As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 26, 2014

If you're looking for a light-hearted feel-good column this week, you might as well stop reading right now. But if it's "hard" (both literally and figuratively) news that you're seeking, keep on reading. This will not be an easy column to write, and there will be no history photos this week, although the program at the museum Thursday night, commemorating the 40-year anniversary of the arson fire which destroyed Bandon High School, was very well received. It was attended by a mix of firemen (including now Chief Lanny Boston) who helped battle the blaze, as well as students who were attending school at the time and some newcomers who were interested in the history.

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Bandon people were saddened to learn of the shooting deaths of Astrid Battle Fannick, 67, and her husband, Sidney Fannick, 62, which occurred sometime recently at their home on Franklin Avenue. No one knows how long they lay there after an apparent suicide-pact double shooting, but they were found some days later by a friend who had become concerned because no one had seen them.

Sidney was on our city budget committee, and Astrid previously served as a volunteer at the Bandon visitor center, and was a member of Unity Church of Bandon. They could often be seen walking around town together, holding hands. It was obvious they were very much in love.

No one is exactly sure what happened, but a friend told me that one of them suffered from a serious medical problem, but I can't confirm that. Any concerns about foul play were removed when their wills and other important papers were reportedly found lying on a table.

Such a tragic ending for two kind, gentle people.

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Another piece of news that is painful to write about involves a California man with Bandon ties.

Michael D. Drobot, 69, who is the father of Face Rock Creamery owner Greg Drobot and the owner of the Colony development on Beach Loop, has pled guilty in connection with what California state officials describe as the state's largest ever worker's compensation scheme.

The scheme also involves a California state senator, Ron Calderon.

Eric Weirich, deputy commissioner of the enforcement branch of the California Department of Insurance, said in a joint press conference last week that the scheme involved more than 150 insurance companies and is the largest such case in state history.

"With Drobot now cooperating with the government, Weirich warned that his agency will find those who are breaking the law," according to an article in a Long Beach area newspaper. "As part of his deal, Drobot agreed to plead guilty to two counts, conspiracy and payment of kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program."

The incidents involved kickbacks for performing spinal surgeries on worker's comp patients at Pacific Hospital, which was then owned by Drobot.

Greg Drobot told me Saturday night that he was just beginning to learn about the case and was quick to point out that the Face Rock Creamery will not be affected in any way as his father had no assets in the business nor anything to do with the business. This was confirmed by searching through the Coos County assessor's records, which show the properties that Michael Drobot owns; they do not include Face Rock Creamery. He owns several ranches on Lower Fourmile Lane as well as properties on Randolph Lane.

Greg, who has earned the respect of the City of Bandon and the community for his work ethic and determination to provide a first-class cheese factory for Bandon, said this is the most embarrassing thing he has ever had to face, but those of us who know him realize that he had nothing to do with whatever his father became involved in . . . and we continue to thank him for what he has done for Bandon.

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I do not know all the details, but I am sure they will surface in the coming weeks. I have learned from a very good source that Dr. Gail McClave is no longer associated with the Bandon Community Health Clinic.

The Clinic will continue to be managed by Linda Maxon and is planning to move into the former VA Clinic building, now owned by attorney Robin Miller, as soon as the remodeling is complete.

I understand they will begin the search for a new doctor to serve the clinic.

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In the past couple of weeks, I've watched the barbecue cart at Ray's Food Place move from its previous long-time spot on the sidewalk in front of the store to a new location just north and then out front in the parking lot. Saturday it was situated in one of the parking spots in front of the store.

Trying to figure out what was behind that, I decided to ask. I was told that the new deputy state fire marshal had paid them a visit and said it was against fire code regulations to be under the roof covering the porch, so they moved north away from the roof. Again she advised that was not satisfactory, apparently because it was too close to the propane tanks. So it forced them out into the parking lot, which means that on rainy days they probably won't be cooking.

What surprises me the most, as well as Ray's, is that they have been cooking in that same location for quite a few years and no one, not even Fire Chief Lanny Boston, who is pretty conscientious about fire hazards, reportedly said a word about it. I hope to talk to him within the next week about the issue . . .

I understand she said she is new to the area and plans to enforce the laws.

That's pretty evident . . .

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On a lighter note, I have heard rave reviews about the Bandon Playhouse production of "The Trip to Bountiful," and Molly (my sister) and I plan to go this coming weekend. If you've never been to one of their productions, and, of course, even if you're a long-time supporter like I am, you won't want to miss this.

So much work goes into putting on something like this for the community, and our friends and neighbors take time away from their work, family and friends to rehearse night after night to bring it to the stage.

"The Trip to Bountiful" will be staged Friday and Saturday nights (7:30) and Sunday matinees (2 p.m.) for the next two weekends. If you don't want to buy a ticket in advance, they are readily available at the door.

Why not treat yourself to a fun night out and support a long-standing tradition of good theater from the Bandon Playhouse.

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Another popular event that is coming up is the Bite of Bandon on Saturday evening, March 1, sponsored by the Bandon Youth Center, beginning at 6 in the Barn/Community Center. People can join in tasting great culinary bites served by Bandon restaurants and specialty food businesses, and also bid on a number of silent auction items.

Tickets are $25 each or two for $40 and can be purchased at a number of locations including Bandon Baking Company and Coastal Mist in Old Town, at the Youth Center and at Our Thrift Store. At the latter two locations, people can pay with a credit card.

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Whether or not you like President Barack Obama isn't really the issue, but I personally find the latest Kiefer Kia ads (coming out of Eugene) ridiculous and racist. They feature the back of a tall, thin black man saying "My fellow Americans, we want to talk about the Affordable Car Act," as, of course, a play on words for the Affordable Care Act.

I have never before emailed anyone about an offensive ad, but I took the time to email Kiefer Kia.

Moments later I received a robo-type email thanking me for my interest in their cars.

But that's the last I heard from them. Obviously they didn't care about my concerns, or those of others I've talked to, as they kept on airing the commercial during the Olympics.

I guess that sells cars to a certain audience . . . but I certainly would not be one of them.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 19, 2014

The information on the outside of the envelope of old negatives, dated June of 1957, read "old reservoir before swimming pool project started." I had no idea what "old reservoir" they were talking about, and I was curious about the pool project that my uncle (who took the pictures) was talking about.

I went over to Western World to search through the bound volume of papers from 1957, and here's what I learned.

A front-page article in June of that year reads: "A map, plans and cost estimates for proposed development of the old city reservoir area into a swimming and picnic area will be . . . presented to the next meeting of the City Council." Raleigh Greene (long-time owner of the Bandon Theater) was chairman of the citizens committee that was spearheading the swimming pool (as they referred to it) project.

Greene and Ron Larson (long-time owner of Larson's Cleaners) were to prepare a map of the site, and Ralph Swenston (Joy Tiffany's father), aided by Bob Schultz (Judy Knox' father) and George Steddom (former mayor), were to draw up plans for the proposed bath-house construction.

That data, plus "a financial statement of money now in the bank for the swimming pool fund", was to be presented to the council.

Other committee members were John Fasnacht (long-time city manager/manager of utilities), Alvin Mullikin (high school principal), Henry Hohman, Lou Felsheim (my uncle who is still living in Bandon and celebrating his 91th birthday in March), Bob Norton (father of Barbara McMahon) and Ralph Yockey (father of Nadine Borgard).

The next week, an article appeared explaining that "bulldozer work is underway today at the old City reservoir east of Bandon, on which are pinned hopes for a community 'swimming hole' for trial use this summer."

It added: "the immediate needs appeared to be an access roadway north from Highway 101 opposite Twin Firs motel, some shaping to make a gentler slope at the water's edge, and scraping some vegetation and mud off the sandy bottom of the reservoir, which has been drained."

That highway, as we now know it, is Highway 42S, but until the "new highway" to Coos Bay opened in 1960, it was the only highway inland. And Twin Firs motel (which was about a mile and a half east of Bandon) has long since been torn down.

The article goes on to say that "if use of the reservoir swimming area can be made soon, it is planned to use part of the annual $1,200 summer recreation funds, supplied $600 each from City and School District, to provide the guard supervision," referring to life guards.

Swimming Hole
Bandon's 1957 community "swimming hole" project

Then work began. The picture I'm including is copied from Western World, and shows progress being made on Bandon's community "swimming hole" project. Pictured are Vic Backlund (probably a summer employee who now lives in the Salem area and is the brother of Betty Hiley) and long-time city employee Bob Hiley. Fasnacht is quoted as saying there "are problems of opening and testing drains and flushing the reservoir," so who knows what happened.

It sounded like a great project . . . but apparently it never came to fruition. I searched completely through the remainder of the 1957 papers and never found another word about it. Since that is the summer I turned 18, I know I would have been out there swimming had it ever been opened to the public.

I talked to Matt, and we determined that it was the old Spring Creek reservoir, long-since abandoned by the City, and the property is now owned by Jim and Kathy Cowan.

Matt laughed when I suggested that maybe we could resurrect the project, but he reminded me that the City is not going to get into the swimming pool business.

But at least we know they tried, more than 55 years ago.

I plan to ask my uncle, since he is the only member of that committee still alive, what he remembers about it.

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Washed Ashore hosted the chamber business after-hours Thursday night, and it's always neat to see what they are working on, and all that they have accomplished. Angela Hazeltine Pozzi and her husband were called out of town by a family emergency, but Mary Johnson, who has been with Washed Ashore for several years, did a wonderful job of explaining what Washed Ashore is about and welcoming us to their facility.

But the highlight of the night was the wonderful food, catered by Mary Pulitini, who has owned the nearby Old Town Pizza & Pasta for a little more than a year.

She served various kinds of pizzas, including a polenta served with a variety of herbs, and tasty chicken wings. But it was her savory "cinnamon rolls" that stole the show. She wrapped bread dough around a filling of bacon, cream cheese and spinach just like a cinnamon roll, but without the sweet filling. They were "to die for." I've heard that although she doesn't have them on the menu yet, they may be available soon. I've never had anything like this before, and they were delicious.

For dessert, there were various decadent truffles from Coastal Mist (I think that's where they came from, but I'm not sure) and Raspberry Lime Teasecakes (cheese cake on a stick, dipped in dark chocolate) from Susan Christiansen of Chubby Girl Cheesecakes.

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You never know what group is going to weigh in on a political issue, but when I saw the news report about medical marijuana . . . and how fewer young men commit suicide if they are able to smoke marijuana . . . I was a bit surprised. But at the end of the newscast, the announcer said: "Opponents say that in spite of the fact that medical marijuana has been legal in Oregon since 1998, Oregon has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation."

I personally doubt that there's any correlation . . . either way.

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At the height of the storm Saturday, around 1 p.m., visitors to Bandon had more than they bargained for when they stopped at the Bandon Youth Center's thrift store south of Bandon. Thankfully they were inside the store when the metal roof of one of Leo Lewandowski's buildings (garden shop), south of the youth center, blew off, sailed over two fences and crashed into the back of a new SUV (owners were from Vancouver, Wash.,) parked at the thrift store. The metal then crashed into the side of the thrift store building and ended up in the parking lot.

People inside the thrift store said it sounded like a plane had hit the side of the building.

Outside of damage to the SUV, the only casualty was one very traumatized dog, who was inside the SUV when the metal struck it.

When you consider the force of the wind at midday, it is so fortunate that no one was walking from the car to the thrift store when the roof blew off. It could have been a real tragedy.

I'm sure this will be one trip to Bandon that the visitors will not soon forget.

And since this was Presidents' Day weekend, there were a lot of people in town. Thankfully the sun came out Sunday so people could see what we have to offer here without having to buck 50-60 mile-an-hour wind gusts.

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Former Bandon residents who now live in the Portland area, or any of you who may be in Portland that weekend, may want to join the Bandon Breakfast Bunch at Xavier's Restaurant, 1983 NE 181st St., Portland, on Saturday, March 15, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For directions on how to get there, take Exit 13 off I-84, then head south for about three-tenths of a mile. It is located on the right-hand corner at the traffic signal.

People who plan to attend are asked to RSVP to Sharon Ward Moy on Facebook or at her email address:

This is a kind of mini-reunion that these former Tigers have been enjoying for some years.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 12, 2014

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (commonly referred to as RSVP) has been an important program in Coos County for many years. It has provided thousands of hours of volunteer help to various organizations throughout the county, with RSVP coordinating the volunteers with the sites where they are needed.

I don't know exactly what happened, but Sunday night, just as I was about to sit down and write my column, I received an email that was sent to a friend by Chris Flammang of Coos Bay, past chair of the RSVP Advisory Council.

He said he had received a letter from Patty Scott, president of SWOCC, dated Feb. 5, advising that the Southwestern Oregon Community College RSVP program "regrettably announces the end of the RSVP project activities in Coos County . . . effective June 30, 2014."

The letter indicated there had been an effort to obtain sponsorship through the Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA) but that did not occur. Flammang adds: "Apparently the college gave up providing the office space, telephone and other sponsoring amenities for whatever reason (not stated)." The letter indicated that Christine Coles, director, will be taking direction from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) regarding the future of the local RSVP.

"It is unfortunate that in these times of needed volunteerism within a wide variety of non-profit and community services, that the local college would select to withdraw the very limited resources it has provided the RSVP program since the early 1970s," said Flammang.

For a number of years, Bandon's Melody Juarez was the director of RSVP. As I find out more about this decision, I will let my readers know.

*           *           *

(I had planned an interesting history lesson about plans for a swimming hole . . . over 50 years ago . . . but I need to research it further before I talk about it in my column next week.)

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Lori and Barry Osborne, long-time owners of the local liquor store, are expanding. They have purchased the former Bandon Pharmacy building on Highway 101 from Gena Swenson, and hope to be in their new location before June. They have continued to expand their business until they have literally run out of space. They will be a "full beverage' business, with beer, wine and champagne, in addition to their signature hard liquor.

This seems to be the perfect location for their business.

That's not the only news they are making this week. Their beautiful daughter, Abby, has signed a letter of intent to play softball for the SWOCC Lakers. World sports editor John Gunther says that Abby could have played at any number of four-year colleges, with her extensive background playing club softball in Washington and Oregon, but she elected to stay closer to home. I know her parents and grandparents, Wes and Tokie Osborne and Cliff McNamara, all of Bandon, are happy about that decision.

She was the full-time varsity catcher at Marshfield this year. Her career started in Little League baseball, where she was a catcher from the time she was 8 years old.

She was home-schooled by her parents until eighth grade, when she started playing sports at Sunset Intermediate School in Coos Bay. It was then that she and her parents felt that Marshfield would give her the best opportunities athletically, so she became a Pirate, according to a neat article in the Feb. 6 World.

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The Bandon Lions Club had their successful sweetheart breakfast and silent auction Saturday, and several other programs are on tap in the next couple of weeks.

The first is the 11th annual Women's Health Day, which will be held this Saturday (Feb. 15) at the Barn, with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. and the talks beginning at 9.

Preregistration is requested and forms can be found at the hospital or various locations around town. A $10 fee includes a lunch prepared by Mother's Natural Grocery. People can also register by phone at 541-329-1040.

On Thursday evening, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., the Bandon Historical Society will be presenting a program on the 40-year anniversary of the arson fire which destroyed the Bandon High School. I was the reporter for Western World who took most of the photos, many of which will be shown that night and are on display at the museum. I will be narrating the program, and I understand Fire Chief Lanny Boston, who was assistant chief at that time, will also join us.

It should be an interesting program, especially for those who had attended Bandon High School prior to 1974 or who were students at the time. Not only was I working for Western World, but I was also teaching photography at the high school and like everyone else, we lost everything . . . cameras, darkroom, negatives, etc.

The next night, Friday, Feb. 21, the award-winning play "The Trip to Bountiful" is being presented by the Bandon Playhouse at the Sprague Theater. It will run weekends through March 9.

From what I've been hearing, the journey of Carrie Watts (played by Johnna Hickox) will be a performance that we won't want to miss. Bracken Barnett and Geneva Miller portray Carrie's son and daughter, Ludie and Jessie Mae Watts. Others rounding out the cast are Dan Barnett, Dulce Havill, Nicholas Martin, Cathy Underdown and Gareth Williams. The play is directed by Jason Tree, with Stephanie Precourt as assistant director.

I really admire our friends and neighbors who give up so much of their personal time to light up the Bandon stage.

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I don't always put much stock in political cartoons, but I saw one this week that pretty well said it all. It was a picture of teachers threatening to strike in two of the state's biggest school districts, Medford and Portland, alongside a sign that reminded readers that Oregon has the second WORST graduation rate in the nation.

In Sunday's Register-Guard, there's an article about the Portland schools and how they plan to run school, with substitutes, if the teachers decide to go on strike Feb. 20. The district is prioritizing school for the youngest students and say it might be that some high schools may have to combine if there aren't enough replacement teachers. "We want to make sure we're feeding kids that we need to feed, and we're providing a safe, secure place for our students to have educational activities, while we work to settle the contract and end the strike," the spokesman said.

The last paragraph reads: "The teachers' union is telling parents not to have their kids cross picket lines, if there's a strike." That means, of course, don't send your children to school ... let them get even further behind in their education.

I have strong opinions about this, but I will keep them to myself . . . at least for now.

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More information continues to surface about Oregon's failed Cover Oregon program, which is a national disgrace. Had the state bothered to vet Carolyn Lawson, the former Oregon Health Authority official at the center of the nonfunctional health insurance exchange, they would have found that she was investigated by the state of California for inappropriate contracting back in 2008.

Shortly after being hired by the California PUC, she funneled five contracts worth nearly $500,000 in a four-month period to the small consulting company run by her former boss (Steven Powell) in the private sector.

The irony continues: when Lawson was asked to resign in December, the state promoted Powell (who she had earlier hired) to replace her. In a short time, he had gone from running a tiny consulting company to being interim chief information officer for the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Human Services, one of the highest-ranking technology jobs in the state, at a salary of $181,368. The Oregonian says Powell filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in July 2010.

In this day and age of being able to find out anything about anyone with pretty much the click of a button, there is no excuse for what has gone on in our state government.

John Kitzhaber had better be prepared to explain a lot of things to the voters as he prepares to run for another term, because there will be plenty of questions.

Republican legislator Dennis Richardson, who plans to run against Kitzhaber for Governor, refutes Kitzhaber's claim that he knew nothing about the problems facing Cover Oregon, and says he personally warned the Governor that Cover Oregon would not work, after millions of dollars were wasted.

That is an understatement . . .

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It's always great to see the people of Bandon and the surrounding communities support programs at the Sprague Theater. A big and enthusiastic crowd braved heavy rains and strong winds Friday night to enjoy two hours of foot-stomping Jazz when the Bandon Showcase presented Side Street Strutters, with vocalist Meloney Collins, as the opening show for the 2014 season.

Side Street Strutters had been here several years ago, but that was apparently before they were joined by Collins, who was a roaring crowd pleaser.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

February 05, 2014

I had planned to finish watching the Super Bowl before I started my column, but the winner (way to go Seattle!!) has long since been decided and it's time to sit down at my computer.

For my "history lesson" this week, I chose the 58th anniversary of a fire, which pretty much gutted Jack Kronenberg's office on Feb. 2, 1956, located across Highway 101 and up the hill from the old cheese factory.

Kronenberg's office fire on Feb. 2, 1956
Caption: Fifty-eight years ago this week (Feb. 2, 1956) the office of Jack Kronenberg (across highway 101 and just up from the cheese factory) was destroyed by fire). I was a junior in high school and lived two doors down and appear to be the girl with the white scarf standing in the foreground.

When I was a young child, and lived two doors west of the house, it was the home of former Bandon schools superintendent Ben Huntington and his family. Their daughter, Margaret, (who later married Chicago White Sox baseball player Pete Ward) still lives in Portland.

Kronenberg's officefire on Feb. 2, 1956
Caption: Geo. Chappell, long-time owner of the Standard station, at far left, and Police Chief D. S. MacDonald watch the fire that destroyed Jack Kronenberg’s office on Feb. 2, 1956. Dr. Dowling’s dental office now occupies that site. Note the old fire trucks in the foreground. Since I had not started working for the paper until 1959, these pictures were probably taken by my uncle, Lou Felsheim.

But at the time of the fire it had been purchased by Jack Kronenberg, and was the office for his vast timber holdings.

I am not sure how the fire started since it was a cement block building, but I do know that the interior was completely gutted.

Kronenberg's officefire on Feb. 2, 1956
Caption: Firefighters and volunteers, including Chuck Hess, in foreground, battle fire at the Kronenberg office on Feb. 2, 1956. Behind him, looking back at the burning office, was Jack’s son, John Kronenberg. Dr. Dowling’s dental office now sits on that site, across and just north of the Face Rock Creamery.

The building was later torn down, and is now the site of Dr. Dowling's dental office.

Jack Kronenberg's daughter, Jean Rittenour, has a house in Bandon but spends most of her time at her Portland home. Her brother, John (who is in one of the pictures), lives in Arizona.

The pictures were probably taken by my uncle, Lou Felsheim, because I didn't start working for the paper until February of 1959 . . . and I am sure I am in one of the pictures, standing with another woman, watching the building burn. I can tell that's me by my signature white scarf, and since I lived very nearby it makes sense that I would be a spectator at such a big blaze.

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I learned last week of the death of former Bandon resident, Steve McMahon. Steve, who was married to the former Cindie Ferre, also of Bandon, was 57 and had lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, for many years. Steve was the son of Wally and Valda McMahon and had a large extended family, which also included his cousins, the Duvals.

An obituary simply says that Steve "was suddenly taken away from us," so I am not sure the cause of death. At the time of his death (Dec. 28, 2013) he worked for Personnel Safety Enterprises, Zee Medical, and had worked in retail sales in the Flagstaff area for over 24 years.

He was a 1975 graduate of Bandon High School, and I remember him fondly since I spent a lot of time at the school in the mid-70s when I was teaching photography. He and Cindie, who had been married 34 years, had three sons. His mother, Valda, also survives and lives in Eugene. Also surviving are three sisters, Marsha (Tom Rice) and Cindy Robinson, both of Eugene, and Suzy Swanson of Springfield, and four brothers, Dan (Lova) of Kansas, John (Denise) of Bandon, Marty (Rhonda) of Lowell and Jeff (Carl) of Crabtree.

Among other members of his family living in Bandon include the Clayton Duvals and his uncle and aunt, Jack and Barbara McMahon, and sons, Jerry and Mark.

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I have learned that Bob Grizzle and his partner have purchased the old Two Mile Cafe (commonly referred to as the barbecue place) along Highway 101 south of Bandon.

For years, Mable Jenkins operated the Two Mile Cafe and over the years it had been a popular eatery. Former Bandon High School football coach Don Markham had continued to own it over the years until it was sold to Grizzle, who owns Edgewaters, one of my very favorite restaurants.

I have not talked with Bob, so I don't know what he has planned for the building, but as Mike Keiser's new golf course south of town begins to take shape, I am sure this will be a very good investment for any type of eating establishment.

It will be interesting to see what happens out there.

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In last week's column, I mentioned that Art Brewer had gone to work for the McKay's Market/Price 'n Pride family at their Myrtle Point store. I had heard that Judy Tree was also going to work for them, but I couldn't get anyone to confirm it for me.

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw McKay's ad on the front page of Western World Thursday welcoming both Art (former manager at Ray's Bandon store) and Judy (former manager at Ray's Port Orford store). Although she hasn't started yet, Judy will be working at the Bandon Price 'n Pride store. She and Art had both worked for C&K Markets (Ray's) for over 20 years, but a number of things have happened to C&K, which culminated recently with their filing bankruptcy.

We understand business is up over 25 percent at P&P since all the changes across town. I personally support the employees who are still working at Ray's, as I know it hasn't been easy for them; some of have had their hours cut back, etc.. They are a hard-working group of people who have served, and continue to serve, our community well. They aren't responsible for the mistakes the management has made.

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I was told by Steve Buck (Mongo) that readership of my column broke a new record in January, with 3082 hits, which is great. And that doesn't include the people who read it on the Bandon, Oregon, Facebook page, where Kristen Kloman Ervin posts it every Monday morning.

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I had heard that a young man committed suicide in Coos Bay, but I didn't realize until I saw her letter to the editor in The World last week that 13-year-old Nathan David Lee Millner was the grandson of my long-time friend and Class of 1957 classmate, LaDonna Holman Hinerman. Nathan was the son of Don and LaDonna's daughter, Dana.

I emailed LaDonna shortly after reading her letter and she said the family is completely baffled at what happened as they described Nathan as a happy kid, who died after he shot himself.

There have been a number of posts on the Coastal Community News (CCN) site referring to a statement made on KCBY by a man (Sean Michael Stevenson) who said that four students have committed suicide between the two high schools in the last six weeks. Some have said it had to do with bullying, but I have read nothing about other tragedies like this in recent months and LaDonna certainly did not mention anything about bullying.

To raise awareness about suicide, the Coos Bay group plans to hold a rally on the Coos Bay Boardwalk at noon on March 2.

previous columns by mary schamehorn