Making someone’s day

I think I made Sally Belisle’s day last week.

Belisle is a retired teacher. She used to be “Mrs. McDonald,” teaching fourth-graders at the Lake Street Elementary School in Auburn. One of her students was Susan Ross.

On Dec. 16, the Sun Journal published a story about a book Ross wrote, “Kiki and Jacques,” a chapter book about a Franco youth becoming friends with Somali youths in a mill town. The book is based on Lewiston’s experience with Somali families moving here.

In the book, Ross, who now lives in Connecticut, dedicates her first book to her husband, and also “to Mrs. McDonald, my fourth grade teacher at Lake Street Elementary School who let me stay inside at recess and write.”

Belisle smiled as she read the dedication. “She was a student you wouldn’t forget, very creative,” Belisle said. “I think it was my first year teaching. It means a lot when teachers meet their former students as adults and they’re doing well, she  said. “Especially when they remember me.” — Bonnie Washuk 

A canine Christmas

Mainers remember their dogs when it comes to holiday shopping.

But we’re sort of cheap about it.

According to a survey on, an online hub by the makers of Milk-Bone, Mainers will spend an average of $11 each on their gifts for their dogs this season.

The national average? $23.10.

Maine is outranked by 47 other states, including neighboring New Hampshire, where residents will shell out $21.50 for Fido. (Dogs in New Jersey and New York? Forgettaboutit. They top the list, with New Jersey pups set to get $30.01 in gifts and New York pooches waiting for Santa to bring them $29.55 worth of presents.)

But not every pet parent is heading to the mall. Eight percent of respondents said they “prefer to make rather than buy holiday gifts for their dog?.”

?What did dogs put on their Christmas lists? The survey didn’t say.

— Lindsay Tice

Favorite Christmas movies

Reporter Scott Taylor asked on his Facebook page, What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Random replies indicate “It’s A Wonderful Life” is a favorite, along with “Love Actually,” “A Christmas Story,” “A Christmas Carol” and “The Grinch.” A few nominated “White Christmas” and “Elf.”

Favorite Christmas movies getting one vote included “Bad Santa” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

There were a few surprises, such as former Lewiston City Councilor Robert Reed’s favorite, “The Shawshank Redemption” and Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte’s pick, “Edward Scissorhands.”

Unlike religion and politics, it’s a fun topic for festive gatherings. What’s your favorite Christmas movie? — Bonnie Washuk

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