As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 28, 2013

I really don't have much to talk about this week as I spent the past week communicating with the county health doctor, County Commissioner John Sweet, a higher-up with USFWS in Portland, representatives of Senators Wyden and Merkley and Congressman DeFazio, the Oregonian and the Associated Press.

The mosquito problem has been all-consuming for a lot of us, and I just hope that sooner than later, it will be abated.

No one is really mentioning how people will get rid of the mosquitoes on their own property after the problem at the marsh has been addressed.

I didn't really understand the magnitude of what people were dealing with until the City Council held a public meeting last Monday, which resulted in a standing-room-only crowd willing to share their stories.

The most telling came from Deno Kummelehne, who brought in a huge sack of dead (and a few live) mosquitoes which he had killed with an $850 mosquito magnet. He and Lannelle had returned home after a long absence to find their property overrun with mosquitoes, and that's when he purchased the magnet.

He killed what amounted to probably hundreds of thousands before the sheer numbers of the bugs plugged his machine ... and it would no longer work. But he definitely made his point. I gave his name to both the Oregonian and the Associated Press reporters, but I'm not sure if they were able to contact him.

The thing that I emphasized at the meeting Monday night is that we need to let visitors know that this has never happened before, and now that it is being addressed, hopefully it will never happen again.

The sad part is that we are not sure who is going to pay for the abatement as USFWS has said they do not have the money.

I understand that after huge cost overruns, the marsh cost about $16 million to build (John Sweet thinks it was even more than that), yet they can't find $50,000 to take care of the problem that they created.

The World article said that Coos County was going to pay for the problem, with assistance from the city. That is definitely not true. Both the city and county have said we do not have the money to pay for the abatement, and that is what I have told our congressional delegation.

I do know that Congressman DeFazio is doing everything he can to get USFWS to take financial responsibility for the problem.

*           *           *

The subject will be discussed at the meeting of the county commissioners Tuesday morning (Aug. 27), beginning at about 10 a.m. in the Owen Building in Coquille, which is downtown across from the Old City Hall and behind Farr's Hardware. I do know that several people from the Portland office of USFWS will be attending the meeting.

It should be interesting.

*           *           *

Although I quit the Herald (after 25 years) and have never filed an unemployment claim in all those years, I was denied, which is a bit upsetting.

The new owner's wife told the adjudicator for the employment division that "I was not the editor."

I told him in a subsequent letter that I would say she is a liar, except that is probably too strong a word for someone who has very little knowledge of the newspaper business (except for writing a recipe column). I edited or wrote every story that appeared in the Herald until one week before I walked out.

Having looked at the last two issues of the Herald (after I left), I can clearly see that they have no idea what an editor does because both issues were so filled with mistakes that I was quite glad to no longer be associated with such a poor quality publication.

One story talked about a "tow" raffle (a second paragraph made the reader realize it was actually a toy raffle) . . . with the toys made of "weed," etc. I can only guess that the toys were made of wood.

The main front-page headline talked about a "bi-annual reunion," but the story changed it to "biannual" (no hyphen). Actually neither is correct. It is biennial. It said Commissionar Cribbins attended. The police report had some good ones: "the family was living a van." "there until tire can be repaire." "Was located and transport."

My colleague and I were so anal about mistakes . . . but it is very apparent that these new "editors" do not have the same standards . . . .

*           *           *

Over the years, I've heard stories about people who were not happy with the care they received at Southern Coos Hospital. But for the most part, the majority of the people that I have talked to (especially those in my family) have been more than satisfied with the care. Before my mother died at the age of 96 in April, she had been in the hospital on several occasions, and we were always so thankful the hospital was here.

The new CEO, Charles Johnston, has said that if anyone has an unsatisfactory experience at SCH, he encourages that person to give him a call or write to tell him about the issue so he can follow up. He is very approachable.

Even if it's just a rumor you've heard, why not contact him and find out what really happened.

You might be surprised . . . .

*           *           *

I just learned that Dr. Hongola, the hospital's surgeon, will be retiring Dec. 1 and the district is searching for a general surgeon to take his place. Also, due to a shortage of Registered Nurses in this area, SCH is offering a $5,000 bonus for any RN who joins SCH and completes one full year of service.

We've also learned that Dr. Park from North Bend Medical Center, who will replace Dr. Jeff Scott, is already at work part time in the NBMC satellite clinic here and will work full time after Dr. Scott leaves.

The hospital has interviewed one physician so far, and the group hired by the district continues to search for physicians who might be interested in setting up a family practice in Bandon.

*           *           *

I'm so thankful that we don't have the kinds of problems that Eugene has. The city has recently closed two areas of town (across from the Hilton) where the Saturday Market is held because of the amount of human waste found there in the last week. I think they counted nine piles. This led the city to indefinitely cordon off two areas.

Frankly, I think they have carried Political Correctness to a new level. A judge has now overturned a county ruling that said it was illegal to camp overnight in the Wayne Morse Free Speech Center.

I personally doubt that a lot of the people who are taking part in this protest are homeless.

I don't know how far the park is from the area where Saturday Market sets up, but it was pointed out that there are restrooms open across the street 24 hours a day . . . so it is not necessary to defecate in the park.

I think this is just one more way for them to make a statement.

If I were a resident of Eugene, I'd say "enough is enough . . . ."

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 21, 2013

Never has a single subject dominated my week . . . and those of my colleagues on the city council. But everywhere I've gone the subject always turns to the pesky mosquitoes, which have become a huge problem not only for our neighbors living in the vicinity of the Bandon Marsh, but now moving into town.

I kept bragging that I didn't have any mosquitoes at my house over by the hospital. That was then; this is now. I now have 8 or 10 bites on my arms and legs, and decided not to go outside at dusk last night to water my flowers because mosquitoes were waiting for me at my sliding glass door.

What I am experiencing is absolutely nothing compared to what those in Bullards Park, at the golf course, Prosper area and everywhere else over there are faced with. But as I nurse my bites I can certainly sympathize with them.

Chris and I were talking about it in the bakery earlier in the week when a woman began entering into the conversation. She and her husband and young daughter were camping at Bullards. They were from California and she was a 26-year emergency room nurse. She said she had never seen anything like the mosquitoes at the park. She described young children (not her daughter because she wasn't allowed outside as she was allergic to the bites) with legs and faces covered with welts.

She said someone kept suggesting that signs be put up warning people of the problem, and finally the previous day, signs had appeared.

Another couple, who are from Texas, said they could not leave their campers and couldn't wait to get out of the park.

I tried to assure them that we were doing everything we could to get US Fish and Wildlife Service to address the problem. Monday afternoon (Aug. 19) at 4, we are having a special city council meeting to discuss and, hopefully pass, a resolution strongly urging USFWS to take immediate action.

I also asked the county commissioners to have their health officer request that CDC (Centers for Disease Control) become involved before it becomes a massive health problem.

According to the wife of a hospital employee, two golfers were brought into the emergency room after suffering reactions to repeated bites.

I don't care which "side" you're on about the Bandon Marsh, this is a health, quality of life and economic issue that cannot continue.

*           *           *

I should be outside soaking up the sun and fighting off the mosquitoes, but I can't drag myself away from the TV where I have been watching the Solheim Cup for three days. Saturday was extremely disappointing for Team USA, who trailed 10.5 to 5.5 at the end of the day (the largest second-day lead by either team in the history of the event.)

As I write this, the USA team is fighting their way back in the singles matches in an attempt to carve out an improbable win or at least make a decent showing.

The first match to end pitted one of America's veteran golfers Paula Creamer against a 17-year-old from Team Europe . . . who beat Paula 5-4, in a complete upset.

Stacy Lewis, the top American women's golfer, just missed a very short put, which has been a problem throughout the weekend. She finally did end up earning half a point . . . shortly before a weather alert postponed the event.

Even for those who don't watch sports on TV, there is something magical about the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup . . . particularly when Team USA plays well.

*           *           *

Most of us who have driven to Portland have probably stopped at the rest stop at Wilsonville, known as the Baldock Rest Area.

A state police alert, which was posted Aug. 16, reported on a very unsettling incident that had occurred earlier in the evening ... about 5 o'clock. A young woman, accompanied by her three-year-old daughter, had pulled into the rest stop, but found the front parking lot crowded with cars, so decided to go around to the back parking lot near the huge stand of trees.

She and her daughter were walking down a trail in the trees when she was struck from behind and knocked to the ground. She covered her daughter as the man struck her several times with an unknown hard object and then tried to strangle her.

For an unknown reason, the suspect stopped the assault and fled west. The victim got a brief look at the man as he ran away and described him as a white male, approximately 5-10 with a medium build.

The woman was transported to the hospital and a family member came and took the child from the scene.

When something like this can happen in broad daylight at a crowded rest stop, it just emphasizes how important it is for women traveling alone (or with young children) to stay in areas where people are around.

Thank heavens something scared him away because no one knows what his intent was. At first the police report indicated it was a possible attempted abduction (of the child) but later it was, instead, investigated as an assault.

Not sure how they figured that out with so little information about the suspect, but the ending could have been a lot worse.

Several friends have been concerned lately about the number of aggressive homeless people, who are occupying sidewalks and facilities at the rest stop just south of Eugene.

*           *           *

I walked around town Friday night during Bandon Alive After Five and I felt it was pretty successful, considering that this is the first season for something like this, which encourages businesses to stay open late and, in some cases, offer special entertainment, book signings, etc.

Harv Schubothe and other members of the Greater Bandon Association deserve a vote of thanks for doing their part in helping local businesses thrive.

The weather played a big part as it was absolutely beautiful, warm and windless . . . .

*           *           *

I've just about figured out that I may not be cut out for gardening. As I mentioned in past columns, I have this beautiful yellow and orange Bodacious dinner plate dahlia, which I have literally been babying. When I thought it was going to pour last week, I moved it into the garage.

I put it back out a day later, but earlier this week, the south wind blew the plant onto its side on the deck . . . so I decided to protect it from the wind and moved it into a safe place between the garage wall and the south kitchen wall.

Big mistake.

Although I have been watering the dahlias several times a day, I went out Sunday morning to discover my once beautiful 10-inch blooms and the foliage completely wilted. I was pretty upset and began pouring water on it as fast I could.

I picked it up again and moved it to a cooler spot on the deck. The foliage began bouncing back pretty quickly, and I thought I might as well cut off the six large blooms and throw them away . . . but as I debated I noticed that they, too, were beginning to get new life.

I think I've watered the plant about five times today . . .

Now, I'll probably drown it.

*           *           *

I just saw the September 2013 issue of Coast Explorer, a high-end magazine that I'd never seen. It had a neat article about Coastal Mist, Bandon's premier chocolate boutique, which earned a trip advisor certificate of excellence. Fans called the business "a dream come true . . . exquisite . . . life changing."

The 2013 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence awarded to Coastal Mist indicated it was one of the site's top 10 performers worldwide.

The owners, Kevin and Tara Shaw and Nicole Malloy, are pretty proud of the designation. Kevin was pictured with some of their delicacies.

The magazine also featured a two-page spread on Washed Ashore, with four pictures, including one of the executive director Angela Haseltine Pozzi, written by Geneva Miller, local free-lance writer.

*           *           *

The Sprague Theater is hosting Men of Worth Wednesday night (Aug. 21), and if you've never seen this Scottish-Irish duo sing their wonderful folk songs, you've missed a real treat.

The show starts at 7, and tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

I've seen them three times and wouldn't miss this show.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 14, 2013

If ever a subject has generated mega discussion around town it is the mosquito. Everywhere I go, people are talking about what they say is the biggest problem they have ever seen with these blood-sucking bugs.

Saturday I received an article from a reader titled: "Asian Tiger Mosquito Could Spread U.S. Disease."

The story it tells is frightening, and the breed has already spread across the United States to California.

I sent a copy of the article to Roy Lowe of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, who is in charge of the Bandon Marsh, and a short notice about the local mosquito problem, which said: "Roy, this is becoming a very serious problem and should be addressed sooner than later."

Sunday I received an answer.

"You may have heard that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is working in cooperation with Oregon State University to understand and document what is occurring. We are getting assistance from Multnomah County Health Dept. Vector Control and the Benton County Vector Control are loaning us traps.

"To date we have found 5 species of mosquitoes; however about 90 percent of what we have found is the salt marsh mosquito (Aedes dorsalis). This species breeds in saline and hyper saline environments. On the Ni-les'tun Unit of the refuge we have noted that the highest tides of the month flood areas that have unnatural topography and pond water as tides decline. These types of areas are producing mosquitoes because they are impounding water. Last week we assembled equipment and we began to plow small ditches to drain these areas holding water.

"This will increase tidal circulation, reduce or eliminate mosquito habitat, and reduce chances of stranding fish. The lower high tides in August may not reach these areas.

"Our staff has been working non-stop for 6 weeks and will continue to do so. We are only looking at refuge lands and not private lands. One landowner indicated his land may be also producing mosquitoes as well.

"Thank you for your inquiry."

I was told by two people this week (including a park host) that people are leaving Bullards Beach State Park rather than try to fight off the mosquitoes. I am pretty sure this is a first.

Also, a local church was planning to have their church picnic there next Sunday, but after looking at the site, and being swarmed by hordes of mosquitoes, the pastor changed her mind . . . and is looking for another place to have their gathering.

Chamber executive Julie Miller told me that her husband and young daughter had gone out to the Glenwood Estates area (basically above the marsh) to look at a friend's property. As soon as the child got out of the car, she was immediately swarmed. Before her father could get her back into the car, she suffered numerous bites. Julie said it was pretty awful.

A man told me at the market Friday that what he described as "millions of larvae" are about to hatch out at the marsh. "If you think the problem is bad now, wait until that happens," he told me.

The more that hatch out there, the more likely they are to head into town and before long, we could all be faced with the same horrific problem that our neighbors to the north are facing.

Although we appreciate what USFWS is doing, it may be time to stop documenting what is happening, and take some drastic action to get it under control before it's too late.

*           *           *

When the skies turned black Friday night around 6, I raced home to try and beat the rains, thunder and the lightning. I went on the Internet where a Powers man said he had never seen it rain as hard as it did right around that same time.

Another said the thunder was so loud in Bridge that their whole house shook.

All I could think about were my dahlias, including one in particular, which is the largest and most spectacular I've ever grown. Fortunately, it was in a pot and not in the ground.

It took all my strength (which isn't much) to lift the pot and carry it into the garage for protection. But, fortunately, the rains really didn't materialize like they did in other parts of the county.

So the next morning, I again staggered under the weight of the pot to get it back out onto the deck.

I've been taking flowers from the plant, known as a dinner plate Bodacious dahlia, to Bandon Bakery to share with others.

Last year I planted 20 or 30 bearded iris and ended up with the sum total of three blooms. Dahlias are a lot easier to grow, bloom for several months and there are hundreds of varieties to choose from. And they come back year after year.

I finally found a company that seemed to have a lot of varieties that grow in the Northwest, but when I went on line, it said that their business was closed "because of a family tragedy." It seems that a fire destroyed the owner's home, which resulted in the death of the man responsible for propagating many of their rare dahlias, and all the seeds that he was growing. It was such a sad story, but it made me all the more determined to grow the beautiful flowers.

*           *           *

In our council packet for Monday night's meeting, there was an item about authorizing nuisance abatement for a property owned by a Chris Banfill of Garberville, Calif., in the Ocean Trails subdivision.

It said the city had been notifying the property owner for the last two years about a vegetation nuisance, but there had been no action.

Councilor Mike Claassen shared a story about the death of Chris Banfill, who was found dead at property he was renting in northern California in August of last year.

Not sure how Mike learned about this guy, but it was interesting . . . because now we know why he never responded.

The article said he'd been reported missing July 16, 2012. His vehicle was found at a motel in Garberville two days later, abandoned. He was later found dead at a property in Rio Dell, but foul play was not expected. Banfill was 36 years old.

*           *           *

I was a bit surprised when I read an ad in Coffee Break last week which indicated that "the petting zoo was closing." Several people asked me about it, and after reading further into the ad, I figured out that it had to do with Phil Arlen's book store at Beach Junction, and had nothing to do with West Coast Game Park, which is commonly referred to as the "petting zoo."

Judging from the ad in Saturday's Coffee Break from West Coast Game Park, they weren't happy with the inference that the local "petting zoo" was closing.

I guess Arlen's petting zoo consisted of one dog.

It's just too bad that so many mistook it for the game park, which definitely is not closing.

*           *           *

It was fun to run into Jane Chappell Germann and her sister, Jill, in the book store last week. Both are graduates of Bandon High School and were in town for a family reunion, being hosted by their cousin, Darry Van Leuven. Jill, Jane and Jill's twin, the late Jack Chappell, were neighbors of my family, and owned Chappell's Chevron Station for many years.

Another BHS grad who is spending the month in Bandon is Marilyn Leuthold, who is here with her son, Ben, from Baltimore, Md. Marilyn's mom, Alicia, was the Bandon librarian for many years.

*           *           *

Don't forget that if you're in Bandon Friday night, you won't want to miss Alive After Five activities. There are plenty of things going on after five, so drive around town and you will see a lot of merchants who are staying open until 7 or 8.

*           *           *

I mentioned in last week's column that I'd heard good reviews about Grease. Well, I attended the musical Sunday afternoon, and it was everything I hoped it would be ... and more. It is a wonderful production, and played to a nearly full house.

It's still on for another weekend, and you won't want to miss it.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

August 07, 2013

I've been hearing for months that someone bought the former Thai Thai restaurant building from Andrea Gatov, but hadn't seen anything happening down there.

But a couple of weeks ago I introduced myself to a man, who turned out to be the owner. Although I didn't get his name, he was supervising a lot of remodeling that was going on inside the building.

He said he hoped to have his new Irish pub open by mid-August ... or at least that is what he was shooting for.

The name will be Foley's Irish Pub, and he said he will be catering to the locals. He's obviously excited about his new venture. It will be interesting to see what he's done inside, and what his menu looks like.

*           *           *

Although I didn't go opening weekend to the Bandon Playhouse production of "Grease," I've heard and read a lot of good things about it. My sister Molly and I plan to go Friday night, so I'll let you know next week more about it. I just hope that the community continues to support these productions. A lot of work goes into a musical like this, and the actors, director and producer love nothing more than playing to a big and enthusiastic audience.

*           *           *

When we had a couple of days of fog and only a little wind last week, people were beginning to worry that the wind wouldn't be blowing for the Port of Bandon's Windfest Saturday and Sunday on the Boardwalk. Well, they didn't have to worry; the wind blew pretty hard and I felt a bit sorry for some of the vendors who were out in the open without benefit of a protective tent that others had.

But, hey, what would Windfest be without wind?

People seemed to be enjoying themselves and I am sure vendors selling sweatshirts probably did a brisk business.

The biggest problem was trying to find a place to park ... but that's a good "problem" if you're a local merchant.

*           *           *

When you're on Facebook, the date of your birthday is announced to all your Facebook friends, which accounts for the number of posts I've received about my birthday (which was/is Monday, Aug. 5).

I even received "best wishes" from my former boss at Western World, Greg McNair, who now lives with wife Mary in Alabama.

I don't hear from them often, but I did suggest that Greg go to this website to read about my exit from the newspaper business. I am sure he will understand what I went through.

*           *           *

On a similar note, I received a Facebook posting from a member of the Coquille City Council who expressed "disappointment that I had quit the Herald." I also suggested that she read last week's column.

My guess is she wrote that after seeing the latest issue of the "new" (and sadly not improved) Myrtle Point Herald.

I think it would be safe to say that there were more mistakes in this one issue of the paper than there were in the many years that I served as picky proofreader/reporter/editor.

It was ironic that the previous week, when I was still there, I had edited an obit for a man named Robert Little (Brown) and it appeared in the paper two weeks ago. He's the brother of the long-time chamber president Leon Brown.

But there it was again this week: totally unedited and with a ton of mistakes. The obituary, which had very few complete sentences (that is what editing is about), said he was proceeded in death (oops, maybe they met preceded) and it mentioned his great-children. Do you think the word "grand" might have been left out.

Then there was the big headline that said "gasoline prices down from last year at this time." Sadly, the story pointed out that they were "higher" for the same period.

But the "best" ones were incorrect captions under pictures. I had done one caption before I left for an event organizer and an elderly lady, who was the oldest person to attend the MP all-school reunion. The caption clearly said that she graduated in 1938, which would make her close to her mid-90s, but the poor lady in the picture was probably in her early 60s, if that. Anyone who paid any attention would know the woman in the picture did not fit that description.

I am sure I will cringe every time I see a copy of the "new" Herald and wish that things had been different.

But they weren't . . .

As the line from the famous Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler, points out:

"Know when to hold 'em . . . know when to fold 'em."

And that's what I did.

*           *           *

It was great to learn that the Face Rock Creamery won first in class for Vampire Slayer Curds at the American Cheese Society conference in Madison, Wis., for the best Fresh Unripened Flavor Added Cheese in America.

The contest featured 1,800 cheeses from the United States, Mexico and Canada.

An employee of the creamery posted: "We are all so proud that Face Rock Creamery's Vampire Slayer Curds have been recognized as the best in America!"

I definitely echo that sentiment. What a positive thing this new business (a public/private partnership between Bandon's Urban Renewal Agency and private developer Greg Drobot) has been for Bandon!!

*           *           *

I'm not sure that he knows yet, but our own great city manager, Matt Winkel, has been chosen as grand marshal for the upcoming Cranberry Festival Parade (Saturday, Sept. 14).

Matt, who last week had two stents put in at RiverBend Hospital in Springfield, is one very deserving guy.

We're glad he has been chosen grand marshal and that he is on the road to recovery and will be back at the helm of the City probably this week.

*           *           *

I'm not sure that I mentioned last week, but Charlie (the former owner of the popular Thai restaurant, Thai Thai, in Old Town) was in Bandon last week. He flew from his home in Texas to attend the memorial celebration for two of his best customers, Renae and Lola Cottom, the Bridge couple who were brutally murdered several months ago by their neighbor. He also spent a couple of days in Bandon and cooked his special Thai food for friends, Jim Sylvester and Val Nemcek.

That's one dinner I would loved to have crashed. If only he and Nan could return to Bandon . . . .

*           *           *

My friend Judy Knox and her sister, Robin Martin, got quite a surprise last week at the museum, where Judy is the executive director. She knew that her niece was coming from Seattle for a visit and bringing along a "friend."

So, she wasn't surprised when her niece and a woman, wearing dark glasses and a hood, walked into the museum.

But when the woman took off her glasses and her hood she turned out to be Judy and Robin's younger sister, Kathy, who lives in Florida. They had not seen each other in 10 years and, I can assure you, tears (and hugs) flowed freely.

It was definitely a nice surprise . . .

previous columns by mary schamehorn