DEAR SUN SPOTS: My husband insists that there was once a Michael’s craft store in Auburn. I insist that he’s wrong and is thinking of Craft Mania (RIP). He claims to remember going to Michael’s in Auburn with his grandmother as a child.  (We are both in our early 30s.)

This isn’t an easily Googled question so I’m hoping you can settle this debate. And by “settle” I mean prove him wrong. — Kirsten, no town

ANSWER: Well, my dear, I hate to be the bearer of this news, but your husband is right. I spoke with a wonderful gentleman in the marketing and communications department of Michael’s in Irving, Texas, and he confirmed that there was a Michael’s in the Auburn Shaw’s Plaza from 1995-2000.

I think you should buy your husband dinner to promote marital harmony.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have tried to look up the Sun Spots column about the many colored United States flags. It was very good and I wanted to keep it, but forgot to. — No name, no town

ANSWER: Here is the Aug. 6 Sun Spots for you. You aren’t the first person who has asked for a repeat. It is good information to have:


Recently, our flag, which always has had significant meaning for us as Americans, has been colorized in various ways to support different groups.

For example, a black and white flag with a thin blue line honors our law enforcement officers. A flag with a thin red line honors firefighters and EMTs. If there is both a red and blue stripe, the flag is displayed to honor both entities.

A flag with a green stripe honors members of the military as well as federal agents such as border patrol personnel, park rangers, game wardens and conservation personnel. If you want to honor all the above, you can get a flag with a blue, a red, and a green line.

If the flag has a stripe of rainbow colors, it supports gay pride, while a flag with a pink stripe is to note breast cancer survivorship and the power of women. An orange stripe is for search and rescue personnel. Silver is for correctional officers, and yellow is for security and loss prevention officers.

A purple stripe stands for those who died or suffered great injury while in political office due to violence.  Alternately, it is sometimes attributed to civilians in possession of a conceal and carry permit and willing to help when needed. Purple and teal stands for suicide prevention.

I saw a black and red striped flag with a green background for the black stars. That one is hung in support of Black Lives Matter.


There is also a “blacked-out” flag. The meaning for this flag is somewhat mixed and sometimes controversial.

I hope I covered them all, but if I didn’t please let me know what ones you have seen and what they support if you know.

If you would like to purchase any of these flags, Amazon sells them all and there are other flag stores online that have all or most of them in stock in different sizes.

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

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