DEAR SUN SPOTS: Is anyone interested in speaking up for a Maine foster child? The Maine Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program is holding its spring training for volunteer advocates on March 19-22 in the Augusta area. The four-day training is free. Attendees learn about all aspects of child advocacy work in order to be certified as a volunteer guardian ad litem in the Maine District Courts.

Maine CASAs are community volunteers who are appointed to serve as guardians ad litem (GALs) for children whose parents are involved in a child protection case. The foundation of the CASA’s work is learning about the case and then advising the judge in writing of what he/she believes is in the child’s best interest.

CASAs come from a wide variety of professional and personal backgrounds and are guided throughout the process by staff attorneys. CASAs bring their own unique perspectives to their work as volunteers.

Last year, hundreds of children involved in a child protection case had a volunteer CASA who served as the child’s voice in court. There are more foster children than CASA volunteers. If you have a big heart and are willing to speak up for a Maine child, apply to become a CASA volunteer. You do not need any special training to apply other than having a high school diploma or GED equivalent. You must also be over 21. Along with the application, you will need to provide three references and must complete a background check that includes disclosing any criminal or child protection history.

You can find out more about the Maine CASA Program and the application by visiting or “like” us on Facebook at Maine CASA.

For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact Maine CASA Legal Services adviser Darren Defoe, Esq. at 213-2864 or e-mail: [email protected]

— Darren, no town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding the Jan. 21 Sun Spots, Venus is the brighter planet in the morning eastern sky; Jupiter is now to the left of Venus. Check this site out for more information:

— No name, Lewiston

DEAR SUN SPOTS: About the Farmington reader wondering about the object in the eastern sky: this week, in the early morning darkness I was looking at the planets above the South/Southeast horizon to identify Venus above Jupiter. I did not see it after it got light and because there were storm clouds, but I knew the full lunar eclipse moon would be rising in the east.

— Caro, no town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: The plant Venus is very visible early on clear mornings in the eastern sky. I usually see it between 5 and 6:30 a.m. If you have an unobstructed view, the planet Mars is also visible below Venus. It’s smaller and not as bright, but the two together are stunning. If you are interested in what is visible in the Maine sky, you can obtain free “Daily doses of information related to astronomy, including Physics” by subscribing to [email protected] on behalf [email protected]

— Barbara, Lewiston

ANSWER: I have never gotten such a big response to a question so quickly! I love all the information. Thanks for sharing, everyone!

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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