As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 30, 2014

I've been getting so many positive comments about the old pictures that I've been posting, particularly those of the downtown (Old Town) area, that I thought I would share a couple more this week.

M&L Grocery
M&L Grocery is now a parking lot for the Minute Cafe

The first is one of the few pictures I have that actually shows all or part of M&L Grocery, which sat across from the Masonic building on the lot that is now a parking lot for The Minute Cafe. This is similar to the one I posted last week, but is from a different end of the block. There was always a small bit of vacant land between the grocery store and the Cafe. Next to that is the Golden Rule department store, which now houses six businesses and two apartments in the Continuum Center. Next to that is Croxall & Perry Grocery, where Dave's Radio & TV is now. Across the street is Erdman's Market (now the expanded Lloyd's), the smaller version of Lloyd's is next to Erdman's. This one picture shows all three of Bandon's grocery stores in the late '50s.

The Fountain Lunch
The Fountain Lunch in 1963 is now the Alloro Wine Bar

The second picture, taken during the 1963 Cranberry Festival (wow was that really 50 years ago), is one of the best of this area. The Fountain Lunch (Sadye's) is now Alloro. Next to that was Ottilie's beauty shop (now Bandon Coffee Cafe); next to that, but set back a bit from the street, was Reta Garten and Alda Mars' liquor shop and living quarters. Just west was Fred Tuttle's soda fountain, which was adjacent to the Bandon Theater, where I lived upstairs in the apartment for seven years back in the late '60s and early '70s. Where the theater once stood is now a vacant lot, which recently has housed several sculptures from Washed Ashore. Capps Motor Company, the Ford dealership, is on the corner of Second and Chicago, in the building now housing McFarlin's and Washed Ashore (Harbortown Center.)

1963 Cranberry Festival Parade
1963 Cranberry Festival Parade

The third picture shows the two buildings east of Sadye's (fountain lunch): Walt and Pearl Ingwersen's Bandon Shoe Repair and McNair Hardware (which later burned when a burglar used a blow torch to open the safe, starting a fire that destroyed the building).

I have so many pictures to share that sometimes I don't know how to choose which ones to feature. Judy Knox and I have talked about having a space in the Old Town Market and bringing some of our old pictures so people can enjoy them and help us identify people and places.

*           *           *

There are several events going on in town Saturday, including Mackenzie's anti-bullying free concert, beginning at 2 o'clock at Washed Ashore in the Harbortown Events Center. Mackenzie Williams is the nine-year-old daughter of Joni Luther Williams and her husband, Marc, and she is tired of kids bullying other kids.

Scheduled to perform at the free concert are her aunt, Mary Luther, and Stillwater Reserve, Done Deal, Candace Kreitlow, and Kenny, Bob and Rob.

Mackenzie wonders why "we can't all get along," and her dream is for bullying to stop.

That is certainly an admirable goal and it is neat that she is bringing awareness to bullying.

And, believe me, it's not just kids that are bullies. I know a few adults who could fit into that category.

Also on Saturday afternoon, between 1 and 4 p.m., the Bandon Historical Society Museum will be showcasing its new cheese exhibit.

This is also the first weekend (Friday and Saturday) for the new season of the Old Town Market, which is sure to bring a lot of people to town.

*           *           *

Last week's budget committee meeting ended on a fairly upsetting note, but to fully appreciate what went on, you need to view the tape. I do not have the schedule for its showing on Channel 14 (Charter) or Channel 73 (Comspan), but I do know that you can access it through streaming video on your computer by going to The first couple of hours are presentations by various agencies seeking revenue sharing funds; it's after that portion of the meeting that things get dicey. You may want to watch it for yourself as it's hard to explain what happened.

*           *           *

While reading the front page of this week's Western World, I nearly had a heart attack when I read that the city's budget was proposing an overall rate increase of 45 percent for electric, water and sewer. I immediately calculated what that would mean for my utility bill, which averages about $150 a month. That would mean an increase of $67.50 a month on my bill.

But beneath the large headline, and above the first paragraph, which contained the 45 percent figure, a subhead said the proposed hike would amount to about $15.19 per utility customer, based on about a water usage of 5,000 gallons a month. And that is correct!!

If you read the entire story, you would realize that the largest part of your monthly bill is, of course, the electricity, and that is proposed to go up just over 5 percent. The water rate is proposed to go up 27 percent and the sewer rate is proposed to go up 13.2 percent. At this time, we have some of the lowest utility rates in the county. For just the bare minimum for water and sewer, the people of Powers pay $82.50 a month.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for our customers, you cannot add those three rate increases together to come up with a 45 percent rate increase ... because the largest part of your bill is only increasing by less than 6 percent ... not 45 percent.

I just pray that people will read the rest of the story (which is very factual) before they figure out what a 45 percent increase would mean on their total utility bill, grab a picket sign and head down to City Hall.

My first call was to the city manager, who had not yet seen the paper. He explained what I was pretty sure I already knew, that there was absolutely no way that people's bills were going to increase 45 percent ...

The proposed $15.19 increase is something that I am sure a lot of people could live with, considering that we have long had the lowest utility rates in the area.

But that will be, at least in part, up to the voters.

*           *           *

David Walker is one of my favorite TV anchors, but I was surprised at a big "boo-boo" in his news report Wednesday. He said now that tax season is over, he wondered what "people would do with their returns."

My first thought was: I hope they filed them on time or at least applied for an extension.

He added that he had tips as to how people could stretch their money, which finally made sense. He was talking about their tax refunds . . . not their returns.

But that's what happens when you're live . . .and have no time to edit.

*           *           *

As I was flipping through the channels Saturday night, I came across Dateline with a story that I was sadly very familiar with. It was the story of the abduction of Brooke Wilberger, whose parents, Cammy Horner Wilberger and Greg Wilberger, were both graduates of Myrtle Point High School and still have many relatives in the area.

At the time that Brooke, then 19, was abducted, she had just finished her freshman year at BYU and was working for her sister and brother-in-law at a housing complex in Corvallis. She was out in the parking lot when a man in a green van pulled up and asked her a question. When she got closer to the van, he pulled her inside, raped and killed her. But it was five long agonizing years before the family found out where he had buried her, about five miles outside of Philomath, which is a small town near Corvallis.

The Dateline interview, which first aired in 2011, was with Cammy Wilberger, her son and daughter, and by the time it was over I was crying. I covered the story at length because at the time of her abduction I was editor of the Myrtle Point Herald, and it was definitely a local story.

Had it not been that the killer, Joel Courtney, had abducted another woman in New Mexico (who managed to escape), they might never have found him or her body. (This is reminiscent of the man who was killed by a school resource officer in front of Portland's Wilson High School last week. One young woman had already escaped his van; to make sure that didn't happen again he had equipped it with chains and handcuffs. Police found a list of 20 young women that he was stalking. Thank God they killed him before he was successful.)

In a plea deal involving the Wilberger family, Courtney agreed to tell authorities where he had buried the body in exchange for serving his life sentence in New Mexico (near his family) rather than in Oregon. But it took both governors to agree before it could be carried out . . . and all the while the family was waiting to find her body. Governor Kitzhaber immediately signed off on the agreement, but it took a call by Cammy Wilberger to the office of then governor Bill Richardson to finally get New Mexico to agree.

It was painful watching the story unfold on the two-hour-long TV show, especially at the end when Cammy publicly thanked Courtney (who was in the courtroom) for finally telling them where he had buried their daughter.

Talk about gut wrenching . . . .

*           *           *

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Maureen Albrich Fagen of Chicago, the daughter of my long-time friend Jean Albrich of Portland, had run in the Boston Marathon.

But what I didn't know at the time was that BHS graduate Ellen Goddard, 27, daughter of Anne and Donnie Goddard, also ran the marathon, with Anne and Ellen's two sisters, Bess and Clare, watching her run (along with Anne's sister and several other relatives). Ellen lives in Seattle.

Jean Albrich called me Saturday because she was part of a bus tour that was en route from San Francisco back to Eugene and they stopped in Bandon for lunch. Jean and I were having coffee at the Bakery when Anne Goddard walked by. Jean taught school here for many years and she and the Goddard family are good friends. It was fun watching them share phone photos of their families, including pictures of both girls running the Boston Marathon.

Anne will retire next year after 40 years teaching elementary grades (first grade for many years) in Bandon. She will definitely be missed as she is an outstanding teacher.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 23, 2014

Since the Bandon Museum is highlighting cheese during the month of May, with a special program Saturday, May 3, from 1 to 4, I thought this might be a great time to share some of my old cheese factory photos (from 1958) along with one which I purchased off eBay this week.

I have never seen the photo that I purchased this week (for just over $25). It was an old press photo taken a week after the fire (Oct. 1, 1936), with the remains of the cheese factory prominent in the foreground, and across the highway, the house where I grew up and next to it the house where my uncle and aunt, Clyde and Nellie Stearns, lived.

Bandon Cheese Factory after the 1936 fire
In the foreground is what remained of the cheese factory after the 1936 fire.
The houses across the highway were saved.

It was not until I read Dow Beckham's book, "Bandon-by-the-Sea," did I know the role that my uncle (who served both on the city council and the port commission during his many years in Bandon) played in saving several mills along the waterfront.

Here's what Dow had to say: "The Bandon fire won the overall victory, but Clyde Stearns and the Marshfield fire crew helped to save north Bandon and the Planing Mill, as well as the large Moore (later Moore Mill) sawmill. The twisted metal of the creamery equipment (which you will see clearly in the picture that I am sharing in my column) showed that it was a miracle that saved Stearns' house as well as the Coats and York (later purchased by my father) homes bordering Ferry Creek. Stearns fought the fire about his home until fear for the safety of his family caused him to take them to Bear Creek. The York family and Mrs. Coats (who lived in a big house where the sewage treatment plant now stands and is visible in the left of the photo) had already left. Stearns returned to his home. He climbed on the roof to fight sparks when the creamery ammonia tanks exploded. The blast blew him to the ground, but he was not seriously hurt. The Marshfield firemen arrived and started pumping out of Ferry Creek. They kept the fire from crossing north of the creek and the firemen gained control of the fire thereby saving three homes. Their efforts kept the fire from destroying the main industrial plants of Bandon as well as many homes in that area."

In the center of the picture, you can see four large milk containers still standing amid the twisted wreckage of what once had been the cheese factory.

The home on the right is the one I grew up in and the one in the center is the Stearns home, which my family later purchased. Both are now owned by Nancy and Michael Mascio. Because of where the photographer was standing, it makes it look like the cheese factory was in the front yard of the houses, but it was actually on the other side of the highway, west of where it now stands.

The other pictures that I am posting show the milk cans being unloaded at the cheese factory built after the fire. I have a considerable number of cheese factory negatives in my collection, which I have shared with the museum and they will be part of the exhibit on display throughout the month of May.

a dairy farmer unloads milk at the Coquille Valley Dairy Co-op in 1958
A dairy farmer unloads milk at the Coquille Valley Dairy Co-op in 1958

Co-op employee John Gardner dumps milk into the hopper in 1958
Co-op employee John Gardner dumps milk into the hopper in 1958

I plan to share my latest "find" with them, as well.

If it weren't for my friend, Brian Vick, I wouldn't have known about the picture. He searches the Internet for pictures of Bandon pretty much on a daily basis, and he emailed me to see if I was interested, which, of course, I was.

Just another piece of Bandon's history . . .

*           *           *

This was the 20th year for the annual Bandon Rotary Club wine and cheese event, and they did a bang-up job, as usual.

The hors d' oeuvres were catered by Coastal Mist, and there was plenty of gourmet food for everyone.

I am not sure they had as large an attendance as in past years, but there was seating for everyone, which makes it comfortable and easy to get up, move about and bid on their auction items.

The ticket prices were $35 this year, but considering the food and the huge array of wonderful cheeses (chaired by Rotarian Joe Sinko), it was well worth the price. Plus, the Port Orford Rotary Club held their event a few days earlier . . . and they charged $50 a ticket.

I did hear several people say they would have attended had it not been on Easter weekend (the night before Easter is Holy Saturday for many churchgoers), but I understand the Community Center calendar was filling up fast, and this was the best available date. Next Saturday night is the annual Bash for Cash, which is always a fun event, as well.

The Rotarians put in a lot of hard work and extra effort to make this a wonderful evening out, and it's always important to keep in mind that this is their biggest fundraiser, with proceeds going toward their charitable work.

It's always fun to see people that you haven't seen for years, and this time it was the former Lisa Beazizo, who attended with her husband and her sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Jeff Sober. Lisa, who was raised in Bandon, now lives in Redding, Calif.

*           *           *

It was good news to hear that Bandon Pizza, who was one of the casualties from the "repurposing" at the Bandon Shopping Center, is heading to a new location ... and with new owners.

I understand that long-time employee Donna Jones, and her husband, Jim, are finally carrying though with their earlier plans to purchase the business from Bev Worden and will soon be opening in the Fern Park Business Center on Baltimore Avenue, east of the North Bend Medical Center Clinic.

Bev and her late husband, J.C., had been in the shopping center for over 20 years and had built a great business.

It sounds like everything is working out great for both Bev and Donna and Jim, which is good news for their loyal customers.

Brees, who had also been evicted because they did not have a lease, will be closing for a few days as they prepare to move into their new shop on Highway 101 next to Juul Insurance and across from the former Bandon Pharmacy, which has been purchased by Barry and Lori Osborne. It will be the home of the much expanded liquor store, which will give that end of town a big lift.

*           *           *

The City Council received an unusual request last week, and when a decision was finally reached, it was considerably "watered down" from the intent, but was at least a compromise that the majority of the council could live with.

Stephen Brown, tobacco prevention coordinator for the Coos County Health Department, asked that we tell Rite Aid that they could not sell cigarettes from their local store because they are basically a pharmacy (and the two don't mesh).

His request was met with some pretty stiff opposition, and it was finally agreed on a 5-1 vote (Chris Powell voted no) to simply ask Rite Aid not to sell cigarettes. The vote carries no weight and I am pretty sure the large pharmacy chain will continue to sell tobacco products until they become illegal (plus people can purchase them next door at Ray's, which would pretty much defeat the purpose of such a restriction.)

What I found ironic is that later on the agenda was the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries and whether we should put an even longer moratorium on allowing them to open inside the city limits . . . and Mr. Brown did not stay to comment.

Just after I wrote this, I received an answer to my question about how he feels about medical marijuana. He said he has taken a public stance about legalization and sale of marijuana. "I believe that if it is shown to have some valuable medical properties, then extracts, which do exist, are available by prescription through pharmacies. It is more than a bit ridiculous to have separate 'medical' marijuana dispensaries and I agree that most marijuana users are causing far more health problems than they might be alleviating. I don't believe that smoking any drug is a good way of getting the drug into ones system. I do not believe in making either tobacco or marijuana illegal, but I do think we should restrict profiting from sales and advertising of addictive and dangerous substances.

"I would say that I find it interesting that the city council takes up the issue of marijuana dispensaries without my prompting, but without my input would ignore the issue of sales of tobacco, which is linked to more than a quarter of the annual deaths in Coos County each year. At this point, tobacco is by far a more deadly drug. It is the number one preventable cause of death, disease and disability, yet it is sold openly in the new Rite Aid 'Wellness Center.' Something's not right there," said Brown.

*           *           *

On the issue of Medical Marijuana dispensaries, I read an article from the Grants Pass Daily Courier indicating that the Cave Junction City Council voted to seek a declaratory judgment in federal court regarding dispensaries, since marijuana is illegal under federal law.

It will be interesting to see where this one goes . . .

The front page of the City Region section contained an interesting article about a shooting in Springfield. It seems that two medical marijuana caregivers (both in the mid-20s) brought $14,000 cash to a parking lot where they were to meet a man who had agreed to sell them 8 pounds of marijuana.

Instead the 21-year-old who was to provide the marijuana shot one of the men, who lived to testify against him.

It's not clear what a caregiver would be doing with that kind of cash, but the writer calls it "a planned drug deal that went awry."

I have absolutely no problem with people who truly need medical marijuana; it's the others I am concerned about.

*           *           *

On a lighter note, things were going along pretty smoothly this afternoon after I decided to get the lawn mowed before the rain sets in. It was at that point that things began to go "south."

I used my nearly new coil-type hose to fill my hot tub, and discovered it had a huge hole in it, so I ended up spraying everything on my deck while getting a few drops of water into the tub.

I headed into the garage to close things up before I began writing my column, only to find a tiny little bird flying back and forth, seemingly unwilling to go outside even though I opened both doors and pleaded with him.

Now that I've finished my column and it's almost dark I'll go back out to the garage and see if he finally decided to fly away. If not, I'm not sure what I'll do (except leave him a little bit of bird seed and close the doors).

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 16, 2014

I've been approached by several people lately who say they really love to see the old pictures that I've posted, and especially when I identify what is there now if it involves a picture of a building or an area of town.

The one I am sharing this week was taken during the Cranberry Festival parade in 1959, and judging from the mud puddle in the foreground, I'd say it was probably raining (although you wouldn't know it by the scantily clad youth riding behind the Harbor Lights Junior High School float.) Maybe someone will recognize No. 81 on the football team.

1959 Bandon, Oregon Cranberry Festival Parade
1959 Bandon, Oregon Cranberry Festival Parade

You can barely read the writing on the float in front of the junior high one, but with a magnifying glass I can see that it is the first grade float.

But it's the background in the picture, which is interesting. You can see all the way down Second Street between Chicago Avenue and Alabama. On the corner, where Lynn Davies' toy store now sits, is Merritt J. Senter's real estate and insurance office. He and his wife, Irene, operated their business for many years, and Merritt was a long-time and very active member of the Bandon Chamber of Commerce. If I recall correctly, he served as secretary for many years. Merritt (in the hat he always wore) and Irene (in a plastic rain cap) can be seen watching the parade in front of their store, alongside long-time band director Lew Wright and his wife, Alice, who flank teacher Joe Thomas.

Next to the Senter Agency is the Bandon Florist & Gift Shop (home now to another of Lynn's gift shops); next to that is Ray's Pharmacy, and next to that is Boone's Hardware, which is now the home of Lynn's Bandon Card & Gift Shoppe. Although it is hidden by a tree on the float, the business next to Boone's Hardware would have been the Pastime Tavern (now Sweets & Treats), and next to it, the much smaller version of Lloyd's Cafe. Next to it on the corner, with the sign visible in the picture, is Erdman's City Market (now occupied by the larger Lloyds). In the "old days" the restaurant was in the front of the business (where the entry to the bar is now) and the bar was in the back. It expanded later, but I'm not sure what year that was.

Crossing Baltimore Avenue, you can clearly see the sign for Croxall & Perry Grocery (where Dave's TV is now located). Next to that, in what is now the Continuum Center, was the Golden Rule Department Store, owned for many years by Bob and Margaret Norton (parents of Barbara McMahon). This was my favorite store, and I can truly say I helped support them for many years. I can still remember the bright green Melton wool Pendleton coat that I bought when I first started working at Western World ... and could afford things like that. I wish I still had it today. You simply don't find quality like that today.

Next to the Golden Rule, the "Cafe" sign for The Minute Cafe is visible in the picture, and next to that, on the corner where the Minute's parking lot is today, sat the M&L (Moore and Lorenz) Grocery store.

It's interesting that in those days, there were three grocery stores within a little more than a block of each other and two pharmacies (I am pretty sure Shindler's was on the other side of the street where Winter River books now sits). I also have an old picture taken along that side of the street, which I will share in another column.

I have so many fond memories of wandering around downtown (it wasn't called Old Town in those days) because we grew up just a few blocks down the street across from the cheese factory (now Face Rock Creamery).

Of course, as I walked to town, I would go past both Chappell's Chevron and the Shell Station, the old Coast Lumber, and the Bob Otto Court (where the "new" Shell station sits today), which survived the Bandon fire of 1936.

Things look decidedly different now . . .but it's always fun to travel down memory lane, brought back vividly by the negatives I am scanning into my computer.

*           *           *

Congratulations go out to Bandon resident Ginny Hall, who is the new branch manager for Bank of America in North Bend. Some years back, she was the loan officer for Sterling Savings Bank, so she has a lot of banking experience. She also trained in the local Bank of America branch before assuming her new job.

I am sure this is the dream job she has been seeking . . . and I wish her well in her new venture.

*           *           *

I was saddened to read about another young person, allegedly fueled by alcohol, who decided to try some dare-devil trick, which resulted in him jumping off the 65-foot-high Johnson Mountain Bridge at Powers last Sunday. The news report said that his friends urged him not to jump, but a friend said instead one of those present videoed the jump.

Derrick Yarnell was a star athlete at Coquille, where he graduated in 2012. As a senior he was football co-defensive player of the year in the Sunset Conference and a first-team, all-state selection for Class 3A. He was also first-team all-league in both baseball and football his junior and senior year.

I have driven over Johnson Mountain Bridge many times, heading into the mountains, or walked across it after my friend and I had flown into the grass landing strip just across the bridge.

The article said this wasn't the first time Yarnell had dived off that bridge, but apparently his luck ran out this time.

I understand he was the cousin of Shelby Jones' boyfriend (Shelby is the daughter of Susie Korenko Jones and her husband). Their whole family knew the youth well and are devastated by his death.

So often we read about young people taking outlandish chances . . . and the "elephant in the room" is generally alcohol or drugs . . . or a combination of the two. I can't imagine any sober person diving off the Johnson Mountain Bridge into the rock-filled river below.

Although the news article about the death indicated that "drugs and alcohol were involved," friends say that if "drugs" were involved at all . . . it was just marijuana. I personally still consider this a drug, but I guess it's so common these days that when people talk about someone using "drugs" they are talking heroin, meth or cocaine (or the latest drug of choice, abuse of prescriptive drugs).

At any rate, it is a tragic loss of a young man who was beginning to get his life together and had recently started a job in Coquille.

*           *           *

I've learned that one of my favorite people, Earla Daoust, 86, is in the hospital in Eugene and because of her health, probably won't be coming back to Bandon. She will be staying in Eugene to be closer to her son Bill and his wife. Earla was a mainstay at St. John's Episcopal Church and the last time I talked to her over a year ago, she was suffering from undiagnosed dizzy spells and apparently her health has not gotten better in the last year.

For many years, she was in charge of costumes for some of Bandon Playhouse's most lavish productions, and in later years had some superb help from Lani Reynolds, owner of the Patina shop in the Continuum Center off the Pedway, who has a fashion background.

One of the most tragic things I remember is when Earla's husband, Ken, crashed his small airplane at Beach Junction after circling their home to let her know he and their grandson were landing at the airport. Both of them died instantly.

But in her true "can-do" spirit, Earla continued to make a wonderful life in Bandon and is loved and respected by all who know her. Hopefully she will get better under the nurturing eyes of her family.

*           *           *

The Boston Marathon was the subject of several TV programs this week as people remember the horrific bombing, which occurred at the end of the race a year ago.

A former Bandon woman, Maureen Albrich Fagen, who now lives in Wilmette, Ill., is among those who will be running in the race. She's the daughter of my long-time friend, Jean O'Neill Albrich, who recently moved to Portland after living in Pendleton since leaving Bandon 30 years ago. Maureen recently underwent emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina, but last week her doctor cleared her to run the Marathon even though she will be required to wear prescription sun glasses.

Maureen and her husband have three children, and I am sure they will all be there cheering her on. The race is next Monday, April 21.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 09, 2014

I've had several people ask me in recent months why one of their favorite Mexican restaurants, La Fiesta, has been closed for nearly three months. Although I knew what had happened, I needed to confirm it with a family member before I could share it with my readers.

The restaurant, which sits on First Street across from the boat basin, has been owned for many years by Martin Ruiz and his family. But Martin got a call that his sister, her husband and their two children had been in a bad car crash in Mexico. His sister was killed; his brother-in-law was critically injured and both children suffered broken bones. So he left immediately to be with his family in Mexico.

A friend talked to Martin's father last week and he said that he expects Martin to be returning to Bandon soon and reopening the popular restaurant. He did say that his brother-in-law is having a very difficult time coping with the loss of his wife, and our prayers go out to him and his family.

*           *           *

While reading Saturday's Wall Street Journal (ironically in an editorial piece written by one of the Koch brothers), I came across something pretty profound, which applies to a lot of what I've been reading lately.

He quotes the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who said: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." I'd change that a bit to say, "Everyone is entitled to HER own opinion, but not to HER own facts."

But you get the message . . .

*           *           *

After learning that the Ferry Creek dam had sprung a leak, people have asked what is happening out there.

An engineer from The Dyer Partnership sent Matt an email last week indicating he had talked with John Thorpe of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding the dams at the fish hatchery. "Good news, I think," said the engineer, Michael Dees.

He explained what has taken place, in technical terms, but adds: "unless they discover something quite unexpected, ODFW expects that the urethane grout injected under the spillway will be a permanent fix and that no other repairs will be required except for the removal of brush and trees on the dam slope."

That is the kind of news we'd been hoping for . . .

*           *           *

While reading Brice Wagner's column in the Port Orford News I learned that several area men recently had a narrow escape.

Brice says that a local Sixes professional road builder and his employees had a brush with death March 27 up Elk River at the site of a landslide. Peter David Bussmann and his employees, Tim Hunter of Elk River and Rocky Kistner (Iva and Doug's son) had driven up Elk River to take a look at the slide area.

They stopped their rig in the slide area and were looking up and around the area.

Peter David said, "I think this is a bad spot to be," so he quickly moved ahead. As he did, all of a sudden the mountain started caving down violently. It was estimated that there must have been a thousand yards of material bury the Elk River road in seconds.

"Had Peter David Bussmann not had some kind of instinct, they all would have been killed, buried in tons of boulders," writes Wagner.

In light of what happened last week in Oso, Wash., this is pretty frightening.

He said this is the fourth time the mountainside has caved off this winter. His article was accompanied by a picture, which shows huge boulders covering the road.

*           *           *

I had quite a bit of information about mosquitoes, which I had planned to share this week, but until it quits raining (even though several people have already spotted mosquitoes), I'll hold off as it's hard to empty containers . . . when it's raining outside.

*           *           *

I have always been hesitant to E-file my taxes . . .and now I know why. Completing my taxes on Turbo Tax, I was pretty proud of myself when it encouraged people to E-file, and I decided to go ahead, even though I owed money. But following the prompting, I filed (or so I thought), provided my credit card number and forgot all about it. That was in mid-March.

But two weeks later I received a call from the bookkeeper for the Halls (who bought the Herald) advising me that they had provided an incorrect EIN number. She said it probably meant I would have to re-file my taxes, although several said I wouldn't have to, or at least I should wait until I heard from the IRS. But I was pretty worried about what it meant to file an amended return so I started investigating.

While looking at an IRS website, I learned that people choosing to E-file would receive a confirmation, usually within 24 hours. It had now been two weeks and I had received no confirmation.

After waiting on hold for 25 minutes, I finally reached the IRS and learned that I had NOT filed my taxes.

So what was originally an extreme irritant turned out to be a "Godsend" since I would not have known that I had not filed . . . until I received a letter and a penalty from the IRS.

I went back into Turbo Tax, plugged in the correct EIN, printed off the return, wrote a check and mailed it off.

Needless to say I will never again consider E-filing.

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Rose Anne Gates, owner of Begin Agains in the Bandon Shopping Center, has asked me to let my readers know that throughout the month of April she will be collecting canned foods at her shop for the Good Neighbors food program.

Rose Anne is no stranger to helping with programs that assist people in our community, and this is just one more way she is contributing.

She is one of the many consummate volunteers that do so much for our community.

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I attended the latest play by New Artists Productions (the Almich family) titled "Wagon Wheels-a-Rollin," and found it extremely enjoyable. It is amazing to me how children that young learn their lines and carry their roles off so well.

It opens with a very young boy (maybe four or five) heading slowing across the stage, adjusting his hat and walking into the Vinegar Bottle Sarsaparilly Saloon. The audience clapped appreciatively. It was the start of a fun afternoon.

Their next show is "Cinderella" slated for July 11-13 and 18-20. I love that story and certainly won't miss it.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

April 02, 2014

Having spent a recent afternoon going through my late mother's things as we prepare to rent her house, I am becoming more and more interested in the history of Bandon (since both she and my father were born here).

One of my "finds" in a box that was headed for a rummage sale was a scrapbook belonging to my sister, Molly, from her junior high and high school days back in the '60s.

The first thing I discovered was a letter dated Nov. 3, 1936, (a little over a month after the devastating Bandon Fire of 1936) which had been sent by my mother's godmother, Erma Boyle Best, to my grandmother. Erma and her husband, Bill, had lived in Bandon at the time of the Fire, but had relocated to a home at the Sweetbrier Mine in southern Oregon near the town of Riddle. I'm not sure how the letter ended up in Molly's scrapbook, but it was a fascinating first-person piece of history, and my mother had written on the back who Erma was and where the Sweetbriar Mine was located. At first I thought it said Sweetbriar, Min., but did not realize it was here in Oregon until I finished reading the nine-page letter and saw my mother's notation.

I am also busy reading Dow Beckham's book "Bandon-by-the-Sea . . . Hope and Perseverance in a Southwestern Oregon Town." I've had the book for years, but this is the first time I have read it page for page, and I am learning so much about the town I have called home for nearly 75 years.

But back to Erma's letter to my grandmother. I will share just a few paragraphs. She opens by thanking my grandmother for the letter. "I could almost fancy myself with you. Am glad to know that you can take it. 'Your head is bloody, but unbowed' in the face of disaster. Same here. Don't dare to do anything but laugh if off, or else ....

"Sometimes after I'm in bed it's pretty hard to beat the game, and I roam restlessly thru the old house, but in the daytime I manage mostly to think only of the funny things, such as Dad's priceless query, 'did we save his shell vest?' He was out here (in Riddle) for which I am thankful. Then there is Mr. Runnel's magnificent offer to let us have all our sterling at cost. Every time I drink out of an agate cup with no saucer, I laugh over that."

She goes on to explain that they didn't save very much because by the time a friend pounded on their door at 9:30 that fateful night, the house next door had already exploded in flames.

My grandparents, on the other hand, were not so fortunate. They saved nothing as they (along with my uncle Lou Felshiem) were in Florence for the weekend and my mother was in Eugene where she was starting her sophomore year at the University of Oregon.

I know that the museum is having their annual Bandon Fire anniversary program and this year I may ask if I can share more of this letter with people who love to hear the first-person stories about the Fire.

Also among my mother's treasures was an original Western World printed just after the fire that destroyed most of the business district in June of 1914, and I think it would make an interesting history lesson since the 100-year anniversary is coming up in a few months. My grandparents moved here in late 1912 or early 1913.

As I read through Dow Beckham's book, which was printed in 1997, I am blown away by the huge number of fires that this town has experienced over the years. I am actually considering trying to find out more about some of these tragedies (like the fire that destroyed the Presbyterian Church April 17, 1911) and compiling them into book form.

But it's time to get back to current events as I am sure not everyone is as interested in Bandon history as I am learning to be.

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Since the City and the Planning Commission both held meetings on the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries, we were expecting a big crowd. But that didn't happen. Only one person spoke at the council's special meeting, and I believe there were only about 7 or 8 who attended the planning commission meeting, which had been moved to The Barn because of the expected crowd.

The council agreed to a 120-day moratorium, but still has the option of a moratorium of up to a year (which is allowed as a result of action taken by the Oregon Legislature after the City had advertised saying we were considering the 120-day moratorium).

The planning commission is studying the issue from a zoning perspective, including where should they be located?

Representative Wayne Krieger (R-Gold Beach) called me this week, and he said that his Party pretty much wanted to allow cities and counties to ban them outright, but in order to pass SB 1531, they had to agree to the compromise of a one-year ban (and only if a jurisdiction files for it by May 1).

Since planning commission meetings are now being taped by PEG Broadcast Services, people can watch the meetings on their TV if they have either Charter (channel 14) or ComSpan (channel 73). If not they can watch it on streaming video on their computer by going to

The schedule for the planning commission (they do not tape special meetings of the council) for the week of March 29 through April 4 (Charter) and March 31 to April 6 (ComSpan) is 10:50 a.m. and 4:10 and 9:30 p.m. daily.

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I've been hearing rumors lately that infer somehow that the City of Bandon owns the new Face Rock Creamery. Nothing could be further from the truth, but since there still seems to be questions, I am going to share what I know about how this all came about.

The City of Bandon Urban Renewal Agency purchased the land, built the public parking lot, the public restrooms, paid for the realignment of Third Street and the undergrounding of the utilities.

The City/URA then leased the site on which the building sits to Face Rock Creamery. Face Rock Creamery obtained their financing from Craft 3 Bank, the Port of Bandon Business Development Fund and Business Oregon. Neither the City of Bandon nor the Urban Renewal Agency has ONE DIME invested in either the building or the business of Face Rock Creamery. That was totally private investment.

Face Rock Creamery is a wonderful private-public partnership that provides a big boost for local tourism, provides jobs for local people and is a decided bright spot for Coos County.

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This week I received a big packet of beautiful religious Christmas cards. There was only one problem: the messages were all in Spanish as was the solicitation from Misiones Salesians of New Rochelle, NY., who expected me to pay for these unwanted "gifts."

This is the second group of Spanish cards that I have received in recent weeks, and I can't for the life of me figure out how I could have gotten on someone's list of possible donors. The only thing in English in the whole packet was my name and address. At least I could read that.

I kept the cards in case I can find someone who would want them, and sent the company a note indicating that I do not speak a word of Spanish and suggested that they were wasting their money in sending these cards to me.

I am curious if others have received solicitations like these.

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But there is something way more irritating. In the last two weeks I have received 13 robo-type calls asking me if I want to lower my credit card interest rate. What I really want is for them to stop calling me, although it appears to be several different companies, or at least they are using several different numbers (731-548-7024, 401-515-4756, etc.) but the message is always the same.

One time I called the number back, but got a recorded message saying that the number could not receive calls and suggested I contact one of two numbers, which I did. It turned out to be the number for AT&T, who, of course, knew nothing about it.

Saturday morning I received another one. I decided to stay on the line and press "1" for more information. A surly sounding guy came on the line and I said "what I really want is for you to take me off your calling list before I am forced to call the feds."

The guy said "if you aren't interested in lowering your interest rate, I can't help you." I then said, "how do I get you to stop calling me?"

He nastily answered: "We are not going to, so do whatever you have to do, ok."

My guess is that had I played their little game and given them my credit card number, someone would begin charging things to my card. But I don't intend to do that.

If anyone has an idea what I should do (short of changing my cell phone number), I'd appreciate it. You can email me at (I'd say call me, but I'm getting very leery about answering my phone these days.)

previous columns by mary schamehorn