DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am spending considerable time in Quebec because of family obligations there. I would like to improve my French to be able to better communicate with Francophones with no English. I understand they make up 60 percent of the population.

Do you know of a French language publication in Maine I could subscribe to that would help me improve my vocabulary and give me some insights into the French-Canadian culture? Any information you can give me would be much appreciated. — Wesley Seekamp, Wiscasset

ANSWER: A good place to start would be with James Myall, the coordinator for USM’s Franco-American Collection at USM Lewiston-Auburn College, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston. As the purveyor of all things French in Maine, from language to history to food, James should be able to direct you to appropriate resources. You can call him at 753-6545 or e-mail [email protected] The collection is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with no appointment necessary.

Sun Spots e-mailed James, and he had a few suggestions.

“One thing that comes to mind is that we’re organizing monthly French-language song sessions (words provided); this can be a fun way to at least get acquainted with some aspects of the language, especially pronunciation. They’re on the third Wednesday of every month at USM L-AC; the next one will be Feb. 16.

“Another resource is La Rencontre, the monthly French luncheon and conversation group at the Franco-American Heritage Center on Cedar Street. That’s the first Friday of every month, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Contact Claudette Violette, 786-6936.

“As to publications, I’m not aware of any from Maine published in French (since Le Messager closed). There are, of course, plenty of magazines and newspapers produced in Quebec and even New Brunswick. A newspaper such as Le Soleil (www.cyberpresse.ca/le-soleil), a Quebec City daily, or l’Etoile (www.etoilenb.com), a New Brunswick weekly, might be of interest. France-Amerique is a magazine in French concerning French expatriate life in the U.S. and U.S.-France relations (more so than the affairs of Franco-Americans), www.france-amerique.com.

“Finally, there’s a Quebec-based French TV channel available in Maine on basic cable. I think it’s TV 5 Monde Quebec. I receive it in Bath, so Wiscasset should be fine.”

Readers will undoubtedly have suggestions as well.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: What is the best address to send track results from WMC indoor meets/Poland? Thanks. — Ron Kelly, [email protected]

ANSWER: Sun Spots put your question to Justin Pelletier, assistant sports editor, online. He said that the e-mail address depends on the sports.

“If it’s for high school, JV, freshman or middle school sports, you should use [email protected], and the results need to be sent on the day of the event. If it is grade-school or Y results, anything not affiliated with a high school or middle school, use [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: A benefit is being planned for Kathy Carey of Rumford, who was seriously hurt in an ATV accident just after Thanksgiving and is still receiving treatment for injuries to her face, chest, leg and ankle. She has had bone grafts and is not able to support weight on her leg at this point. Medical bills are adding up for Kathy, and her insurance is not covering all expenses.

We are planning a spaghetti supper, Chinese raffle and dance (to the music of stereo-type) on Feb. 5 at the Eagles Hall, Oxford Avenue in Rumford. Tickets will be available at Davis Florist, 138 Congress St., Rumford, or by calling Diane at 357-8621 or Andrea at 357-5606. — Diane Mitchell, [email protected]

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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