As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 27, 2013

I'm going to try and be a little more upbeat this week after several people told me that my column was a bit of a "downer" last week . . . wrecked properties, deaths and illness.

I'll try to do better . . . .

*           *           *

Well maybe. I just came inside after planting two dahlia tubers in pots . . . before I read the warning label that said for this area, I needed to wait until April or May. Oops. I had a couple more to plant but decided to wait.

It's a good thing I did because I just turned on the computer to see a freeze (down to 30) warning for Monday night and Tuesday. As soon as I finish my column, I'll drag the pots into the garage in the hopes that they won't freeze before they have any chance at actually growing. Oh well, at least I didn't plant all four of them.

As soon as the sun comes out, like it did Sunday, I start thinking about summer . . . forgetting that March and April can be the wettest times of the year.

Oh well, I'm hopelessly optimistic.

*           *           *

I do have to give a small update on my once beautiful property at Powers. I did go up there the day after I wrote my column last week and it was worse than I had imagined. Not only were all the windows broken out of both the entry door and the door between the sunroom and the living room, but the long kitchen window was boarded up, one window in the sunroom was broken, one of the windows in the bedroom was boarded up . . . but the worst was the big window in the living room, which had a heavy piece of material over it. I pulled it back to find a large piece of chain link fence (not sure where that came from but my property is surrounded by a chain link fence) in place of where the glass once was.

I called the police and the chief told me to serve the former tenant with a letter, which said that he, his girlfriend or any of their friends would be arrested if they came back on the property, which I did.

When I mentioned the broken windows (specifically the living room window) he said, "Oh that happened four and a half months ago." What that meant, I'm not sure. He had earlier told me, when he said he was going to repair the windows, that there were a couple of broken windows, which occurred when people had had a fight inside the house. I also mentioned the huge holes in the sheet rock, but he said they didn't do that . . . .

Several friends are planning to clean it up, and I've got someone who is going to try and get glass in the windows so we can start making it livable again.

I learned that the electricity had been off since mid-November, so I had that turned back on, and sent a check to the City of Powers for $347 to get the water turned back on. Thank heavens I didn't have to pay the power bill as it was over $900 (we found a bill from September in the garbage left in the house).

I think I will write a book about my experiences as a landlord . . . or maybe not.

P.S. I mentioned that my rental here in town needed a new hot water heater, but I wasn't sure how much that would cost. I received the statement this week . . .and it was $719.

Now do you understand why I can't afford to be a landlord?

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Along the same subject, there was an item in the sheriff's log recently from Harmony Road in Coos Bay. It was titled "littering." The press remarks were: ERB subjects dumping garbage at location; ongoing problem. Log for information, owners of property are junk/metal collectors."

I guess that's all it takes in Coos County. If you have enough junk on your property, just tell the authorities that you are a junk dealer.

If you've driven around the rural parts of the county lately, you'll understand what I'm talking about . .

It's sad.

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I don't know if this has happened to any of my readers, but several weeks ago, I simply stopped getting emails from the Myrtle Point Herald. They are critical to me and to the paper as I do a lot of editing here at home. The paper routinely send me letters to the editors, obits and all the sports stories, but none were coming through no matter how many times they sent them. Strangely enough, I was getting emails from other sources. So the staff at the Herald spent hours trying to figure it out, and my boss sent me an email from her Wild Blue account . . . and it came through fine.

Then I remembered that once before Comp-U-Talk had held a large number of my emails because their Barracuda spam filter wasn't working properly. After three calls to them trying to figure out what was wrong, they finally figured it out. First they were sure that the Herald was not sending the emails to the correct address, which I assured them could not be the case since all they had to do was type "mary" . . . and instantly the email address came up. Then it was another excuse. Finally I convinced them that something was truly wrong at their end, and they discovered that Barracuda (or whatever spam filter they are using now) had, indeed, held all my emails from the Herald.

I asked why that happened and they said maybe it was because I was getting so many the filter thought it was spam. Didn't make much sense to me, but they soon released all my Herald emails and things were back to normal. I know I could use my Comspan address, but I have also had trouble with their spam filter. For awhile, it was taking anywhere from 10 to 24 hours for an email to get to me ... from the other side of town . . . or when I sent one from my own computer. Very frustrating.

I don't know how I ever got along without email, but now I can't do without it. I just want it to be more reliable.

Is that too much to ask?

*           *           *

One of my pet peeves is the fact that fire insurance for manufactured homes is often quite a bit more than for stick-built homes. Having owned 5 houses in the past couple of years, including two manufactured homes which were far superior to the other three, it's upsetting to have to pay more when you know that the house is so much better than the stick builts I was insuring.

The problem is that the insurance companies lump mobile homes (trailer houses) into the same category as manufactured homes on foundations. It simply does not seem right.

A case in point was an article on the front page of the City Region section of the Register-Guard Saturday. There was a picture of what was clearly a single-wide mobile home, which had burned in a fire. The story was correct as it said that two people jumped through a window to "escape a burning mobile home."

But under the caption it said: "A burned chair sits outside a single-wide manufactured home." There is clearly a difference between the two as you could see the metal skirting around it. It was not a manufactured home, but I guess until we can get the insurance companies to acknowledge the difference, we will continue to pay higher rates.

*           *           *

It's nice to see the cheese factory ahead of schedule even if the construction has caused a bit of disruption in the neighborhood. But that will all be forgotten once the beautiful new building is open for real and cheese starts flying off the shelves.

The Washed Ashore project officially opened in their new location at Harbortown Center Saturday. They sent out an email inviting people to stop by, but I got it five minutes before the 5 p.m. closing so wasn't able to go. But I am sure it will bring people into Old Town, just like the cheese factory will.

Spring will be here before we know it . . . .

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 20, 2013

I almost forgot that it was Sunday evening and I had to write my column. I had just received 15 pictures of my once-beautiful place in Powers . . . to discover that the renters had not only helped themselves to almost all the furniture and all the dishes, etc., but they had broken out six or seven windows.

When they moved "their" furniture out, they even took the banister off the stairs leading to the two bedrooms upstairs and flew the stuff down the stairs, damaging walls as they went.

My friend Margaret, who is the one who felt sorry for these people and got them into my house, was over there surveying the damage while we were talking on the phone. She discovered that there are holes in the walls, broken glass everywhere . . . and that was just inside the house.

The worst pictures that she sent were taken outside where there is garbage literally everywhere.

These people paid me $300 in July (of the $500 rent), nothing in August or September, $400 in October, $300 in November and nothing since then. Never once in the year that they lived there did they pay a full month's rent.

Although they had moved to Coos Bay, probably sometime in December, they kept the gate padlocked and had changed the locks on the house, but I had Margaret and her retired teacher friend break the padlocks and get into the house Sunday afternoon.

I plan to call the police first thing in the morning and trespass these people so that if they do come back on the property (maybe for some of their garbage or the tent they left in the front yard), they will be arrested for trespassing.

I plan to let him know that he is not to return to that property. I also have to figure out how to proceed with garnishing his wages as I think I deserve a little money for the way they trashed my property . . .and for the thousands in back rent that they owe me.

This has been a learning experience and I plan to sell the property as soon as I can. Since I own it outright (and it is 1.77 acres on the river with 260 feet of river frontage), I am going to try to sell it for $75,000 with a low down, and I'm offering it to my neighbors first.

I kick myself every day for ever renting it . . . but it's too late now. What's done is done.

*           *           *

I don't know how many of you have had one "one of those weeks," but this was definitely one for me. My other renter (who pays her rent) called on Valentine's Day to say that something was wrong with the hot water heater. The water heater was in the master bedroom, but thank heavens the water that was running through it wasn't going on the floor, but apparently beneath the house. The valve to turn the water off didn't work so I placed a frantic call to Stan Avery and he sent one of his plumbers over shortly before 6, and by 9 that night, the place had a new water heater. I haven't gotten the bill yet, but I am just thankful that Stan was able to get on it quickly before it did any more damage.

Aren't rentals fun?

*           *           *

Several weeks ago I wrote that popular elementary teacher Diane Smith, 42, was home after undergoing a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. She was doing well at first, but last week she developed a fever and was life-flighted to OHSU in Portland. When I talked to Mike Friday she was on a ventilator and remained in an induced coma.

They weren't sure it if were an infection that was causing the 102 degree fever or a graft vs. host reaction that was fighting the bone marrow transplant. They also opened up her chest to take off fluid around her heart.

Because of her compromised immune system, she cannot even have flowers, let alone visits from anyone except family members.

We are all praying that she will get better, and defeat this latest setback in her long struggle to get well.

*           *           *

There were a couple of interesting items in the sheriff's report last week. The first came from Coos Sumner Lane, Coos Bay. A man called the police to say that his wife was working on her computer when a message came on the screen stating that her computer was locked due to illegal activities and that she needed to pay $400 to have it unlocked. The man was given information for the Department of Justice fraud unit, and was also advised to have a good anti virus and firewall.

That's a new one . . . .

The other call came from a Highway 101, Bandon, address. The reporting party said a subject drove by his house and pointed a finger at him as though he was shooting him.

He doesn't say if this guy was on a bicycle because if he was, I can definitely figure out who it was as we've seen one of Bandon's finest do this to us on several occasions. But if the guy was in a car, then I have no idea who that might be.

*           *           *

I learned this week that Harvey "Skip" Longanecker, 64, a graduate of Bandon High School, passed away in Gresham on Feb. 12 after a courageous, but very brief, battle with pancreatic cancer. Skip and his family lived on a farm up Prosper. His father, Orval, was a farmer and a clergyman, and his grandfather Longanecker was a fifth grade teacher at Ocean Crest. He lettered in varsity football all four years at BHS and was a tuba player in the band.

Among his survivors are his wife, MaryLou, and his parents, Hester and Orval Longanecker.

A number of people from his hometown of Bandon attended the memorial service.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 13, 2013

There's a move afoot in Douglas County to reroute bicyclists headed down the Oregon Coast to travel inland instead and basically miss everything south of Reedsport.

I was reading the Douglas County News out of Winston when the headline "Cycling in Douglas County" caught my eye. Actually it was the subhead, "Umpqua-Crater-Rouge Alternate to the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route," that prompted me to read further.

The author, Wayne Estes, said that since perhaps half of the cyclists pedaling down the coast are from foreign countries and have an open-ended schedule, maybe they could be persuaded to turn inland "for better and more diverse scenery." (That, of course, is his opinion).

"To pursue that goal, I designed a route and created a tour guide to encourage long-distance cyclists to by-pass the southern Oregon coast and instead pedal up to Crater Lake on the Umpqua-Crater-Rogue alternate," said Estes.

The 380-mile route starts in Reedsport and follows the Umpqua and North Umpqua rivers up to Crater lake. Then it follows the Rogue, Illinois and Smith rivers to return to the Pacific coast in Crescent City, California.

Let's hope area chambers, like Bandon and Coos Bay, will take issue with his reasoning and encourage bicyclists to continue traveling down the Oregon coast ... through Coos County.

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If you live in my neighborhood and happen to have a white cat who loves to sit below my birdfeeder, you may wonder how he happened to take a bath (we all know how much cats love water) Sunday afternoon. It's the only thing I could think of when I saw him sitting so smugly waiting for the unsuspecting birds. My yard is fully fenced, so it's not like I'm inviting stray felines to visit.

I walked out with a full glass of water, and before he could scamper over the fence I'd pretty much doused him. He didn't seem to care much for his bath, but we'll see if it makes any difference.

My guess is he will join the stray orange cat and the neighbor's black and white cat in my yard tomorrow for a party.

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Nancy Drew surprised me recently with pictures which she'd copied from old issues of Western World ... I think while she was helping out at the museum. Nothing like seeing pictures of yourself, dating back almost 50 years, to remember the "good ole' days" and the not so good days. They range from a Merry Christmas ad many years ago, when Marilyn and Warren Strycker owned the Western World, to a picture of me being elected to the City Council in 1979. Another, taken in 1983, says that "Western World Editor Mary Schamehorn was among the winners of the Oregon 1982 Better Newspaper contest, sponsored by ONPA. I had won second prize in the "best editorial" contest in competition with all other weekly newspapers in the state. My award-winning editorial was titled "A Tribute to Teresa," and was written shortly after the tragic death of BHS senior Teresa Nelson, who was killed Oct. 27, 1981, in an automobile accident. Grown men said they cried when they read it. Another picture appeared in W. W. in 1985 when I was installed as president of the Bandon Chamber of Commerce.

Talk about memory lane . . . .

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Some time ago I wrote that I would never own a Frigidaire appliance after having sad and expensive experiences with a nearly new refrigerator and an even newer dishwasher.

Now I've another story to add to the list, and it also involves a refrigerator, but this time it's a GE. The side-by-side that I am sure has been in this house since it was built 11 or 12 years ago was doing fine until three and a half months ago when everything in the freezer thawed out and the refrigerator side wouldn't hold the temperature either. We called the Sears repairman and $400 dollars later and a new thermostat, it worked fine ... until last week. The first clue was the brick-hard frozen yogurt; the second was the thermometer, which indicated the temperature was 20 degrees below zero and dropping. And the temperature on the refrigerator side is now 50 degrees . . . 10 degrees over the recommended temp to keep food safe.

It will be interesting to see what the repairman says.

I know we live in a throw-away era, but surely a $400 repair should last more than three and a half months.

But maybe not . . . .

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If you drove by the Barn/Community Center Saturday, you might have wondered what was going on. Not only did the Lions have their annual pancake breakfast and auction, but the Women's Health Day program was going on in the north side of the building.

Thankfully it was a dry day or it could have been a real challenge to get in there without getting soaked.

The Lions event was great and judging from the number of auction items, I am sure they made quite a bit of money, which always goes to worthy causes.

The people we really need to thank are those businesses and individuals who continue to support these charitable events even though business is anything but booming at this time of the year.

The fundraisers wouldn't be such a success without their generous contributions and we need to thank them by shopping in their stores.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 06, 2013

Bandon has a lot of good restaurants and eating places; unfortunately January seems to be the month when some of them close for a month or so if they are inclined to do so.

I'm always glad to see Bandon Baking Co. re-open as I love their soup and bread lunch . . . as long as it's not split pea.

I can always count on Jason Tree at Pacific Blues for a wonderful vegeterian meal; you can't beat his stuffed red peppers or his Greek salads, and he's open seven days a week.

Melody Juarez, Julie Stefanelli and I decided to go to dinner Saturday night and we chose Edgewater's since two of our favorite places, Alloro and The Loft, were closed.

I had a steak and it was one of the best cuts of meat I've had in a long, long time, and Julie said her fish dinner was the best she'd ever had there. Melody had crab cakes and they're always good.

We are fortunate to have so many good restaurants and I particularly appreciate those who serve the locals day in and day out, without closing. I can also understand why some do close because they are so busy during the tourist season that they need a break at some point ... and I guess January is as good as any. Everyone should be open this month, except McFarlin's and they're scheduled to re-open March 16 unless, as one employee said on her website, "it doesn't sell first."

Spring and the long-awaited cheese factory will be here soon, and I can't wait. Every day I see people viewing or taking pictures of the newly placed Washed Ashore sculptures in Old Town, and everyone is talking about how grand the Face Rock Creamery building looks.

It's important to remain upbeat even when the national unemployment numbers continue to worsen.

Things will get better . . . trust me.

*           *           *

I often see things in the daily sheriff's report that either amuse . . . or confuse me. One appeared Sunday morning which I found pretty funny . . . unless, of course, it had happened to me.

Shortly before midnight Saturday night, at a Beach Loop Road home (I think the address should remain a secret lest it embarass someone) it says: "victim flagged down officer. Det: no crime, female had been handcuffed and they broke a key off trying to get them off of her."

That's one story I'd love to know more about . . .

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I happened to read the Facebook page of former Bandon resident Frances Williams (Crew), who has worked at Fred Meyer for many years. She lives in Coos Bay with her son, Greg Crew.

It appears that someone broke into their home (I think while she was at work) and stole their checkbooks, plus a few of their possessions, including their flat-screen TV.

"Some couple bought my TV I heard through the teenagers grapevine. They want me to buy my TV from them. I don't know who they are . . . but it will be a cold day in . . . before I pay for my TV again. I hope it blows up on them."

They also took her computer and ransacked her home. She says she doesn't have the money to replace the things that were stolen but she's thankful to her bank which immediately closed her accounts "so the loser thieves" couldn't access whatever they had left.

Burglaries are becoming all too commonplace in Coos County this winter and people need to take extra precautions, particularly if they are going to be gone for an extended period of time.

I read the other day that a gang of thieves had gotten a hold of a newspaper's list of subscriptions that were put on hold, while Snowbirds were away for the winter . . . and they broke in and cleaned out many of the homes that were on that list.

Sounds like an inside job to me as it's hard to believe that information would be readily available to a band of thugs.

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More and more I realize how fortunate Bandon is to have a city manager the caliber of Matt Winkel. There was a front-page article in the Salem Statesman-Journal Saturday which contained an interesting story about the former city manager of nearby Dallas.

Jerry Wyatt had just been sentenced to serve two years in prison, another year of post-prison supervision and he was ordered to pay $11,847 in restitution for everything that he charged to the city's credit cards and general fund in more than a year of devious activity. We're talking about two bottles of wine for $750, more than $500 worth of baseball bats for his son, trips all over the country for him and his family (ostensibly for him to attend conferences, which didn't exist), a pink cell phone for his wife . . . and the list goes on and on.

For those purchases, he jeopardized his salary, which was over $10,000 a month, not to mention his job and his reputation.

But the interesting thing is that his PERS benefits remain intact. According to a PERS benefit comparison document, Wyatt would be eligible for about $26,645 per year beginning at age 60. That's considerably less than a Tier One employee makes (more like $3,000 to $5,000 a month for the rest of their lives), but since he's only 46 now, he will still have to find gainful employment after he gets out of prison, and I doubt that it will be in his chosen profession.

*           *           *

I also saw an account of a burglary right here in Bandon. Wendy (Wanda) Collver posted on her Facebook a warning to parents to watch out for their kids or their friends.

"The medicines stolen from my house were Xanax, Ambian, Topamax and a narcotic pain killer. The new things with kids today is putting pills together and just taking whatever they grab. It's a game. Topamax is the only potential deadly medication for someone who does not have a seizure disorder or a neurological disease, but all will cause slow speech, unusual behavior, sleepiness, etc. Topamax can also cause blackouts, paralysis, difficulty breathing, cognitive dysfunction, etc. If you see any of these symptoms, or strange pills or empty pill bottles with or without labels with our names on it. If you suspect anything please calmly talk to your kids. If you need to take them to the ER let them know what possible meds they may have taken and please please report it to the police. We have reported it to the schools and filed a police report, as well," she said.

Last year "one teen ended up in a coma and almost died," she said.

*           *           *

Another police matter was a burglary reported Jan. 27 by the Dunes. It seems that one of the golf course shops had been broken into. A report was taken for first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree burglary, and first-degree theft. It was requested that the day crew do an inventory of missing items.

It's hard to believe that the average small-time burglar would go out to the resort and break into a high-end shop; again it sounds like someone who knew what was there.

*           *           *

Here's another for the "believe it or not" category. The sheriff's office got a call from a Barview Road (Coos Bay) resident shortly before noon on Thursday saying she "can't get out of her driveway . . . has a knife sticking out of her." The woman, who said she lived alone and fell on a knife, was transported to Bay Area Hospital via Bay Cities Ambulance.

Definitely not funny . . . .

*           *           *

I was sorry to learn that Barbara Rogge Faulkner's husband, Dave, had died recently. I knew he had been battling leukemia for quite some time, but everyone was praying for a better outcome.

Barbara and Dave lived on Floras Lake, but I often saw them here in town. They were very close and I know this is going to be very hard on Barbara, who is one of the kindest, nicest people I've ever known. She graduated from Bandon High School and was the daughter of Ken and Dorothy Rogge, who owned Rogge Mill (just east of Bullards Bridge) for many years.

I haven't seen any service notice or obituary but several people confirmed this.

previous columns by mary schamehorn