DEAR  SUN SPOTS: I read you every day. I’d like to ask for your help about the bathrooms in stores and restaurants. The doors are very heavy, and some bathrooms very small.

Both my dad and grandmother have to use walkers, and it’s hard to push those doors open when they are that heavy, and it’s difficult to move around in those small bathrooms with their walkers.

I am so hoping you can tell the rules about how heavy those door are to be and how big a bathroom is to be. Is there an address and/or a number I can call to see if there is change that can be put in place? Please and thank you. — Stephanie, Jay

 ANSWER: Sun Spots turned to Gildace Arsenault, the director of Lewiston Planning and Code Enforcement, who wrote:

“Restroom design requirements for people with disabilities are contained in the 2010 Americans with Disability Standards for Accessible Design, Department of Justice, dated Sept. 15, 2010. These standards result from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush.

“New construction for places of public accommodation (i.e., such as restaurants) must meet these standards; however, existing places of public accommodation that predate ADA need to meet accessibility standards that are deemed to be readily achievable and economically feasible.

“Therefore, some places of public accommodation may not meet the needs of people with disabilities. Complaints and or inquiries regarding accessibility may be addressed to the Maine Human Rights Commission.”

There are ways to deal with heavy doors, such as automatic door openers (you push a button and the door opens electronically), but they aren’t cheap, and in these tough economic times it’s not surprising that many places have not elected to install them.

As for why the doors are so heavy, fire/building codes would determine what kind of doors, how big, etc. Different types and sizes of businesses might have different requirements.

Sun Spots suggest you talk to the managers of your favorite emporiums. There may be simple solutions that could be put in place to make things easier for your father and grandmother and encourage you to continue being regular customers.

However, if you want to contact the Maine Human Rights Commission, you can find them at 51 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333, 207-624-6290, www.maine.gov/mhrc/.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: My mom has three bags of puzzles that she is willing to donate. We were wondering if there is an organization, nursing home or assisted-living place that will accept these puzzles.

We want them put to good use. We are willing to deliver. Thanks. — S.C., [email protected]

ANSWER: If you mean jigsaw puzzles, the retired ladies at Healy Terrace will jump at the chance to get them. Contact Linda Twitchell, [email protected], 207-784-5826.

There are undoubtedly other groups that would welcome them as well.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Is there a place you can take old sneakers for recycling? — Philip Laine, [email protected]

ANSWER: If your sneakers are still wearable, you can donate them to charity. If not, Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe offers mail service: Nike Grind Processing, 3552 Avenue of Commerce, Memphis, TN 38125.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a large assortment of woman’s personal care products I would like to donate to a good cause. Some are opened and some are not. Can you help me? — Charles via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots found only one group willing to take opened items: Trinity Jubilee Center, 247 Bates St, Lewiston, 207-782-5700.

If there are others, please let Sun Spots know.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have several Taste of Home magazines if anyone is interested. — Barbara, 824-2635

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 emailed to [email protected]


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