DEAR SUN SPOTS: I wonder if you could find someone to tell me what’s wrong with all my maple trees and also some others I’ve seen along the road. The crowns are extremely sparse and the lower branches, though more heavily leafed, have much smaller leaves than normal. There’s not much shade coming from these trees. Is it stress from last year’s drought or is this a harbinger of the foretold destruction of maple trees due to climate change? We’ve had droughts in past years that were worse than last year. I don’t remember our trees looking like this. Thank you for your help. — Diana, Poland

ANSWER: Sun Spots is getting quite a few questions about trees these days! I’ve gathered some resources for you to contact. Sometimes, it just eases our minds to have an answer from experts.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service has an office serving Androscoggin County in Lisbon Falls. They can be reached at 353-5550. The number for the main office in Orono is 1-800-287-0274. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry also may have an answer for you. They can be reached at 287-3200 or [email protected] Lastly, the Maine Arborist Association has a directory of state-certified arborists at You can also call: 623-6430.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m looking for a simple recipe for chop suey. Nothing fancy. Thank you in advance for all the work you do. — No name, Lewiston

ANSWER: I don’t want to assume, but I’m thinking your request is for American chop suey, not Chinese-style? This Maine staple is a family favorite. I have included my quick and easy stove-top version here: Cook 1 pound macaroni and drain. Brown 2 pounds ground beef with on onion and four cloves chopped garlic, salt and pepper in a skillet. Add 2 quarts home-canned tomatoes and small can tomato paste. Stir into macaroni. That’s it! By all means, add your own combination of spices and herbs. Even “simple” can be creative and fun. We’d love to see what our readers have for recipes, especially if you have a “secret ingredient” that makes yours special.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m looking for someone who put images from slides on a DVD. If there is anyone out there who does that kind of work, I would like to talk to them. — Jim, Rumford, 418-9067.

ANSWER: Being organized enough to even be thinking about this is a great start in the right direction! Slides do get ruined over time plus it’s so much easier to just slide a disk into your DVD player or computer. Perhaps a technology student at Central Maine Community College in Auburn would be willing to take this project on for a nominal fee? Another thought is to call your local library. Some libraries have digitization equipment in-house and can show you how to use it. Of course, there are profession companies that handle this, too. Give Jim a call if you have any recommendations!

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. 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 be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots Facebook page at This column can also be read online at We’ve joined Pinterest at

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