As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

December 25, 2013

As we near Christmas, I can't help but remember an event that drew hundreds of children to the downtown area every year. It was the annual visit by Santa (usually Melvin Boak) sponsored by the Bandon Lions Club. The Lions would be there to hand out stockings and candy canes to the little ones after they sat on Santa's lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas.

It was held under the marquee of the Bandon Theater, which has long since been torn down. Parents and the little ones would line up down the sidewalk in front of Capps Motor Co. (now the Harbortown Events Center) waiting for their turn to talk to Santa.

Santa in Bandon
Santa's annual visit to Bandon

In my collection of negatives, I have envelope after envelope taken on this special day each year. Unfortunately, most of the youngsters are too little to identify, but those that I can identify I have been printing off photos to give to them. You can imagine the look on their faces as I hand them a picture taken 30 or 40 years ago. Spending every night going through, and scanning, these negatives has brought back many memories for me.

One envelope of negatives that I found was titled "Buttons the Clown," dated May of 1960. Most of them were taken on a stage somewhere, but several were taken in Old Town (when Old Town was just downtown) and I was surprised to see a Quonset hut-type building, with a big sign "Bakery" on the front. It is next to the Kronenberg & Waldrop Insurance building, which is now Timeless Accents.

Buttons the clown (1960)
Buttons the clown (1960)

At first I couldn't remember who owned the building until I shared the picture with Judy at the museum who said it was owned by our long-time friend Marvin Leach. I will share one of the pictures in this week's column. My mother and Marvin's wife, Esther, were great friends and I'm surprised I didn't remember the bakery . . . since I was 20 years old when the pictures were taken and I was already working for Western World.

*           *           *

I am not sure what Mike Keiser has planned for the site of the former Bandon Beach Motel and the restaurant that used to occupy the property next to it, but we have learned that the remaining portion of the motel will be torn down soon.

Keiser owns the old motel site, the former restaurant site and the large parcel across 11th Street, so it will be interesting to learn what they have in store for that prime piece of real estate. Keiser also owns the former Gorman Motel at Coquille Point, which is now the Bandon Beach Motel.

*           *           *

Someone said a friend had tried to take donations to the Bandon Youth Center's thrift shop on Highway 101 south of town a couple of weeks ago, but were told the building had been sold to Leo Lewandowski, and they wouldn't accept the donations.

Apparently they had gotten it mixed up with the Kiwanis Thrift Store, just north of the new Face Rock Creamery, which has been sold to Lewandowski by the Texley family, and is now closed. He also bought the adjacent mini storage complex, as well as the mini storage facility that the Texley family owned on 11th Street.

But the chairman of the teen center board has assured me that they have not sold to anyone, and they are still taking donations.

*           *           *

I don't know about you, but when I read a story, like one from the Associated Press last week titled "Alleged killer of wife, sister was doting husband," I am often surprised by the last paragraph.

"It wasn't immediately clear if Anderson (the suspect) had a lawyer who could comment on the case. Calls to home and cellphone numbers listed in public records went unanswered."

Do reporters and editors really expect an arrested murderer to comment to the press, or is that something they add to a story to make it look like they're doing their job?

But I guess it can't be any worse than the Eugene TV station who interviewed the husband, daughter and son of the woman who was killed at Clackamas Town Center a year ago. The interview was in their living room, and when the husband began sobbing, they didn't even turn the camera away from him.

Is that what viewers really want to see? I was appalled and immediately changed stations. Northwest Cable News, on the other hand, covered the public memorial that was held for the two victims, and it was tastefully done.

*           *           *

Bryan Longland, president of the Bandon Lions Club, sent me an email last week asking if I would give the welcome address to those coming to Bandon for the district convention. I said I would.

The District 36E convention will be hosted by the Bandon club at the Community Center on March 14 and 15.

It's neat to see conventions of this type slated for the community during the "shoulder season," when people can get extra-special attention from our local merchants.

*           *           *

There was an article in Saturday's Register-Guard headlined "Two sought in theft of tractor-trailer rig." It said that a $1,000 reward is being offered by the Oregon Farm Bureau for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of two men suspected of being involved in the theft of a rancher's tractor-trailer rig from a barn on Upper Four Mile Lane. It was later found parked on Two Mile Lane.

A third man, Robert Lee Senn, 32, Bandon, has been arrested in the case.

The sheriff's office asks anyone with information about the case to call 541-396-7830.

*           *           *

I just returned from the Sprague Theater where I watched " A Christmas Tale," presented by New Artists Productions and adapted by Dan Almich from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

It is amazing just how many talented young people we have in this county. This was a superb production, made even more so now that I understand what goes into producing something of this magnitude.

The cast concluded by singing "How Great Thou Art," which was such a fitting way to end this poignant story.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

December 18, 2013

Seldom has anything generated the number of comments on the Bandon page as the news that long-time manager of Ray's Food Place, Art Brewer, is being removed by C&K Market management from the position he has held for 25 years. He has been told he can go to Port Orford to be the manager of that store, which has been managed for 27 years by Judy Rogers Tree of Bandon. And that's another story.

To say that his customers, the community and his employees are stunned is an understatement.

We all breathed a sigh of relief when we learned that Bandon was not to be part of the store closures that have resulted from C&K's recent bankruptcy. We were told they were closing one third of their more than 60 grocery stores, and Bandon and Port Orford were not among them.

Now we're told that they are bringing a younger person from Albany, who may have been manager of one of their closed stores, to be the new manager at Bandon.

Judy Tree has been demoted to be the assistant manager at Bandon. At this point I have heard that neither Judy nor Art are planning to make the move, but that could change. You certainly cannot blame them for no longer wanting to be associated with C&K Market, Inc., who some describe as "a sinking ship."

Some on Facebook are advocating not shopping at the Bandon Ray's. But as another reader mentioned, that will ultimately hurt the rest of the fine employees that are left behind and would be out of a job if the store closes for lack of business (or whatever excuse they might use). The morale up there is pretty low right now, as you can guess. And at Christmastime, too!

The elephant in the room continues to be the Department of Labor problems that C&K Market official Doug Nidiffer, the son of the founder, faced in 2010 when he was ordered to repay about $8 million to the employee pension fund after he had loaned millions of dollars to Gregg Boice for what turned out to be a failed business enterprise. That may not have been the start of C&K Market's problems, but it was certainly a major turning point.

I guess this is the way things are done in corporate America, but it is simply hard to fathom treating faithful employees this way . . . but when it's all about the "bottom line," nothing else really matters . . . or so it seems.

To diverge a bit, as I was going through my thousands of old negatives from Western World last night I found an envelope titled "Bandon Food Center" dated March of 1960. That is when Cliff George and his sons, Don and Dick, opened the original food center (in the building which now houses Brian Vick's antique business and owned by Larry Hardin on the south city limits).

First Bandon Food Center

The business was later purchased by Buck and Nadya Rogers (Judy's parents) and became Buck's Sentry Market (don't hold me to precise names, please). That later became Ray's Sentry Market (named after the founder Ray Nidiffer and located in the Bandon Shopping Center), which is now Ray's Food Place. I will share a couple of pictures from that old envelope of what the front of the store looked like then and maybe one from the inside of Dick standing alongside the meat counter.

Dick George behind the meat counter

Whatever decision Art and Judy make for their futures, both need to know that they have the respect and love of their communities. And we wish them the best . . .

*           *           *

I was shocked to learn of the death of consummate volunteer Cathy Bernal, 62, who had been operated on at Bay Area Hospital to have her gallbladder removed. She came home several days later (last Friday), but was in extreme pain. She then returned to the hospital on Saturday night, and was immediately put into ICU with a very aggressive bacterial infection, which she apparently contracted during the surgery.

My friends, Pauline and John Brown, and Cathy's friends and employers, Devon and Stan, stayed with Cathy and her husband, Floyd, until late Sunday night, but later in the night, she died.

Cathy, who was known as "Red" by her friends, was very active in the Bandon Chamber of Commerce and had been one of their best loved and most faithful volunteers for many years.

Devon and Stan are holding a Celebration of Life for Cathy on Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 at the Community Center in City Park.

If you're not sure who she was, Amy ran a nice picture in Western World last week with Cathy and others singing in front of Devon's on Nov. 30.

She was a wonderful human being and will be missed by her many friends and all those who shopped at Devon's Boutique, where she had worked for several years.

*           *           *

Several events are planned this week for less fortunate children in the community. Dan and Lynn Barnett, owner of Billy Smoothboars, will host their "Christmas at Billy's" Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the restaurant.

The next day, the Bandon Police Department is sponsoring its second "Shop With the Heroes," beginning at 1:30 at the Community Center.

*           *           *

I got all dressed up in black velvet, a shiny jacket and upswept hairdo for my first (and probably last) appearance on stage Friday night in the Bandon Playhouse production of "Christmas in the Aire."

As I was getting dressed I kept asking myself over and over again, "why did I promise to do this?" But it was late last summer when Claudine Hundhausen asked both city manager Matt Winkel and I if we would do a reading at the show she was going to produce in mid-December. Without hesitation (or maybe just a little) we both said yes.

I now appreciate what goes into any production at the Sprague Theater. It is a lot of hard work, particularly for those behind the scenes like the producer, director, stage managers, lighting person (Jeff Norris), etc.

For just our one little reading (which ended up with Matt and I "fighting" over whether we would read from the book "Twas the Night Before Christmas" or from the paper which Claudine had provided), it meant two practices.

Finally, I told Matt he could read from the book and I would read from the paper, since most of my paragraphs were on the opposite side of the book, which I could barely see. He finally agreed that we would carry the book out on the stage, but inside would be my papers. And it worked well, particularly after Claudine went out and bought a special light for the music stand, that we stood behind.

And that was just one small act. I can only imagine what it takes to produce an entire show, but from here on out, I will be the faithful supporter in the audience . . . not on the stage.

All in all, it was a great show and people seemed to love it . . . .

*           *           *

No one seems to know exactly what is happening at Bandon Bill's and the local Best Western motel, but it appears one thing is for sure: Tony's Pizza has closed.

A friend of mine said she and her family went out to Bandon Bill's (the main restaurant) to eat, but were told they were only serving food to those staying at the motel. I am not sure if that has changed, but if it has, they certainly need to let the public know.

We had also read that the entire motel complex had sold, but then someone said that didn't happen.

Hopefully whatever is happening out there will soon get resolved because it's a great facility and a big part of Bandon's lodging inventory.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

December 11, 2013

I have a lot of ideas for pictures (and a few stories) from the past, but I have to do a bit more research on when and where they were taken before I share them.

Everywhere you go in Bandon, you are greeted with thousands of Christmas lights, and the cold (make that extremely cold), crisp weather just adds to their beauty. True, It hasn't done much for our outdoor plants, but nothing lasts forever.

As I was looking through some of my old CDs, which contain photos from the past, I discovered this one of the lighthouse, which used to be lighted every Christmas. It was a job undertaken by the fire department, and I remember one year (and maybe more than once), vandals struck and tore down the lights. I am not sure why . . . or even when . . . we stopped lighting the lighthouse, but it was surely a beautiful sight.

The fire department used to decorate the lighthouse with Christmas lights

The tradition that returned this year was the lighting of the community Christmas tree, which I talked about last week. The tree came from Moore Mill (thanks to Julie's husband) and it was a beautiful specimen. I've heard that not everyone was happy about cutting down a tree of this size, but if you've driven around Southern Oregon lately, you will realize there are literally thousands more just like that left standing. I am thankful they chose to share it with the community.

The Bandon Community Christmas Cantata, "Sing with the Angels!", sponsored by the Bandon Ministerial Association, was held Friday night at the First Presbyterian Church and again on Saturday night at the Sprague Theater.

John Harding, retired Bandon School District choral teacher, was the musical director. Charlotte Pierce accompanied the choir at the piano, Tim Moore was the narrator, and Presbyterian church pastor Bobbi Neason was the producer.

Not all churches in Bandon belong to the Ministerial Association, but those who do (Faith Baptist, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, Holy Trinity Catholic, Langlois Community, Latter Day Saints, St. John's Episcopal, South Coast Assembly of God and Unity of Bandon) participated, along with the Coos Bay Assembly of God.

The 22-voice choir sang like angels . . .

*           *           *

Another event that a lot of us look forward to is the annual holiday party sponsored by tenants of Bandon Executive Suites (just south of the Bandon Shopping Center). One of the tenants, attorney Robin Miller, confirmed that he is in the process of purchasing the building, which is owned by C&K Market, Inc., and the estate of John McNutt.

The large portion of the building on the ground floor was formerly occupied by the Bandon VA clinic, which later moved to North Bend. The smaller portion adjacent to the former clinic is occupied by Rogue Valley Credit Union (formerly Chetco Credit Union). There are a number of offices upstairs.

Coastal Mist owners Kevin and Tara Shaw and their helpers catered the event, and, as usual, the food was "to die for." They do a wonderful job of catering, and their chocolate delicacies were definitely a big hit. Some of my friends said they had one of each.

*           *           *

This weekend is the Bandon Playhouse production of "Christmas in the Aire." It will be at the Sprague Theater Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 7:30. I am not sure how she managed to do it but the producer, friend and fellow councilor Claudine Hundhausen talked Matt and I into doing the reading "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" on Friday night. I don't think either of us have ever been "on stage" before and I am not sure what to expect.

But it sounds like a great show, which features a lot of really talented people . . .

Tickets are available at Bandon True Value, Bandon Mercantile, Billy Smoothboars and at the door.

*           *           *

You can imagine my surprise when I read the World's article last Wednesday about the mosquito abatement planned for 2014. The first thing that caught my attention was when the reporter said that 10,000 acres had been sprayed with insecticide in and around the marsh. That, of course, definitely was not true. After the county held a community meeting to outline their proposal to spray the marsh and the surrounding area, they decided not to spray anything but the marsh (less than 400 acres) because of the huge outcry by people who were not in favor of aerial spraying.

The article also said that the county is planning to begin aerial spraying in April. I called County Commissioner and long-time friend John Sweet (who had not seen the article) and he said they plan to apply larvacide, as needed, but it most likely will not be done aerially. There are other ways to apply, including fogging and hand application. The third concern he had about the article is that it made it appear that US Fish and Wildlife Service was not fully cooperating. He said nothing could be further from the truth. He said they are 100 percent invested in taking care of the problem. At any rate, he called me the next day to say that he had talked with several people at the paper, including the reporter, and he expected there would be three corrections.

Instead, in Saturday's paper, it simply said the number of acres sprayed was incorrect . . . and that was it.

Believe me, this is an extremely sensitive subject and when anything appears in print about mosquito abatement, it needs to be correct. That's all we ask.

*           *           *

Those of you who read the Western World will remember that I submitted a letter to the editor a couple of weeks ago in support of City Manager Matt Winkel. In the letter I mentioned several city councilors by name, which resulted in an extremely mean-spirited letter from a neighbor of one of the councilors.

It always hurts to read things like that (which went way beyond simply replying to my letter), but I've learned to "roll with the punches," so to speak, and after 54 years in the newspaper business and a combined 30 years in Bandon politics, you would think I'd be used to it by now.

At any rate, I received an email from a city manager in the state of Washington, who reads the Western World.

He said: "As a city manager, I really appreciate your defense of Matt Winkel in your letter to the editor a couple of weeks ago. Not every mayor would do that."

I definitely appreciated his remarks . . .

*           *           *

I have new photo software, which puts a small black border and a large white "matt" around each picture, no matter the size that you print. The first one that came out of the printer was a real treat. I had seen pictures framed like this, but I had no idea how to do it.

I have a few large 16x20 pictures of the beach ($40 and ready to frame), as well as several hundred small 4x6 beach and lighthouse photos, framed 5x7 photos and framed 8x10 photos.

Unfortunately I do not have a shop to display them, or I am sure I would have sold quite a few of them for Christmas presents.

Each of the small 4x6 prints is individually signed, and I sell them for $2. I know a lot of my readers live outside the area, but if anyone is interested in purchasing a selection of the prints, or a small album filled with pictures of Bandon, either email me at or call me at 541-404-7291. would be glad to send them to you.

I think you would be pleasantly surprised at the quality and how beautiful they look printed.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

December 04, 2013

I am not sure why I didn't sign up long ago, but a couple of weeks ago I took three of CyberLynx's computer class/labs. The first was about Microsoft Word, taught by computer whiz Maureen Haggerty. That night I returned to the library for a two-hour lab, which essentially meant that I could scan some of my old negatives on their larger scanner. I then received help from instructor Carolyn Sorenson on how to use Photoshop Elements. Janice (the owner of Lloyd's) also joined us just to watch.

But what was even more interesting was the envelope of old negatives which I chose to scan. The outside of the envelope said: "barge squeezing under Bullards Bridge."

Oliver Olson barge heads under Bullards Bridge

It was an Oliver J. Olson Co. barge that was towed under the bridge to pick up lumber at the Rogge Lumber Co. mill, remains of which you can see on the east side of the bridge.

Barge goes under the bridge (see lumber on shore)

The size of the barge completely dwarfed the small tug. I will share a couple of those pictures for those of you who don't remember when large lumber-carrying barges went up the river as far as Rogge Mill.

The barge completely dwarfs the much smaller tug

The next day, Maureen was holding an "open lab" at the Bandon Youth Center, and another woman, Karen, and I plied her with questions. Both of us were interested in learning more about an auxiliary hard drive, and it just happened that I had mine with me, so it worked out great. We got our questions answered.

Maureen is really knowledgeable and there's not much that she doesn't know about computers.

I will definitely be signing up for more CyberLynx classes. I think this is the brainchild of Bill Russell, and it's a great service for the community.

*           *           *

Perfect is the best way to describe it . . .

The lighting of the community Christmas tree, at the visitor center, brought out several hundred people Saturday evening to enjoy the caroling, treats and the countdown for the lights. The weather was great and everyone was enjoying the wonderful Christmas lights which decorated Old Town and the Port of Bandon. It was neat to see so many people browsing through the shops, many of which remained open later than usual.

A huge vote of thanks goes to the Greater Bandon Association, particularly Harv Schubothe and Kevin Shaw of Coastal Mist, with lots of help from chamber vice president Peter Braun of the Cobbler's Bench, and many other merchants who volunteered their time. Santa was there in the afternoon to greet the youngsters.

A few days earlier, it was quite a sight to see people decorating the very top of the 54-foot-tall tree from the safety of a lift bucket (for want of a better name). People in Old Town stopped what they were doing when I called their attention to the two guys putting the finishing touches to the very top of the tree.

I certainly hope this becomes an annual event . . . like it was in the "old days." It definitely was a great kickoff for the "Shop Bandon" season.

*           *           *

I realize that when one store "does it" others feel they have to follow the lead, but for those big box stores who opened on Thanksgiving, it seemed to be all about greed to me. I suppose next they will want to remain open on Christmas Day . . . for the last-minute shopper.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are generally the only two holidays that we can count on when most businesses are closed so families can be together . . . but now we can wipe Thanksgiving off that list.

*           *           *

Dan Barnett, owner of Billy Smoothboars, was pretty upset (in a Facebook post) after learning that the Ocean Crest Elementary School Concert was scheduled for the same evening as their "Christmas at Billy's for the less fortunate" in Bandon. Although he blamed the school board, one member was quick to point out that the board has nothing to do with decisions like that.

At any rate, Dan did the best thing he could. Rather than change the date, his event will still be on Dec. 18, but he moved it up. They will start their giving at 4 p.m. and continue until 7. That way families can enjoy Santa and all the festivities at Billy's before their concert.

Dan said their event has been on the community calendar for a year. I understand from a former teacher that before they schedule anything, it has to go to the district office to see if it conflicts with something already scheduled on the district calendar, but apparently it does not include community events.

Dan and Lynn have worked hard and are planning for more than 100 youngsters. I know it will be a huge success just like last year.

*           *           *

I began driving around town late Thanksgiving afternoon trying to find a newspaper. Yes, I'm a news "junkie" and I didn't want to miss the papers, even though I wasn't sure they would be printed on Thanksgiving. At the first paper box I went to (in the pitch dark), I inserted four quarters for the Register-Guard, but nothing happened. I got my quarters back. I found a box in a more lighted area and could see that it took eight quarters, which I had. I could see a sign on the World paper box, which indicated that you had to go to the market to get a paper as the paper boxes were not equipped to sell them (you needed 12 quarters and the boxes are programmed for 75 cents daily or $1.50 for the Saturday issue but not to accept $3 worth of quarters, which was the price of the Thanksgiving ad-stuffed edition). I quickly drove to the two markets, but found them both closed, so I went without my World (I later learned that I could have gotten it at The Highway Deli, but all I saw was "markets".) The next day, when I went to Ray's, I no longer felt the urge to pay $3 for the paper because I had pretty much read the ads in the R-G . . . but from the look of it, it was even larger than The Oregonian . . . and there were a lot of them on the paper stand.

I didn't need the ads because I prefer to shop at home . . .

*           *           *

I learned that actor Paul Walker, who starred in the "Fast and the Furious," died in a car crash in California on Saturday at the age of 40. Apparently he had been a frequent visitor to Coos County as his brother, grandparents and cousins live in North Bend.

Walker was a passenger in a Porsche Carrera GT driven by a friend, who was a former race car driver. The accident occurred around 3:30 in the afternoon and police said speed was a factor.

His grandfather, Paul II, was raised in Coquille and returned with his family to Coos County more than 20 years ago, according to an article, which appeared in the Sentinel on Aug. 1, 2001.

*           *           *

The Community Thanksgiving dinner was another huge success. It is so heartwarming to see the many people who come out to enjoy the dinner and the group of selfless volunteers who help to serve, cook and cleanup. Bob and Roseanne Gates stopped long enough to have a bite of dinner . . . around 1 o'clock, and Bob mentioned that they had been at The Barn since 2:30 in the morning cooking the turkeys. Now that's real dedication . . . and they do it year after year. There are many volunteers who return year after year to help . . . and it's much appreciated by those of us who enjoy the fruits of their labor.

previous columns by mary schamehorn