As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 24, 2010

After the Eugene Police Department and the courts get through with the University of Oregon football team, there may not be enough players left to scrimmage, let alone play a game.

News that another Duck had been arrested means that four U of O players have been arrested in less than a month, including the Pac 10 freshman running back of the year, LaMichael James, who allegedly tried to strangle his girlfriend.

But until today the paper has not addressed the elephant in the room, which is clearly drugs or alcohol or possibly both. When people are out roaming around in the middle of the night, and end up in critical condition in the hospital, they probably aren’t at a sewing bee. The fourth to be arrested, early Saturday morning, was charged with drunk driving, among other things. Oh yes, he didn’t have insurance on his vehicle, and he was too drunk to stay in his lane, which is probably what drew the attention of the officer.

The conduct of these athletes mirrors what happens in the University district, where many students live, on a weekly basis.

Oregon’s new coach Chip Kelly seems to be a decent, low key guy, and right about now I’ll bet he’s wondering what kind of a mess he’s gotten himself into. This may be one problem that even Nike boss Phil Knight cannot fix … no matter how much money he throws the athletic department’s way.

It’s as if these players feel they are entitled to act like drunks, brawlers and boors because they had a successful season.

It’s probably too late, but it’s high time they grew up.

*           *           *

I wondered how the Bandon Playhouse would handle my all-time favorite musical, Sound of Music. And I knew better than to worry. They aced it. It is a superb production, and one that everyone should see.

It’s hard to pick out a part, or a single actor, that I felt outshone the others. They were all great. I was sitting there in amazement wondering how a small town like Bandon could have so much talent, not only in the acting, singing, directing, set design, orchestra and costumers, but the overall production was absolutely stunning. The wedding scene was better than in the movie, with just the right lighting and ambience to pull it off.

I take it back. Little five-year-old Holly Hutton, one of the Von Trapp children, thrilled the audience. She’s precious and it was a big role for a little girl. But, like the other children, she was terrific.

And to top it off, several of the actors were fighting a sore throat, but they still did a wonderful job.

They’ve been rehearsing this production since October, and it showed.

The Sound of Music runs two more weekends (Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and Sundays at 2), and if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure and go. They had pretty good crowds opening weekend, so if you don’t remember to get a ticket, just drive on out to the Sprague Theater the night of the performance, and I’m sure you will be able to get in.

The cast and crew have worked very hard to bring top notch entertainment to the local stage, and the people of Bandon need to support them. Most small communities don’t have a group like the Bandon Playhouse, let alone a theater like the Sprague.

We are, indeed, fortunate.

*           *           *

A lot of people in Bandon lost a good friend last week with the death of Airlee Owens. We all had our own special reason for loving him. Airlee and I didn’t always agree politically, but we both loved photography and for years we would share, via e-mail, our latest pictures. Although I have to admit, no matter how good I thought mine were, they could never compare with his. But he was kind and always praised my work. But I knew the difference … and so did he. He was proud of his military career and spent Friday nights year after year sitting with his friends on the corner of Highway 101 and 42 with a large American flag.

Late last year he was diagnosed with colon cancer and although the doctors told his son, Brad, (who kept us well informed as to his dad’s ups and downs with several e-mails a week), that he was cancer-free, he was still in a lot of pain. He underwent some kind of surgery last week and that night he died of an apparent blood clot.

We will all miss Airlee, and I am sure his funeral, Saturday, March 6, at 1 p.m. at the BHS gym, will be well attended as he had made many friends during his long years in Bandon.

*           *           *

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect at the Bridal Faire that Nancy Evans put on Saturday at the Barn, Bandon’s conference and community center, but she persuaded me to go, and I’m glad I did.

It was a terrific event, and it was well attended. I think by 3 o’clock they estimated that over 200 people had been there to view the many booths featuring wedding photographers, dresses, caterers, florists and everything “wedding” that you could possibly think of. There was also a fashion show, narrated by our own Jeff Norris, which featured bridal gowns, attendants’ dresses, little guys dressed in tuxedoes, and party dresses of all sizes and styles. It was fun.

There was also a group of tables, each decorated in a different theme, which gave people an idea of what was available if they wanted to hold a special event at the Barn, and I’m not talking just a wedding.

It’s hard to imagine the beautiful facility that is there today was once the funky old Barn. Yes, it served us well as a community center all these many years, but this remodeled facility is truly a gem.

And a lot of people saw it Saturday.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 17, 2010

When I heard today what a group of women had to go through in order to put on a little benefit reception for artist Carol Adams, who suffered a crippling stroke several months ago, I decided it was time to seek some answers.

I remember a couple of years ago, when the city was hosting a “meet your representative” day at City Hall, I mentioned to Rep. Wayne Krieger and Senator Jeff Kruse how burdensome the laws had become for people planning reunions, receptions, parties, or any other event where food is served – if the public is invited.

They both seemed surprised to hear my concerns, but like a lot of other things, I quickly forgot about it. That was until last summer when the Powers Alumni Association, for the first time in many decades, could not advertise their annual alumni picnic, unless they wanted to go through a rigorous permit process. So they just hoped word of mouth would be enough.

Sunday I learned that, once again, friends of Adams would have to utilize word of mouth and a few posters to remind people of the benefit to be held Saturday, Feb. 27, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Second Street Gallery.

Carol has paralysis on one side, but has still been able to paint with her other hand, and some of her works will be auctioned off that night. There, I got my plug in, but I do know that the Coos County Health Department, who took over the “food safety” duties from the state some years ago, goes through the newspapers to find out who might be holding a “public” event.

What amazes me about this story is that I remember a local restaurant, which is no longer open, that was well-known for its filthy floors and less than clean surroundings, but continued to serve food day after day, year after year, to the public.

I guess it’s easier to monitor a small reception, the Tuesday dinner at the Powers Senior Center or a townwide reunion than it is a restaurant.

But I still want to hear from our representatives as to whether groups in other counties across the state are faced with these same restrictions. And if not, why not?

*           *           *

People are still reeling from the double homicide that resulted in the death of a well-known Bandon woman, Robin Anstey, and her boyfriend, Bob Kennelly, which occurred sometime between last Monday night and Wednesday when their bodies were found at his house at Flower Hill, six miles east of Bandon on Highway 42S.

But the tragedy was compounded by the fact that it was Robin’s son, Gabe Morris, who is being sought in connection with the murders. Several people remember Gabe from eight years ago, when he had just returned from a Mormon mission, and was working at the Rip Tide restaurant (now Bandon Bill’s Grill) at the Inn at Face Rock. One woman who worked with him said he was an extremely nice guy, and she was shocked to learn that he is the one being sought for the murders. Apparently he’d had some serious lifestyle changes in the last eight years, and he’d returned to Bandon only a few months ago.

It is interesting to note that he had worked as a police officer in Idaho, and his story appeared in the paper just about the time that former Myrtle Point police officer Patrick Horath, who was also a police reserve in Bandon, went before a Coos County Circuit Court judge to learn if he would receive the death penalty if found guilty of killing his sister-in-law, Jaime Sue Austin, in Fairview several months ago.

That court appearance came one day before a big story in the Oregonian about a well-respected Clackamas County police sergeant, who shot and killed his wife, another woman, critically injured a third and then killed himself Thursday night in downtown Gresham.

In a further irony, Bandon Police Chief Bob Webb was out of town when the murders were discovered – attending homicide training.

Maybe Coos County should host the training. We’ve certainly had our share of murders in the last couple of years.

*           *           *

It was sad to learn that long-time Bandon resident Al Geiszler, 92, died Thursday, Feb. 11, after an ambulance he was riding in crashed on an icy road near Fargo, North Dakota. Al and Myrtle had lived in Bandon for around 40 years, and had moved to Jamestown, N.D., last fall. Although details are a bit sketchy, it seems that Myrtle was already in the hospital, and Al had some sort of “episode” that required a trip to the hospital, but it was not thought to be life-threatening. But on the way the ambulance hit ice and rolled over on the Interstate.

According to a press release in the Fargo paper, the ambulance was destroyed, but two ambulance workers were treated for minor injuries.

Al and Myrtle lived in the house on Eleventh Street that borders the football field, and were well-known in the community. Myrtle worked at the hospital for many years.

*           *           *

There are several events going on this weekend that people may want to take in. The Sound of Music opens Friday night at the Sprague Theater for a three-weekend run, and it sounds like it will be terrific. That’s always been my favorite musical, and I can’t wait to see it again.

Saturday, the Bandon Bridal Faire is being held at the Barn, Bandon’s Conference and Community Center in City Park, and it’s not just for those who are planning a wedding in their future. The event will open at 11 a.m. and tickets can be purchased at the door for $6, or complimentary tickets are available by contacting Bev Lanier at City Hall no later than 3 p.m. Friday.

This is an opportunity for anyone planning a special event or occasion to see all of the things that make a party of any type a memory for a lifetime.

And people will get a sizeable discount on the cost of the room, tables, chairs, linens, etc., if they book 10 rooms for two nights or more at any of Bandon’s hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 10, 2010

A recent national poll showed that more than 45 percent of the people who tune in each year for the Super Bowl do so to watch the commercials. More than 50 percent of us prefer the game, and we definitely weren’t disappointed this year. It was a super game.

But those of you who chose the commercials must have been extremely disappointed. What amazes me is that ad agencies were actually paid big bucks to put together those ads and that companies paid in excess of a million dollars a pop to run them.

I have often admired the commercials in recent Super Bowls; but not this year. The worst, in my estimation and others watching the game with me, was the Doritos ad which pictured a casket full of Doritos at a funeral, with the “deceased” inside munching down on Doritos. The casket falls over in front of the shocked family, and Doritos spill across the church. Talk about poor taste; this was the big winner in that category.

But back to the game. Seldom has one city been as well represented as New Orleans was this year. Peyton Manning, the Colts quarterback, was raised in New Orleans, where his parents and older brother still live. And the Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, and his wife are very active in charitable organizations in New Orleans. Both are extremely classy guys. This was one of those games us football fans won’t soon forget … no matter which team we were rooting for. Everyone I know (sorry Chris) was cheering for the Saints and we were thrilled with the outcome.

(Monday morning update: I have since read about two of them, which people are raving about, that I must have missed. So I guess they weren’t all bad; just the ones that I saw. That will teach me to leave the room, even for a minute.)

*           *           *

I usually don’t get up very early as I am definitely what you would call a “night owl.” But on the days that I go to work in Myrtle Point, I have to get up by 7:30. So you can imagine my surprise the other morning when the phone rang just a couple of seconds after I got up. I could not imagine who would be calling me at that hour. I answered, and a male voice said: “I’d like to make an appointment . . .” (wow, I thought, he must be pretty upset about something if he calls the mayor at 7:30 to make an appointment) “to have a hog butchered.”

I burst out laughing. There was deadly silence on the other end of the line because he didn’t understand what was so funny about killing a pig. He thought he was calling Bussman’s slaughter house, whose number is 347-4208 … not 2408. This definitely isn’t the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. When I still had a functioning answering machine, a lady from Coquille left her entire meat order on my machine without realizing she had the wrong number. Since she hadn’t left her number, just her first name, I called Bussman’s and suggested that they might want to call her.

Last week, however, I had an experience that didn’t generate much laughter. At 5:13 a.m., the ringing of the phone jolted me out of a sound sleep. I rushed into the other room, fearful that at that hour it was probably bad news. But it was a Hispanic man and he said “hello,” over and over and over again. I kept asking him what or who he wanted, but he just kept repeating “hello.”

I had a hard time believing it was a wrong number, since he didn’t say that. But then I remembered I still have caller ID, even though I don’t have an answering machine, and discovered the phone was listed to a “Gloria Rivera” and it gave the number as 347-715-4765. Since the “347” appears to be the area code, the call obviously did not originate from around here.

I just looked it up and discovered that “347” is the area code for New York, so it was actually 8 a.m. his time … and he definitely had the wrong number.

*           *           *

It never ceases to amaze me how many people say they don’t read the local paper … and in the same breath seem amazed to learn about some of the neat things that are going on in Bandon, because they hadn’t heard about them. I try to point out to them that there is some correlation between reading the local paper … and knowing what is happening in the community.

The paper does a good job of letting people know about events, not only in Bandon, but in the surrounding communities.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people wouldn’t want to keep informed about what’s going on in their own communities.

But I’m an avid newspaper reader, and that won’t change until, heaven forbid, the last one closes its doors.

*           *           *

The Sound of Music (my all-time favorite musical) is set to open on the Sprague Theater stage Friday night, Feb. 19, for a three-weekend run, and from what I hear, it should be wonderful. It’s been more than 20 years since the Playhouse staged the popular musical in the first Harbor Hall, located in Old Town where Second Street Gallery is now. (I hope I’m right about that, but I may be getting it mixed up with Fiddler on the Roof, but I don’t think so.)

Most of you have probably heard by now that they had an unfortunate accident on stage several weeks ago when one of the props fell from the ceiling. Apparently as it was being lowered, it got hung up on something and crashed to the ground, striking Beth Hutton in the forehead, hitting Doni Prescott in the shoulder and also hitting the Presbyterian Church pastor Bobbie Neason. I know that at least Beth and Doni were taken to the hospital, where Beth ended up with 18 stitches.

It was quite a terrifying event for those on stage, and theater manager Jeff Norris said, to his knowledge, it’s the first such accident that’s happened in the long years of Playhouse productions.

Everyone is just thankful that the injuries weren’t even more serious, and that it didn’t hit one of the younger members of the cast.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 03, 2010

I appreciate something free as much as the next person does. But not when they are plastic-wrapped newspapers that are tossed across the community in front of houses, whether or not anyone actually lives there.

We have a number of homes in the community where people come for a weekend, or during the warmer summer months, and I am sure they would not appreciate a rolled up newspaper, in non-biodegradable plastic, lying in front of their homes for days on end … as a sure sign that no one is home. That is until the crows find them. As soon as they find out that newsprint isn’t really edible, the papers will be left to litter the area.

I am not sure where these shopper-type papers are coming from, but I noticed a lot of them still lying on the ground Sunday morning in the area of Klamath, Lexington and June avenues.

It’s one thing to send a sample paper through the mail, but please whoever is doing this, we don’t need any more litter here.

*           *           *

While on that subject, Art Brewer, manager of Ray’s Food Place, which has adopted the section of Highway 101 north of town, says that more than half of the garbage they pick up on any given day appears to have blown out of people’s rigs as they are on their way to the dump. Or, Art said, it has come from plastic bags that have been ripped open by our friends the crows.

At any rate, if you’re hauling your own garbage to the Beaver Hill Disposal Site, please be sure that it is well secured and doesn’t end up along the highway.

It’s hard enough to pick up the pop cans and paper cups thrown out the window by thoughtless people without having to pick up garbage that was intended for the Coos County dump.

*           *           *

While in the store Sunday I picked up a small flyer explaining that Rick Frank, the popular nurse practitioner that can be found in the emergency room at Southern Coos Hospital, and his wife, Dianne, an OB nurse, will be leaving Wednesday (Feb. 3) to fly out of Ft. Lauderdale bound for Haiti. They will be serving at Heartline Ministries, and will be on the plane, which will take medical supplies and personnel to volunteer at Heartline.

They plan to be there for three weeks, or perhaps as long as a month. People who want to be part of this “Bandon” effort and help make a difference can donate to an account in the name of the Franks at Umpqua Bank in Bandon.

I know your help will be appreciated.

*           *           *

My pal Joseph Bain sent me a link to an article indicating that after the tax vote, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley plans to start recruiting businesses to Chicago. He said it would help Chicago’s economic development immediately. “You’d better believe it,” Daley said in the Portland Business Journal. “We’ll be out in Oregon enticing corporations to relocate in Chicago. I’ll be very frank. I make no bones about that.”

Hopefully, the corporations who might be looking at leaving Oregon for Chicago will take a long hard look at the tax structure of the windy (and bitterly cold) city … where people pay a sales tax of 10.25 percent. That’s right; you read it right, Chicago has what is probably the highest sales tax in the nation. And every man, woman and child pays “through the nose” when they purchase anything that is subject to the tax. The sales tax for Illinois state is 6.25; for Cook County, it’s 2.75 percent and for Chicago city it’s 1.25 percent for the grand total of 10.25 percent.

A friend of mine just flew out here from Chicago last week for a visit and he was marveling at the fact that we don’t have a sales tax. And when he told me how much he’s used to paying (well, that’s not true, he says you never get used to it), I was blown away.

If corporations care at all for the families who work for them, they’ll stay put right here in Oregon where they have enjoyed some of the lowest corporate taxes in the country, and have now moved from fourth lowest in the nation to, I believe, about eighth.

I think I will respond to Mayor Daley, and suggest that he “bone up” on the real tax situation in Oregon.

As most of you know, we are one of only five states in the country without a sales tax. The others are Alaska, Delaware, Montana and New Hampshire.

Do I believe that’s a good thing for Oregon? Not really, but a sales tax proposal has been turned down many times in this state, and it’s not likely the voters will ever approve it … no matter how skewed our system becomes.

*           *           *

It’s sad to learn that our beautiful brown pelicans are dying here on the coast. They have been observed in some parts of the coast begging for food, having no fear of humans and eating bread crumbs as handouts. Many of the birds are emaciated, or starving, and this is apparently the reason they are not afraid of humans.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is urging people not to feed the pelicans as their diet is very particular. Good intentions of feeding pelicans the bones and heads of fish can cause damage to their throat pouch. Also fish bait can be contaminated with harmful bacteria or may be treated with chemicals to promote better fishing or preserve the bait, but it can make a pelican very ill.

Apparently a large number of pelicans remained along the coast through the winter because of the abundance of food. But now the storms and high winds have limited their ability to hunt and dive for food.

Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into a major disaster for those beautiful birds that provided such a show for us this fall and winter.

previous columns by mary schamehorn