DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Maineiacs have invited the Auburn Lions Club to set up a table for eyeglass and dollar donations toward area eyeglass needs at its hockey game on April 27 at 7 p.m. Hope your readers will support the Maineiacs and the Auburn Lions Club. Thanks so much for promoting area events. — Mary Ann Norcross, [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: When I read the March 28 Sun Journal, I was quite upset about a story on the front page about Social Security not giving us a raise. This would be the third year in a row. The government is projecting a slight cost-of-living adjustment.

All seniors are paying much more for gas, heating, food, medication, etc. Even if the raise was only $20 to $25 more a month, every little bit helps. Many seniors just barely get by every month.

I want Sun Spots to find out if and how much U.S. senators and representatives gave themselves a raise from 2005 to 2011. (The general public does not get to vote on this.) I’m sure many seniors will be interested in the information.

Thank you for all the help you give to everybody. — Jeanne, Leeds

ANSWER: According to cbsnews.com: “Automatic cost-of-living pay increases [for members of Congress] have been in effect since 1989, when as part of ethics reform lawmakers agreed to give up getting paid for speeches, a lucrative source of side income. In return, pay jumped from $96,600 in 1990 to $125,100 in 1991.”

Under this system of automatic pay raises, their incomes increase annually unless they vote to forgo the raises, which they have done in recent years. In January 2009 their salaries went to $174,000 per year, where they still stand.

Sun Spots didn’t find any indication of whether they will let the increase for 2012 stand.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I don’t know if there’s any way of getting in touch with No Name of Lewiston, but your April 8 column included a question for a reader looking to donate a PBS New Hampshire video narrated by Tom Bergeron.

I just wanted to let your readers know that USM’s Franco-American Collection also has a number of videos and DVDs and is happy to consider new donations. In addition to historic archive footage (e.g., old snowshoe and St Jean-Baptiste parades from the 1940s), the collection has copies of TV documentaries and locally produced movies on Franco-Americans.

The videos and DVDs are all available for the public to watch in our reading room during our regular opening hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information you may contact me. — James Myall, coordinator, Franco-American Collection, USM-LAC, [email protected], 753-6545

DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Lewiston-Auburn Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative and Healthy Androscoggin will once again be hosting a free workshop for Lewiston and Auburn parents and teens called Families in Action. It is a six-week workshop with sessions held on six consecutive Wednesdays starting April 27 at 6 p.m. This will be the final offering of the program for the school year.

Families in Action helps parents and teens to get a better understanding of each other and to better get along. Families will learn important information and strategies in the areas of courage and self-esteem, responsibility and discipline, cooperation and communication, teen behavior and problem solving.

Families in Action also provides parents with 10 powerful prevention strategies in the areas of substance abuse, violence and sexuality.

Families in Action is completely free. Free meals will be provided to participants. Parents may contact me at Healthy Androscoggin to register. More information can be found at www.healthyandroscoggin.org. — Scott Gagnon, 795-2120, [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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