As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 27, 2011

After a friend heard my story about the problems I’m having keeping the critters (and now the neighborhood cats) away from my bird feeders, she sent me a link to an article from the Anchorage Daily News. And now I know it could be worse.

A guy who writes a garden column for the paper had a “few gentle reminders for gardeners and yardeners (now, that’s a new word) all over Alaska.”

He gets right to it with his warning: “The first is to stop feeding birds. It’s not that the birds will necessarily be harmed if you continue to feed them, but the bears are waking up and they will make a beeline to those rich-in-fat, sunflower seeds that have been sustaining your avian friends all winter.”

He doesn’t say whether people can put their feeders out again next winter, but he basically tells everyone to clean their feeders and put them away … but not in the garage, because a spring bear can find it if you leave the garage door open.

Well, at least that’s a problem I won’t have to contend with. I did see some pretty large deer tracks in new soil in our front yard this week, but I don’t think they were looking for bird seed.

*           *           *

My brother-in-law, who lives in Vancouver, is always sending me tidbits of information which he feels I might find useful. His latest was titled “truth.” It said: “Then the lie passed into history and became truth.” – 1984 by George Orwell. Another was: “When a person is determined to believe a lie, there is nothing more futile than the truth.” 2011 Leonard Pitts Jr.

The whole “birther” controversy comes to mind. I read an extremely good column in the Register-Guard last week on that subject. The columnist pointed out that with the investigative resources available to Bill and Hillary Clinton, had there been any chance that Obama was not born in this country, she would definitely have used that in her campaign. But she didn’t.

It makes sense.

*           *           *

I’ve watched a lot of NBA basketball during the playoffs, and I keep running into the living room tonight as the Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets battle it out. I sometimes wonder if I’m watching the same game as the announcer is. With the score tied at 65-65, the announcer just said the Lakers have racked up their first lead of the second half. Since the score is pretty prominent on our screen, I’m not sure what he’s looking at, but since I’m a Laker fan, I hope he’s right. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking on his part. (The game is now over and the Lakers lost, but since it’s best of seven, there’s a lot of basketball left for the Lakers).

*           *           *

The Bandon Fourth of July Parade Committee is getting off to a good start. One of their members was standing in front of the post office the other day handing out forms for people to fill out if they want to donate money or time to help with the parade.

The parade committee consists of volunteers from multiple service organizations, including Eastern Star, VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary, Kiwanis, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion.

The group meets the first Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the VFW Hall on Bates Road, and people are invited to attend. If you’d like to help sponsor the events program, volunteer to help or obtain an entry form for the parade you can call either Dawn Dixon at 541-252-7322 or Ron Rivera at 541-347-4960.

*           *           *

In case I told you earlier that Mike Keiser owns the former Three Gables Restaurant building on West 11th Street, I was wrong. I received some incorrect information from City staff, and it wasn’t until I noticed a “for sale” sign on the property did I learn that it still belongs to Mary Yee, who has it listed with Dan Cirigliano. Keiser and a partner did purchase the old Bandon Beach Motel and Gorman Motel at Coquille Point, which are near the restaurant property, but he didn’t buy the restaurant. The building is in extremely poor condition, and I’m sure the land would be worth a lot more with the building gone. It would be a great “burn to learn” for the fire department, who do a superb job of cleaning up the property after the burn.

Whatever is built there will have a wonderful view of Face Rock and the beach.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 20, 2011

Every night, rain (mostly) or shine, I go out onto my deck to gather in my suet feeders. So far, I have lost two of them and had a third torn up by, I am sure, raccoons. I can’t think of any other animal that would carry them away. I can see one of the feeders on the other side of the fence, back in the dense brush, but I’m not going to go in after it.

Not only that, but I had two solar-lighted butterflies on stands in the ground just off my deck, and I noticed that something managed to rip off one of the butterflies and carry it away. That didn’t really surprise me because some years ago I had eight or 10 big clumps of plastic red geraniums on my Cottage porch, and one morning they were all gone. They left the stems, but took the red flowers.

I did find a few shreds back in the bushes, but none could be salvaged.

They do not seem to bother the birdseed, which is good, because I have seven feeders, and I do not intend to carry them into the garage on a nightly basis.

But, for now, I’ll take the suet in. I don’t want to invite them back into my yard.

It’s bad enough that an occasional stray cat finds its way through my fence, without having to fight with the raccoons.

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve gone out on my deck only to discover a very large opossum looking for his share of the bird food. Raccoons are at least cute; but an opossum looks like a giant rat with a big nose.

Surely I can’t be the only person in my neighborhood that feeds the birds. Maybe the critters could visit someone else for awhile . . .

*           *           *

I just came back from the annual Home Show, held at the Boys & Girls Club in Coos Bay. Actually it was my second trip; I’d been invited to help judge the show Friday afternoon before it even opened, but I decided to go back Sunday afternoon and look at the booths after they were set up and open.

I got a lot of great ideas; now all I have to do is save my money. I’m hoping to have Mike Greenway of Greenscapes do some stone work for me. His work is extremely impressive and it would look great in our backyard.

It was unfortunate that the turnout wasn’t nearly what it has been in the past, and since a lot of us get our county news from The World, that may be the reason. They were not the “paper of record” this year. That honor went to the South Coast Shopper, which means they had the big ad detailing which businesses were where at the show. But you would think it would be a big enough event that the local daily could at least have had a story about it. The only mention that I saw in The World came from one of their advertisers who mentioned that they’d be at the Home Show this weekend.

A lot of their advertisers, not to mention potential advertisers, were there. It’s such a shame to go to so much work, not only for the Homebuilders Association, who put it on, but for all those who spent their weekend showcasing their wares.

The weather didn’t help much either, and the thought of tromping through the unpaved muddy parking lot wasn’t all that inviting either. Out of fairness I will say that the Herald received no press release of any kind about the Home Show, and I didn’t see anything in the other weeklies either.

But for those of us who did attend, it was a treat.

*           *           *

As editor of The Herald, I often warn senior citizens not to fall for the latest scam and never to give out personal information or send money to someone they don’t know.

But the news that an 86-year-old Coquille woman (Leona Robison) was murdered in her own home last week puts a whole new face on crime in this county. I’ve learned that she has lived in the area a long time and has relatives in Bandon, Coquille and Myrtle Point.

I have not heard how close the authorities are to apprehending whoever did this heinous crime, but I hope they catch them soon.

It is chilling to think that senior citizens are not safe in their own homes. This is the second major crime involving a home invasion, which has occurred since the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team sent out its press release urging people to take note of strangers in their neighborhoods because of an increase in daytime home residential burglaries. The first one, as I mentioned in my column last week, ended with the homeowner killing a stranger (with a long criminal record) who’d kicked his way right through the front door, in spite of the homeowner firing two warning shots.

Coquille has been a hot bed of crime in the last year or so, and although many arrests have been made, it’s obvious that something is wrong there.

Ever since the new police chief, Mark Dannels, came to Coquille, arrests have stepped up. But now he’s resigned, and will be leaving for Arizona at the end of May.

That may be good news for the criminals, but certainly not for Coquille or Coos County.

*           *           *

When I interviewed Nikki Whitty several months ago, I was saddened to see how ill she looked but was heartened by her always upbeat personality. She really hoped she would beat colon cancer and was undergoing both chemo and radiation.

But later when I heard that she’d been transferred to RiverBend Hospital, I knew that was not a good sign.

Her death leaves a gaping hole in county government. She was the sparkplug in that office for many years and had the kind of knowledge that only years of experience can bring.

It’s tragic that she’s the second Coos County Commissioner to die in office in the last few months, which leaves Bob Main (who was elected two and a half years ago) as the senior member of the commission.

I know not everyone will agree with me, but it’s time we put petty politics aside and asked (no begged) Kevin Stufflebean to return to office. He became embroiled in politics after he, Nikki and John Griffith laid off 22 road department members, but when it comes to knowledge about Coos County, Kevin has it.

And we need him.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 13, 2011

In case you saw my black Honda SUV stopped in the middle of the road in front of The Cobbler’s Bench Friday around 5 o’clock, while I talked on the phone, please don’t judge me harshly. I know how it looked, but it wasn’t what you think. I hadn’t just decided to stop in the road to talk on the phone.

I had broken down … for the fifth time since Tuesday, when I was towed by AAA from the dike just outside of Coquille as I was on my way home from work in Myrtle Point.

We learned the hard way the difference between AAA and AAA-Plus, which we don’t have. The towing company will tow you three miles before you have to pay mileage. Even with AAA, the tow from Coquille to Reinhard’s Foreign Auto in Bandon cost me $59.50. But hey that was a deal; the guy said if we hadn’t had AAA, it would have been about $150.

At any rate, Reinhard drove the car all over town, and he couldn’t find a thing wrong with it. So I took it home and decided to drive it within three miles of town, just in case it died – and I had to call AAA again.

I drove it downtown Friday and just as I got in front of McFarlin’s, it died. And even though I got it started, I couldn’t get it out of park. I knew the guy behind me and he was getting ready to give me a push, when it finally kicked into gear, and I shot down the street and parked in front of the Bakery.

I called my boyfriend and he said I’d better just get it back to the house while it was still daylight. I managed to make it less than half a block before it died again in front of The Cobbler’s Bench. Again I couldn’t get it out of park even when it was running. So I made another phone call and my boyfriend said to try my best to get it home. Finally, it kicked into gear and I dashed through town (and a few stop signs) before I made it down 11th Street almost to Harlem when it died again, and I managed to coast around the corner and down the block before it wouldn’t go any further. Jason was waiting out in the driveway to see if I would make it.

He decided he’d drive it and after the car died four times while he was driving, we finally agreed it had to be the fuel filter.

It was pretty embarrassing to be parked in the middle of the street talking on the phone while half the town drove by … wondering what in the world I was doing.

*           *           *

There has been an unusual spike in crime in Coos County in recent weeks. In fact, the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team sent out a press release Thursday asking for the public’s help because of an increasing number of daytime residential burglaries.

That was only a day or two before a convicted criminal tried to break his way into the home of a couple on Shinglehouse Slough in the early-morning hours. The wife called the police to say a man was trying to get into their house and he’d already tried to break down the door, and had succeeded in breaking out the window. Her husband had fired two warning shots … but the guy kept coming.

When police arrived, they found the burglar dead, having been shot once through the chest by the homeowner with a 22 caliber rifle.

It’s clear that this is becoming a serious problem as I never remember area police agencies being so alarmed that they put out a press release urging people to pay close attention to who is coming and going in their neighborhood and warning them about daytime burglaries.

In most cases, the burglars are after firearms and jewelry “after kicking in the front door of the residence,” said the release.

Since this is the exact same MO (method of operation/modus operandi) as the burglar who was shot a day later, my guess is this may well slow down what has been happening. He may have been responsible for other burglaries of this type, or at least it will warn others that people are not going to stand by while someone breaks into their home.

Anyone who says homeowners don’t have a right to bear arms to protect themselves is “dead” wrong.

Can you imagine what might have happened had the homeowners not been able to defend themselves from a stranger hell-bent on kicking his way into their home?

*           *           *

There was a good article about the Cascadia Subduction Zone in last week’s Western World written by Glenda Hales, the county’s emergency management coordinator. Unfortunately, the most important piece of information that the article contained was simply not correct.

While it may be true that people in some beach communities have 15 to 30 minutes to get to high ground before the tsunami reaches the shore, that is not true for Bandon. At the last tsunami preparedness workshop, put on by the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries’ James Roddey, he said that because the Subduction zone is closer to Bandon than just about any other point along the coastline, we have only eight to 10 minutes to get to high ground.

So PLEASE don’t think you have 15 to 30 minutes. You must be prepared to grab your family and your backpacks and head for high ground, which generally means 50 to 100 feet high.

In fact, a woman who lives in Newport, where they have 10 minutes to get to high ground, said she had tried several times to reach safety from her home in the allotted time … and failed to make it.

People need to become increasingly aware of their surroundings, whether they are at work, eating out or at home. Learn whether your favorite places (and especially your home) are in the inundation zone (

I communicated with James Roddey last week after he sent out a press release about earthquake preparedness, and he told me the maps that are on line, and at City Hall, are in the process of being updated.

I will let people know when the new maps appear on line as the inundation zone may be even deeper than was once thought. It’s not good news, but it’s better to know than to be caught unaware when the Big One strikes.

Please be aware you have only eight to 10 minutes to get out of the inundation zone, and that means running (you probably won’t be able to drive because the damage to infrastructure, particularly bridges, will be tremendous).

Have a plan.

*           *           *

Dogs continue to be a big problem in Bandon as evidenced by the police reports. In Saturday’s sheriff’s office log, there are two calls involving dogs in this area. The first came from Bandon Avenue where the calls said a “vicious black lab was at large; attacked reporting party. Still loose in the area.” The dog was returned to the owner’s residence.

Another call came from Auction Barn Road, off Rosa, where two pit bulls were said to be running loose. The log said: “Two dogs secured at residence; card left for owner to contact Animal Control Officer.”

And those are just the people who call the police.

I was in Old Town last week, when I observed a very unsettling incident. A man was sitting on a bench in front of one of the stores with his very large dog, that was pretty much taking up two-thirds of the sidewalk. I think he was on a leash, but I’m not sure. A young woman walked slowly by, and reached down to pet the dog, and he let out this blood-curdling roar and lunged at her. He scared her half to the death and the man calmly said, “Oh, he hasn’t done that before.” The woman was pretty traumatized.

I yelled to him that he needed to have a muzzle on the dog. A young child could have been seriously injured by that animal, and the dog lovers that were with me agreed that there is no way that this was the first time that dog had lunged at someone.

If you’re going to bring a “lethal weapon” into a pedestrian area, the least you can do is muzzle it.

Just last week a two-year-old girl in Newport was badly injured by a bulldog inside the home where she and her mother had just moved. The mother was also injured as she tried to save her daughter. The report said the little girl suffered life-threatening injuries, so I don’t know if she lived or not.

This is another in an all-too-frequent story of dogs seriously injuring – or killing – innocent people and small animals.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 06, 2011

I was under the impression that my “new” house on Harlem Avenue SE was out of the tsunami inundation zone for the “Big One.” It wasn’t until I talked to Pauline Freitag, a long-time checker at Ray’s Food Place, did I learn that I was probably laboring under false illusions. She suggested I go onto the DOGAMI (Department of Geology and Mineral Industries) website and see for myself.

So I did.

And she’s right; the inundation zone goes clear out 11th to the hospital and covers the entire neighborhood where I live. That definitely changes my plan as to what to do when the Big One hits.

I figured our one-story frame house might be knocked off its foundation, but that we would be safe from the tsunami … that was until I looked closely at the map.

People are understandably worried about whether or not they are in the inundation zone, and the best way to find out is to log onto, and click on the tsunami link. Just put in your address and a color-coded map will appear. If you don’t have access to the Internet, just go down to City Hall and talk with Charli Davis in the planning department. I believe she has copies of the latest maps.

Where you live depends a lot on what you need to do to get prepared.

And that is an extremely important component … as I just found out.

*           *           *

I hate it when I see someone on TV that I should know, but I simply can’t figure out who it is. That’s the case with the new guy on the CapitolOne commercials. I knew he was a well-known actor, but I just couldn’t come up with his name. I began by Googling “CapitolOne TV commercials,” and although I did catch a glimpse of him, it didn’t say who he was. I thought he’d been married to Faye Dunaway, so I Googled “Bonnie and Clyde” to see if he’d been in that movie. No luck.

I was pretty sure he came from a large family of actors, so I Googled “four actors in the family,” and pretty much came up with nothing.

In one of the commercials, he referenced having played the part of a pilot, or maybe he was a pilot, and my mind immediately went to John Travolta, although I couldn’t remember his name either. So I Googled “father of Jett who died,” and the information popped right up. But I quickly determined the man I was looking for wasn’t John Travolta. Not one to give up I finally remembered that his first name might be “Alex,” so I Googled “Alex, the actor.”

And, guess what, although his name was actually Alec, it finally came up with Alec Baldwin, who is, of course, a member of a well-known family of actors.

You might say: why did it a matter?

In the grand scheme of things, it probably didn’t, but I was determined to figure it out, and with the help of Google, I did just that.

What’s Alec Baldwin doing making a TV commercial anyway?

*           *           *

Spring is finally in the air and with it comes the opening of some new businesses, and the expanding of others, which is definitely good news. Kim Jonas has expanded Kimberly’s Book Nook in the Continuum Center in Old Town. Not only does she have her small shop that opens onto Second Street, but she’s also rented the space behind her shop and has more than twice as many books in a much larger space.

Her shop is already a favorite with many locals, and with her much larger shop, she’s definitely ready for the summer season to begin. If you haven’t been into the Continuum lately, you will want to stop and take a look, pick up some art supplies at Bandon Art Supply, look at the beautiful imports at Gypsy Wagon, admire the beautiful jewelry and gifts at Whisky Run Jewelry, or enjoy a latte, a glass of wine or some delicious food at Jason Tree’s Pacific Blues. There’s also a new shop opening on the Pedway, but I’ll tell you about that when she’s officially opened.

I don’t know all the details, but I understand that a former employee of Tai’s Dynasty, a popular Chinese-food restaurant in North Bend, will soon be opening a restaurant in the building, which formerly housed Fraser’s Restaurant. I also understand that a gourmet sandwich shop will be opening on Chicago in the former Wild Rose building, and that Lloyd’s is set to re-open under the name Lloyd’s Old Town Tavern. And I think Al Greenfield is still on schedule to open his new restaurant in May at the end of First Street, which was most recently the Phoenix Grill.

I’ve also heard good things about the barbecue place that recently opened in the building across the highway from Price ‘n Pride and across Tenth Street from the former Fraser’s Restaurant.

Those of us who like to eat out will have a lot of places to choose from. And that’s good.

Margaret and Steve Pounder opened up their newly remodeled, and expanded, fish market on First Street just in time for spring break, and they have a good selection of fresh fish in addition to their very popular fish and chips, etc.

Things are definitely looking up.

*           *           *

I continue to question the judgment of lawmakers who keep coming up with a bunch of laws that are simply not enforceable. The latest (and I’m not sure it is actually law, or just something they are contemplating) would make it a $90 fine to toss a cigarette butt onto the sidewalk or street.

Of course I understand the frustration of those who have to clean up after careless smokers, but to expect our local police officers to write citations to someone who throws down a butt or smokes while walking along the sidewalk is far-fetched, at best. I seriously doubt that any police officer in this state has written a ticket to a business owner who allows someone to smoke within 10 feet of their front door, or window. It would even make more (a little) sense if the ticket went to the smoker, but it doesn’t. Figure that one out. If you’re a shop owner, and the law was to be enforced, you’d have to hire someone to stand guard on the front door to make sure a smoker didn’t walk by.

Cell phones, on the other hand, are another matter. I do know that at least one of our officers has written a great many tickets … and he’s not giving warnings. He figures everyone knows it’s against the law to drive while talking on a cell phone, which is pretty much a given (and that’s what happens: you are given a ticket if he sees you.)

*           *           *

I’ve heard plenty of comments of the condition of the “garbage dump” on SE 11th Street, which is owned by the Chappell family. It’s true, they did remove the façade of the house from the property, but what remained is 10 times worse. I do know that the owner has been cited into court, but it’s just a shame that such a horrible mess is allowed to exist right along one of the main arterial streets, leading to our hospital. There is a large container of some sort, which I am sure would hold most of the garbage that is lying around, not to mention the wide-open trailer house that is also abandoned, but is definitely an “attractive” nuisance for rodents and children. That’s a bureaucratic word, not based on reality; it’s anything but attractive.

One of my friends has offered to help me go and clean up the property.

But my guess is we could be cited for trespassing if the owner decided he didn’t want help cleaning up the property.

But heaven knows, someone needs to.

It’s impossible to expect other people to keep mounds of garbage off their property … if they don’t think there are any consequences if they don’t.

previous columns by mary schamehorn