does not mean that the state certified your appraisal, rather that the appraiser you, or your real estate company, hired has one of three levels of licenses issued by the state. But the answer is still no — your town does not have to accept another appraisal.

You can appeal the assessed value of your home and include the private appraisal as part of your evidence of the property’s value. There are official procedures to follow in disputing your assessment. To see what steps you should take, you can contact your town office. Sun Spots e-mailed the assessor’s office listed on www.rumfordmaine.net for comment but got no response.

As for King Wok, Sun Spots doesn’t know what happened. Many local eateries have fallen prey to hard times. Buying a gift certificate for a restaurant means you are one of many creditors to that restaurant. If the restaurant ownership declares bankruptcy, you can get in line with other creditors. In some cases, you can attempt to recoup your losses via small-claims court. But the cost of doing so often exceeds the value of the gift certificate and the process is time consuming.

In the last couple of years, Sun Spots has had dozens of letters from people who have lost money from gift certificates because restaurants have closed. No one has written to say they got their money back. If you buy a gift certificate or got one for Christmas, use it right away.

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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