DEAR SUN SPOTS: Is it possible for you to find out why the Farmington hospital does not allow any public use of its Wi-Fi network? Other Maine hospitals have Wi-Fi set up so that family members can keep in touch when visiting ill relatives. Many gadgets are Wi-Fi only, and it would be so convenient for all family members to be up to the minute on ill or hurt loved ones. Thanks for all you do. — Bobby Johnston, [email protected]

ANSWER: Ralph Johnson, chief information officer, told Sun Spots that allowing patients and visitors access to the hospital’s Wi-Fi network would also give them access to the private hospital network and patients’ electronic records, which is obviously unacceptable.

Ralph said they are working on building a separate Wi-Fi network for patients and families’ use that they hope to have ready this summer.

In the meantime, they do have a limited number of secure laptops available for patient use. Nurses can arrange that accommodation.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Hopefully, you will be able to help me with this. We received a gift certificate at Christmastime for the Granary Restaurant in Farmington. We went south for the winter and when we returned, we saw that they had closed. Would you happen to know what we could do to get our money back for this certificate?

We appreciate all the good work that you do and we read your column daily. Thank you. — J.M., Farmington

ANSWER: If you got back just a little bit sooner, you might have been able to use that certificate. Reporter Ann Bryant wrote about the Granary closing on March 24. You can read the story at

Sun Spots called the phone number listed for owner Richard Griswold, but there was no outgoing message to indicate whether she had the right number and no one returned her call. Perhaps Richard will see this letter and respond.

If not, there is little else you can do. Pursuing the matter in small claims court means laying out more money in hopes of getting the original investment back and even if you win a judgment, collecting is another matter. If a bankruptcy results, you can get in line with other creditors and perhaps get a percentage of the amount owed returned.

Times are tough for restaurants and other small businesses, many of which have closed. If you receive or buy a gift certificate, use it quickly!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Oak Hill Young Writers’ Club will hold a writers’ reception at Oak Hill Middle School in Sabattus at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5. Sharon Lee, author of “Barnburner” and “Gunshy”; Jim Baumer, author of “Moxietown” and “When Towns Had Teams”; and Tom Pelletier, author of “Two Arrows,” and Aimee Langteigne will speak.

This event will close out the OHYWC 2011 writing contest, which ended April 8. Winners of the writing contest will be announced at the reception. Admission is free. There will be refreshments.

For more information, please call me or Melissa Ayres at 240-5717 or email [email protected] — Keith Evans, president, OHYWC, 375-8741

DEAR SUN SPOTS: There will be a ticket auction May 7 at St. Phillip’s Church on Route 4 in Auburn. The auction is to benefit a local woman battling breast cancer for the third time.

There will be hundreds of items, a 50/50 raffle, kids’ table, grab bag, face painting, hot dogs and baked goods.

Bidding starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. The auctioning of items starts a 1 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Bidders have to be present to win. — Sheila Rousseau, [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]