DEAR SUN SPOTS:  On Saturday, April 17, a men’s leather jacket fell out of our car on the corner of Pleasant Street and Scribner Blvd. in Lewiston. Inside the pockets are items that are important to us, but of no value to the finder. We have posted a request on Facebook and Lewiston Rocks sites, but no one has come forward yet with our belongings. It would be appreciated if the finder would please turn the items into the Lewiston Police Department’s Lost and Found. — No name, Lewiston

ANSWER: I do hope this jacket and its pocket contents are returned to you very soon. Sun Spots covers a lot or territory and is seen by many eyes so publishing lost and found items here is a great way to get the word out to those who aren’t on social media. Let us know what happens.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I recently read that the deadline for obtaining a REAL ID card required by the federal government for certain situations is Oct. 1. What are those situations for needing a card like this? How do I get one and is there a cost? My Maine driver’s license says “Not intended for federal purposes.” Will a passport suffice in place of a Real ID card? — Mary, no town

ANSWER: The Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday, April 27, that this requirement deadline has been delayed once again for the REAL ID enforcement  so everyone has more time to become compliant in light of the pandemic and to relieve the travel industry of more economic pressures.

Eventually though, every domestic air traveler 18 and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification such as a passport, beginning May 3, 2023. After this 2023 date, if you want to board any commercial aircraft or have access to secure federal facilities such as a military base, you will need this form of ID.

Anyone who wants a REAL ID-compliant license or ID can obtain one at their local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office for $30. You must present documents that demonstrate your identity, including your full name and birth date; proof of lawful status in the United States; give a valid Social Security number or proof of ineligibility; and two documents that prove Maine residency. For a full list of documents you can use, go to https://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/licenses/MVL-9Checklist%20Brochure.pdf or call your nearest BMV branch.

The pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many driver’s licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity,” the release states.

According to Tuesday’s ABC News report, the U.S. economy can’t afford any additional setbacks after a $500 billion decline in travel spending last year and millions of travel jobs lost to the pandemic. Plus, only 43% of driver’s licenses issued in the U.S. are REAL ID-compliant currently, according to DHS data.

Just to confirm, even when this new regulation does happen, if you have a passport in hand OR a REAL ID, either one will be instrumental in ushering you through airport security for domestic travel. And as always, a valid passport will be needed for international travel.

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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