As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 29, 2012

I cry every time I drive by my once beautiful river-front property in Powers. The worst thing I could have done was to rent it. My first renters, who I now term Deliverance One, at least paid their rent on time. When I rented to them five or six years ago, the place was immaculate . . . turquoise carpeting, three-tone wall paint to match . . and fully furnished. The guy even asked for a five-year lease, and since they were up-to-date on their rent, I wrote it for him. A few months later, he died. I even offered to let his widow live there at half the rent they'd been paying ... that, of course, was because I had never visited the property after they first rented it.

She appreciated my offer but said she was moving to Bridge, and assured me that she and her sister-in-law had cleaned it up so I did not have to worry. It was essentially ready to rent again.

But before I did, I decided to visit the property.

What I saw was straight out of a horror magazine. It would be impossible to describe unless you've rented to the same kind of people.

My once beautiful carpets were black; the paint was stripped off the walls, all my furniture was ruined; they had cut wood in the sunroom, flies were everywhere and my antique cook stove was lying rusted in the yard. Oh yes, they had removed the perfectly good refrigerator, which was left to rust on the deck. Garbage was everywhere, lying alongside whatever of my possessions they decided to get rid of, and the foundation, which I had used on another part of the 1.77-acre property (with 260 feet of river frontage) to burn wood scraps, was filled with years of their household garbage ... what they didn't have room for inside the house. The worst thing they did, because they installed a wood stove, was to cut down a very old, and very large, mock hickory chestnut tree just outside my kitchen window, to use for firewood. To say I was devastated was an understatement.

But a friend of mine said she would help clean it up and she had the perfect people to rent it. Actually, she acknowledged later, she didn't really know them, but they needed help. I gave them the first month's rent free so they could spend time cleaning up the house.

That was six months ago, and twice in that period, they've had their utilities turned off, and the owner of the property is responsible. Last month the City said they used 45,000 gallons of water and they ended up with a $400 utility bill. The city turned them off and sent me the bill. And of course, they are still a month and a half behind on their rent, but by some miracle they went down to City Hall and paid the utility bill. That was a relief, so even though I haven't received a dime since mid-July, at least I am not faced with a $400 utility bill.

They are now termed "Deliverance Two."

I just came home from Powers, and before I left town, I drove over to look at my property. I figured it wasn't best to confront them when I was alone, but one look at it told me all I needed to know.

Thank heavens I took a lot of pictures of the place when I lived there in the mid-90s for four years ... to remind me just how beautiful it can be.

I have definitely learned my lesson and as soon as I can get them out of there, I plan to put it up for sale, or at least the river-front acre.

I'm not tough enough to be a landlord.

*           *           *

I was so happy to find the recycling bin adjacent to Western World and I often would drive over there late at night to deposit my newspapers and other recyclables, without having to worry about driving through the sometimes glass-strewn parking lot at the recycling center south of town, which is only open on Saturdays.

But lately, I noticed the bin at W.W. was piled so high with garbage that no one could have even put a piece of newsprint in, so I called Bill Richardson from Bandon Sanitation and asked if it could be dumped.

Within a few hours, Sandy from Western World called and asked that they remove it completely because she was tired of picking up bags of garbage, which were left alongside of it when it was full.

When she called, Bill said, "Oh yes, the mayor just called about that." When Amy told me, I was pretty upset. I told her that all I had asked was they dump it before it blew all over town, and I called Bill Richardson immediately and left a message on his phone urging him not to remove it.

But I guess I was too late, or he didn't care what I thought, because the handiest bin in Bandon is now gone.

And it's back to Saturday mornings at the dirty, sometimes crowded bins south of town where everything is tossed in together under the guise of recycling.

How much better it would be if they would put a few around town that would allow people to recycle when they wanted to ... not on their limited schedule.

But I guess that's too much to ask ....

*           *           *

Having taken care of my friend's dog for three days, and walking him twice a day at Coquille Point, I have a new appreciation for how people feel when they aren't sure just how vicious the dog coming toward them (leashed or not) may be. Fortunately I had no encounters, but I read in the sheriff's log Sunday that a woman was walking her dog on the New River Trail (south of Bandon in Curry County) when her dog was attacked by another dog. Both the woman and her dog suffered minor injuries; I'm sure she suffered her injuries when she tried to protect her own dog.

I wrote about Elaine Caldwell's little dog being killed on her own deck a couple of weeks ago, and I know the police were called, but for some reason it didn't make it into the WW police report. Or, if it was, it was disguised so you don't really know what happened.

Until people become aware of what is going on with packs of dogs, running at large, or even single dangerous-breed dogs who can't be controlled by their owners, they are not going to fully understand the problem.

But, believe me, it's out there.

P.S. Maybe it was too late for this week's police report and it will appear next week, or maybe it didn't make it onto the police log. I'll give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

*           *           *

As part of my campaign for mayor, I am compiling a list of people who support me ... even though some of them do not live inside the city limits, but shop here or are business owners. I have been encouraged by the people who have stepped forward and said I could use their name, or asked for one of my lawn signs or said they will support me financially.

One of the most important things that a person, who lives inside the city limits, can do is to register to vote if they aren't already registered. I looked through the voter list for Precinct 16 (City of Bandon) after purchasing it from the county and I have noticed a number of people who don't seem to be registered.

It used to be that people didn't want to register for fear of being called for jury duty, but I do not think the voter registration list is used any longer; I have heard the juror list comes from those with driver's licenses, or at least the voter list is not the only source for prospective jurors.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who would like to have their name added to my supporters' list, or if you would like to help in any way.

As most of you already know, councilor Mike Claassen has filed against me.

*           *           *

Speaking of serving on jury duty . .. while at work the other day a friend of mine from Myrtle Point called to say that her daughter had been shopping in downtown Coquille when four or five people came out of the courthouse looking for people to serve on a jury in Judge Michael Gillespie's court. Her daughter was one of those chosen, and she was extremely surprised, but I guess once they determine you're eligible, you're pretty much expected to serve.

It's not how I would expect to spend an afternoon in town . . . .

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 22, 2012

Another week has rolled around, and it's time to write my column again. I often fear that I will run out of things to say (as some of my "friends" have mentioned to me on occasion), but I always tell them they don't have to read it. They're kidding, of course ....

*           *           *

Those of you who read my review about Godspell either in my column or in a letter to the editor in W.W. know that it is a very upbeat, colorful, musical production. My friend and I went Friday night (after I'd been the previous Sunday) and it was altogether different ... and wonderful. BHS grad Dante Haruna, son of Takashi Haruna of Haruna Computers, stepped in to play the role of John the Baptist/Judas ... after four days of practice. He was filling in for Ben Taylor, who sprained his ankle last Saturday night and is now on crutches.

Dante was amazing. It was as if he'd been rehearsing since the beginning of the production, and he added so much to an already great production.

I don't know many young people or old for that matter who could jump into a lead role like this after four days of practice. But he pulled it off ... and I'm sure the director, Lisa Carman, had a lot to do with that.

There's still one more weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee) to see this show.

There is a whole lot of talent in our area.

*           *           *

I panicked Friday night when my garage door would no longer work automatically. My friend came to pick me up for the play, and it took quite a while to even get the garage door to close, and the next morning I wasn't sure what to do because I didn't want to open it to get my car out ... and then not be able to close it.

But with help from another friend, after about 30 minutes of trying to find the manuals, checking the spring and the motor, he began to laugh. I was busy rummaging through the drawers looking for the right book when he shouted from the garage: "Don't bother, I figured it out and it was your fault."

Sure enough, I'd swept out the garage Friday evening and put the broom in front of the sensor. And I can tell you from experience, the sensor will not allow the door to close automatically if it senses something is in the way.

Even a broom ....

*           *           *

On a far more serious note. I learned that my mother's next door neighbor, Elaine Caldwell, had a very frightening and traumatic experience this week. Three dogs one a lab and at least one of them a blue heeler came onto her deck and ripped into her precious little companion dog, killing it while Elaine watched helplessly, unable to do anything.

According to a neighbor, the dogs had been in the neighborhood earlier in the day, but someone in a van had come and picked them up. But they escaped again and came back to Klamath Avenue.

The dogs belonged to Mark Smith, who lives a short distance away, behind the First Baptist Church. According to the police, Smith immediately had the dogs put down, which was, of course, the responsible thing to do.

But for the life of me I can't figure out why people would want to own animals that cannot be trusted not to kill other people's pets ....

I am not sure what this would do to your home owner's insurance, but it can't be good.

I shudder to think if that had been my 95-year-old mother's beloved cat, Dolly, who is like one of her children, or my sister's little dog, Blue Angel, who often visits mom's house.

It's enough to make you want to keep your pet inside .... to protect it ... even on your own property.

*           *           *

There's been a lot of work associated with "breaking in" or should I say learning to use my new computer. My Norton security software was about to expire and when I signed up for it last year, I asked for an automatic renewal.

But I remembered that about 6 months ago, my credit card had "become compromised" (the bank's words, not mine) and they had immediately changed my primary credit card and issued me a new one. But I didn't even remember, or know how, to contact those who were expecting to charge annually (or monthly) to it. I figured they'd get in touch with me when a charge wouldn't go through.

I tried to put in my new credit card number on my Norton account, but it never would let me do it. I just kept getting a message that said there had been a problem when they tried to update my security software. Hey, I already knew that.

So I decided to try and call them. But after waiting on the line for one hour and 10 minutes and hearing over and over again that if I hung up, it would only increase my wait time ... I hung up in frustration.

But I wasn't ready to give up, so when I got to the Herald the next day, I dialed from our second line and put it on speaker phone so I could continue with my work and wait for what I figured would be an hour or two, or if ever, before an actual person would come on the line.

So you can imagine my surprise when an associate answered it about 3 minutes after I dialed the number ... and I had completely forgotten to have my credit card handy, so I had to apologize, run into the other room and grab my card.

It took all of about 2 minutes to complete the whole transaction . . . but all I could think about was the two hours I had wasted the previous evening (which was the last time we've seen the sun all week) and I should have been out on my deck instead of huddled over a computer and glued to the telephone.

*           *           *

Washed Ashore has been getting a lot of positive publicity lately in their efforts to turn beach debris into large sculptures.

This Saturday (Aug. 25) there's a group fitness fundraiser from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Masterpiece Fitness across from Price 'n Pride, sponsored by Masterpiece Fitness and Washed Ashore. For a donation of $5 you can sample classes like Zumba, Cardio Kick, PiYo and more, and enter for prizes including fitness memberships, blueberry treats, jewelry, pottery and clothing.

For more information, call Mary Johnson at 541-217-4006.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 15, 2012

Some months ago I asked my readers if they had ever heard of a woman named Lois Sullivan, who lived in Bandon. As mayor, I had received an inquiry from a shelter in Portland, Sister Of The Road, written by a woman who was trying to help an elderly man find his sister, Lois.

I finally went to our very helpful postmaster Dave Robinson, who provided me with information about her.

Unfortunately, the phone number I sent to the woman had been disconnected, and they were back at the proverbial Square One.

I returned to the post office and he provided me with more information.

Last week, I received an email from the woman.

“The last weeks brought a lot of new and unforeseen developments regarding our attempt to find Bob’s sister. After you gave us Lois’ address, Bob started writing a letter to her, introducing himself, asking for contact, giving his number and just asking to meet up as soon as possible.

“He indeed received an answer a week later, but with unexpected content. Bob’s nephew who lived with his sisters in Bandon for a long time gave him a call and explained that his whole family already passed away, including Lois and Bob’s older sister, His nephew also sent Bob old pictures of them in the mail and said that his sister always kept a picture of Bob with her. It also turned out that apparently Bob’s sisters had already passed away.

“Right now Bob and his nephew are planning to meet in Portland and it might be that Bob at least may have inherited a little bit from his parents/siblings.”

She added that he now has closure, and also the “part of the inheritance that he might receive will help him stay off the streets and support him in paying for some health treatments.”

She thanked me for my help and said that without my support they would never have learned what they did … to “partially reconnect him with his roots.”

I was just glad I was able to help.

*           *           *

I attended the Bandon Playhouse production of Godspell Sunday afternoon, and I can't say enough about it. It is absolutely fantastic. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

I was blown away by the wonderful music, lively sets and bright colors. And the message is one that leaves people thinking.

The cast took a big hit Saturday night when one of its stars, Ben Taylor (John the Baptist/Judas), sprained his ankle after the production and was forced to act out his role from a stool at the side of the stage. But the cast is hopeful that he will be "good as new" by this weekend as several people told me it was much better when he is on stage. But for those of us who were seeing it for the first time, basically without him, it was still a fabulous production.

The guest director Lisa Carman shares the role of Sonia with Linda Baldwin, and Lisa was on stage Sunday afternoon. What a treat!!!

I never tire of hearing people rave about the Sprague theater and the wonderful productions that have graced that stage. For a small town, we are extremely fortunate.

I know people in Bandon who still haven't been inside the theater, and it's hard for me to believe. I am a regular at the theater. I can count on one hand the productions I've missed.

You don't want to miss Godspell ... either this coming weekend (Aug. 17-19) or the following weekend (Aug. 24-26) with Friday and Saturday shows starting at 7:30 and Sunday matinees at 2.

You will be amazed at the talent that we have in this area, including some of the best known from Bandon: Destyni and Tessa Fuller, Jenn Winchell, Amy Moss Strong and her daughter, Autumn, and Lori Straley and her daughter, Kelly. Clint Guevara from Coos Bay is fantastic as Jesus.

The band was also fabulous, led by pianist and bandleader Ben Rich, Shelly Guevara on acoustic guitar, Patrick Horath Jr. on bass guitar, Gary Lebrun on drums, Colin Smith as lead guitar and Charlotte McLauchlin, recorder.

Don't miss this production.

*           *           *

I just learned this weekend that council president Mike Claassen has decided to run against me for mayor. I can't say it was the highlight of my weekend, but I definitely plan to run a campaign and I've already had people step forward to say they would help me.

*           *           *

Having lost two of our senior members of the planning commission, Jason Tree and Patricia Soltys, both of whom chose not to apply for another term, we were in need of someone with experience.

We were fortunate that David Kimes, who has served as a councilor and planning commissioner, was one of five people applying for the two seats. He was one of our selections and the other was Margaret Mayer's daughter, Debra, who has recently moved to Bandon. She has a fantastic background as a planner and consultant, and interviewed extremely well.

They will both be welcome additions to the planning commission.

*           *           *

I'm not that much of a TV watcher, but it's a serious letdown to know that the Olympics are over, even though it should do a lot for my sleep since I have stayed up until midnight each and every night to watch. It's hard not to get caught up in the emotion as NBC had so many stories about the individual athletes and the struggles some have overcome to make it to the big stage.

I guess I'll have to settle for golf, PBS and the news ... or maybe just be satisfied to read two or three papers a day.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 08, 2012

Old Town was jammed with people Saturday for the Port of Bandon's annual Windfest celebration. And true to form, as the fog rolled in and out, so did the wind, but no one seemed to mind unless it was a few of the vendors whose booths were receiving some pretty good blasts.

The Port is becoming "the place to be" on Fridays and Saturdays, as the Market becomes more and more popular each week. I understand there were over 50 vendors at the Market on Saturday, and that, of course, didn't count those on the Boardwalk who were part of the Windfest.

One of the more popular booths has been the Tall Hunters from Bridge, who raise the largest, most luscious blueberries I've ever seen. But if you don't get there in the morning, Mr. Tall Hunter has probably packed up and gone home after selling out. I am not sure how long his blueberry crop will last, but while it does, it's a big draw.

*           *           *

There is a lot going on in Bandon next week, with the Friday night opening of Godspell, but if you want to be part of something a little different, you may want to take in "Hymns 'n Beer," hosted by St. John's Episcopal Church, at 8th and Franklin, from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. We'll be eating between 6 and 7, followed by the musical program.

We'll be serving beer and bratwurst at a price of $15 for adults and $7 for children (root beer, of course, for the younger set).

I'd love to say that I'll be the bartender or the song leader, but actually I'll be in charge of selling tickets.

It should be a fun evening ....

*           *           *

You never realize how important a computer is until you don't have one. I think it was Monday night that my computer decided to stop working. Takashi Haruna came over after work Monday and took one look at it and said it was probably time to think about a new one. He said he could probably get it to limp along for a while longer, because the hard drive was still intact, but as I thought of all the problems I've had lately, I decided it was time to let go ... and get a new one.

I now have a 23-inch monitor and an i5 Acer with an Intel processor ... whatever all that means. But I couldn't be happier. Fortunately Takashi lives a few houses away as he came back Saturday morning to answer a few questions after I'd run into some problems shortly after he got it up and running Friday evening.

Hopefully my new one won't crash every time I decide to go to a Website, like Macy's or Ann Taylor, and I'm pretty sure it won't.

My biggest worry was that I wouldn't be able to do my column, which hangs over my head every Sunday evening. But since Sunday was my birthday, and a friend was cooking dinner for me, I'm doing my column on Saturday.

I don't even know if anyone would miss it ... but I do know I have some faithful readers who log on every Monday morning (Thanks Brian, Jason, Julie, Bob ...)

Oops all of a sudden I can't figure out how to put the stars between items. Maybe it's just old age and has nothing to do with my new computer. We'll see .... (I just figured out it is shift 8).

*           *           *

At least I picked a good week to be without a computer because I've literally been glued to the TV from 8 until midnight each night watching the Olympics. I absolutely love the Olympics and every time I hear someone say they don't have a TV (like two of my sisters) I just look at them with disbelief. I certainly don't watch a lot of TV, but for something like the Olympics, I wouldn't be without one.

The swimming and the gymnastics have been absolutely riveting, but I'll admit that it was hard to watch the USA men falter in gymnastics. You could just feel their heartbreak.

I could do without "beach volleyball," but this weekend there will be a lot of track and field, and that's always interesting, particularly when you consider how many of them qualified in "Eugene, Oregon."

I remember attending the Olympic Trials in Eugene back in the '80s and maybe that is where I developed a real love for the Olympics. I was dating a man who was with the Active 20-30 club (you can see how long ago that was) so I got to meet some of the athletes and their coaches.


*           *           *

Two of my very favorite people, Pastor John Hubbard and Kathy Coombe, are getting married Sunday, Aug. 12, during the First Presbyterian Church's picnic. It is such a wonderful love story for two people who have found each other relatively late in life. Both had lost their spouses and are so fortunate to have found each other. I wish them so much happiness as they start their new life together.

*           *           *

I've learned that master woodcarver and senior caddie Pete Bauer and his wife, well-known harpist Candice Kreitlow, are in the process of purchasing the Second Street Gallery from Richard Rahmlow.

I'm not sure the deal has been completed, but I know it's in the process. Like Richard did, I know they will bring a lot of energy to Old Town.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 01, 2012

It was the call we’d all been waiting for!!

I just happened to be sitting in Matt Winkel’s office Thursday shortly before noon when Daniel Graham ran into his office – phone in hand – with an important call. It was Greg Drobot advising Matt that the final financing is now in place for the new cheese factory project to proceed.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13, at 2 p.m.

We’re hoping for a big crowd as we turn the first shovel of dirt for the long-awaited cheese factory.

Hardly a day goes by, particularly during the tourist season, when someone doesn’t ask one of our merchants: “Where is the cheese factory?”

Now we can proudly tell them that it’s on its way.

*           *           *

Thursday was a day for big news. The City of Bandon was notified that the Johnson Creek fish passage waiver request has been tabled and removed from the previously scheduled Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Aug. 3 meeting agenda.

I am sure there were quite a few people from Bandon planning to go to Salem (I think, or maybe it was Portland) to testify – either for or against.

Matt said no date has been set for a subsequent meeting for the Commission to consider the request, and the applicants (Ron Kasper and Paul Bauge and others) have been asked to complete several other steps in the dam and reservoir approval process before returning to the Commission with the fish passage waiver request.

I’m not sure what it all means, but regardless of what happens at this level, I don’t believe a 90-foot earthen dam would ever pass the more rigid seismic standards, which have resulted from the very real possibility of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

*           *           *

I joined my classmates (Bandon High School Class of 1957) for our 55th reunion this weekend. We met at the VFW Hall Friday night and then held our class dinner at Billy Smoothboars Saturday night.

The owner, Dan Barnett, was a gracious host and the food was absolutely delicious. I heard a lot of my classmates raving about the food, whether they’d chosen prime rib, shrimp or, like me, chicken. It was a great evening. Thanks, Dan.

We had our picnic at the yellow shelter at LaVerne Park, which is where we used to have our class picnics when we were in school. It’s been many years since I’ve been to LaVerne, which is 14 miles east of Coquille. It’s an absolutely gorgeous park and we had a great time soaking up the intermittent sun and sharing stories about the “good ole’ days.”

*           *           *

In case you read the article in Western World last week about the planning commission selections, it contained an error – which came straight out of Matt’s newsletter. For the Herald, I do the same thing that Amy does. I often use the minutes or staff reports (or in the case of Matt – newsletters) for information. I feel it’s the best and most accurate way of getting the info. But not this time.

I think Matt was in a hurry to leave on his much-anticipated vacation, because he (and Amy reprinted it) said that the planning commissioners are appointed by the mayor, with the concurrence of the council.

That, of course, is not true. The selection of planning commissioners is done by a majority vote of the council. The mayor has no more say on who joins the planning commission than does the council.

For the standing committees, like Parks and Recreation, Citizen Involvement Committee, Water Resources, Budget Committee, etc., that’s true. The mayor appoints, but not without approval of the council.

All I can say is that Matt is right 99 percent of the time (but actually he lost two to me on Thursday, but it was his first day back from vacation, so I’ve forgiven him.)

We’re glad he’s back ….

*           *           *

If you haven’t visited the new art gallery, “Art by the Sea Gallery and Studio,” in the Continuum Center Plaza in Old Town, you’ve missed a treat. A group of accomplished artists from this area have joined together to form an artists co-op. They’ve brought new life to the building, which boasts of a group of wonderful shops, ranging from a well-stocked used book store, to Gypsy Wagon, Courtney Gaspar’s Whisky Run Jewelry Shop, Jason Tree’s Pacific Blues, and the newest shop, Patina, which opens onto the Pedway in the back of the building.

Thursday (Aug. 2) from 4 to 6 p.m. they are holding their first artist reception. They’re inviting the public to stop by and view the artists’ work.

*           *           *

I wonder how many more innocent people have to be injured or killed in high speed chases.

Over the years, I’ve kept a file of the number of people who have been killed by a driver fleeing from the police. Years ago, while working at Western World, I interviewed various police departments to see what their policy was regarding such chases. Several said that they were only allowed in the case of a serious crime in process … like an officer down.

But apparently that’s all changed.

The latest example is a high speed chase involving an Oregon State Police officer and a 35-year-old Gold beach man. The chase reportedly reached speeds of up to 110 miles an hour after the trooper tried to stop the man for a speeding violation – at 5 p.m. when Highway 101 was crowded with commuters and tourists.

It ended when the fleeing man struck four other vehicles, injuring a Coos Bay man and a couple from California. The fleeing driver died at the scene. It’s an absolute wonder more people weren’t killed in their mangled vehicles.

There must be a better way.

It becomes a lot more dangerous when a driver is being pursued by the police – than if he were simply driving too fast.

A high speed chase increases the odds that innocent people will be injured or killed.

previous columns by mary schamehorn