As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

January 27, 2010

It’s not a wonder people are leery about flying these days, and it doesn’t really have much to do with the threat of terrorism. It’s about simply not getting to – or from – their destination, while receiving no help or even a simple apology from the airlines.

The biggest, and often not true, excuse being used by airlines these days for not arriving on time, or in many cases not getting there at all, is “weather.” That, of course, is viewed as an act of God and allows the airlines to deny any kind of compensation to their riders.

I know of at least three passengers in the last couple of months who were frustrated by the old “weather” dodge, when in at least two of the cases, it was determined there was absolutely nothing wrong with the weather. It was a perfect day.

In one example, the flight from Medford (bound for San Francisco, Phoenix and ultimately Flagstaff) was delayed an hour. “It was because of bad weather in San Francisco” was the excuse given by airline personnel. But it turned out, as confirmed by one of the pilots, weather had nothing to do with it. The plane had arrived an hour late the previous night and regulations require that the pilots had to remain off duty an extra hour in the morning, which delayed the flight.

But that was just the beginning of the problems, which ended with the plane never making it to Flagstaff. A bus was hired in Phoenix to take the passengers into Flagstaff that night, but just as they were about to leave, there was a huge multi-vehicle pileup on a freeway leading out of Flagstaff, which required all emergency vehicles to go to the scene. Consequently the highway from Phoenix to Flagstaff was closed. So they had to stay overnight in Phoenix (no help with a motel room) and they were bused to Flagstaff the next morning. Another delay!

On the way back, it was even worse. Arriving in San Francisco, the passengers learned that the plane couldn’t land in Medford (that old weather bugaboo again). That was Monday night and they were told that the next plane they could expect to travel on would leave on Wednesday. Instead, four strangers from the flight joined together and rented a car at midnight in San Francisco and drove all night to Medford, arriving at 6 o’clock the next morning. In both instances, the airlines paid nothing, and they didn’t even suggest hotels where the passengers might have stayed. So much for the “friendly skies.”

A similar series of weather problems occurred to another Bandon man several weeks later, and last week friends of mine were delayed in returning to their home in Philadelphia … by weather in San Francisco. They were delayed twice at the North Bend airport. Unable to leave on Friday due to “weather” issues, they returned on Saturday, boarded the plane and then were asked to deplane; all baggage was removed and the process started all over again – reticketing, TSA check. It seems that the San Francisco airport couldn’t bring them in on time, even though the weather had cleared. My friends plan to route through Portland next time (good luck to that, with only one flight a day to the north).

Either the weather in San Francisco is unusually awful, or it’s the latest excuse for not providing even half-way decent service.

And people wonder why I don’t care to fly ….

*           *           *

The turnout for the open house at the Bandon Community Health Center was truly wonderful. Crowds throughout the afternoon were greeted by Dr. Gail McClave and many others who were instrumental in making her dream come true. I was honored when I was asked to donate three of my large beach scenes to display in the waiting room. They had them framed and matted to match the décor and they looked great.

This rural clinic is something Bandon has needed for a long time, and Dr. McClave and all those who made this happen deserve a huge debt of gratitude from the community.

*           *           *

I often lament when graffiti “artists” hit our community, but it’s not often that we learn who is responsible for removing their handiwork – which is a thankless, but very important, job.

Our thanks go out to Jim Giambrone Jr., Charlie O’Neill and Wayne Robbins for removing the graffiti from the skate park and the dugouts in City Park. We can only hope their services won’t be needed for a long time – but if they are, I’m sure the men will be more than willing to help again.

*           *           *

After receiving a letter about something that occurred at the Jan. 4 City Council meeting, I decided to go to streaming video and see for myself who said what before I contacted the man who had written the letter. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get it to work. Thinking it was probably just me, I e-mailed Matt to see what I had done wrong. But he tried to access the council meeting as well, and wasn’t able to do it. He called Don VanDyke, who is in charge of the site, so hopefully he will get it up and running soon.

To access the Bandon City Council meetings, as well as many other meetings in the county, go to

It’s just like being at the meeting … but even better. You can fast forward the video if you get bored, and it’s a good way to see your local elected officials in action.

In fact, VanDyke told us recently that our council meetings get more “hits” than any of the other bodies, which include the City of Coos Bay, the Coos County Commissioners and the Coos County Airport District.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

January 20, 2010

I know that police officers across the state have pretty much decided that the new state law against smoking within 10 feet of a door, window or vent is not really enforceable.

But I hope that doesn’t prove to be true for the law outlawing hand-held cell phones and texting while you’re driving.

In the past week, right here in town, I have witnessed person after person talking on their hand-held phone, without seemingly a care in the world. They obviously are not worrying about getting a ticket, because they’re talking right in town where they can almost be guaranteed of seeing a police officer … and he seeing them.

One young man, driving a huge pickup, didn’t even know I had pulled up alongside of him in front of City Hall Thursday because he was so busy sending a text message. I am not sure how his two-ton pickup stayed in its lane of traffic because he definitely wasn’t watching the road. Both eyes were glued to his phone pad.

It’s been pretty well documented that it’s dangerous to drive and talk on the phone at the same time … and that’s why the legislature came up with the new law, even though I don’t feel it went far enough. People should be concentrating on their driving and not their phone conversation – hand-held or not.

I am hoping that a number of tickets will be issued … and soon. Word will spread. That’s the only way to get people to turn off their phones while they're driving, or at least force them to pull over to the side of the road before they answer the phone. The “missed call” message will let you know who called. Let’s let it function.

*           *           *

I almost didn’t have a column last week because I was having so much trouble with my computer. After proofing it, I saw quite a few places where I either needed to insert a word, or maybe even just a letter. But it wouldn’t let me. Every time I went to insert a letter, it would delete the same number of letters from the line. By the time I was through redoing whole paragraphs, I was almost in tears. Apparently I had hit some key on my computer that made it function that way.

But since I don’t know which one it was, I am sure it can – and will – happen again.

It was almost enough to make me wish for my old IBM typewriter … but not quite.

*           *           *

I hope Bandon never gets so “politically correct” that we allow people to walk around town naked. Ashland (a city we are often compared with) finally decided to ban the display of genitals in parks and in the downtown area, but after two years and many complaints the City Council adopted a citywide ban on public nudity last week.

But guess what, their actions brought a threat of legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union, which says it violates the Oregon Constitution’s protection of free expression.

Fortunately, the matter has already been tested, and 25 years ago, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld Portland’s ban on public nudity. But the court also ruled that public nudity can be a protected form of expression, such as during a protest, according to an AP article.

I am sure the framers of the Constitution would “turn over in their graves” if they could see how that august document has been interpreted today.

*           *           *

The February 2010 issue of Golf Digest really did have information in it other than a storm of letters over the actions of Tiger Woods. The publishers also explained that their January issue, featuring Tiger Woods and Barack Obama on the cover, had gone to press two weeks before Woods’ meltdown. They also pointed out that Woods’ bylined instruction articles will not be published in Golf Digest during his time away from the game, and who knows how long that will be.

But on page 66, there is a great article titled “Buddies, bargains and Bandon Dunes."

The writer pointed out that from November through February, for $580 per person, you get three nights of lodging in a double-occupancy room, three rounds of golf on three of the top 14 Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, two dinners (gratuity included), three buffet breakfasts and unlimited practice.

He adds, “Let me be clear: That’s less than $200 per man per day for a bed, breakfast, range balls, a round of golf and a dinner. At Bandon Dunes!”

This group of friends has made the trip six straight years, and they say that they’ve only had 1 1/2 rounds of golf canceled because of weather.

“This year they could’ve worn shorts. It was 62 degrees when they played Bandon Trails.”

That’s the kind of testimonial the Bandon Chamber of Commerce loves to hear.

And it’s free.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

January 13, 2010

Often people stop me and ask if I’ll mention something in my column and generally, if I can remember, I’ll oblige. One request I often receive is to remind people that if they are going to walk their dogs around town, or even in the neighborhood, please carry a “poop bag” to pick up after their pet.

I certainly echo that since there is nothing more unpleasant than walking along the sidewalk, on a bright, sunny day (OK, even in the rain) and stepping in some dog’s droppings.

All too often when people let their dog out in the morning, they head for someone else’s yard to “do their duty,” and it’s generally someone who doesn’t even own a dog, which can be pretty frustrating.

I remember when I lived in Powers and my neighbor (a delightful lady) had a huge standard poodle. Her yard was filled with flowers and was immaculate. Mine was pretty nice, too, and it had a meandering pathway leading to the house as there was no garage and you had to park a bit of a distance away to get into the house.

Unfortunately every morning she let him out and he headed straight for my place. I had nearly two acres, which should have been enough room for him, but, no, he chose my pathway every time.

One day, I got so frustrated that I scooped it up and put it under the fence in her yard. But I began to instantly regret what I’d done … and raced back over to the fence, gathered up the “poop” and discarded it in the bushes before she could find it. She was a sweet lady and I didn’t want our friendship to suffer over her dog.

So I just learned to walk around it and after a time her dog died from old age, and I don’t think she ever knew where he went when she let him out in the morning. She just knew it wasn’t in her yard.

I’m not sure what the moral is to that story, but, please, if you have a dog, pick up after him … or her. Thanks.

*           *           *

I’ve read so much about the two ballot measures that we’ll be voting on soon, that I can’t resist passing on a small letter in the Register-Guard, which pretty much sums up how I feel.

The man recommends that people read two entries in the Voters’ Pamphlet, both by small business owners.

“In the Argument in Favor section on page 17, read the mature responsibility of Joseph McKinney of Oregon Roads. Then, in the Argument in Opposition section, on page 35, read the childish whining of Carol Leuthold of Tillamook Dairy.

“Then simply ask yourself. Which of these people speaks for me?”

I did as he recommended, and I agree.

*           *           *

I was saddened when I received a call from councilor Nancy Drew Sunday morning, telling me about a series of graffiti messages painted in red and yellow paint across the back of the softball diamond dugouts and on the skateboard ramps in City Park. I went out to see for myself. And she’s right. It appears that someone or ones spent quite a bit of time tagging every available surface they could find with symbols and words, most of which meant nothing to me.

She feared that because some of it was done with red paint, people would think we had gangs like the Cripps and Bloods in Bandon.

I’m not sure I would go that far, but I certainly found one message on one of the ramps to be pretty offensive. It said “F … Ducks.”

Since the only Ducks I know are the Oregon Ducks, I don’t know what the writer was thinking, but then people who spend their time putting graffiti on public facilities probably aren’t really thinking at all.

I don’t know how many young people actually use the skate park as I often see them riding their boards down the highway hill or around town, which apparently provides a greater thrill.

It’s a pretty sad excuse for a real skate park, like they have in Myrtle Point, but even that beautiful facility has been vandalized … over and over again.

*           *           *

I remember some years ago I read parts of a book on football titled “They Dare to Call it Sport.” A recent article about the Texas/Florida (I think) college playoff game confirmed those concerns. It seems that one of the Florida players hit the Texas quarterback so hard that he was injured early in the game and was not able to return.

Sure, that happens in football, but it was the comments of the young man who hit him that concerned me: “I just heard a thump when I hit him. I did lay it down pretty hard. I didn’t try to … but it felt great.”

How sick is that?

*           *           *

I recently read an update about the condition of the Bandon woman who was critically injured in an accident or an assault three months ago. The story even made the Northwest Cable News channel.

But what I learned only recently is that the injured woman, Anne Bollinger, previously worked for a short time as an assistant to Julie Miller in the Bandon Chamber of Commerce office.

The 44-year-old woman was flown to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland after being diagnosed with a life-threatening skull fracture. Her boyfriend, a long-time caddie at Bandon Dunes, had called for an ambulance.

District Attorney R. Paul Frasier told the World newspaper that he is awaiting a reconstructionist’s report before deciding whether to file charges against someone.

I wonder if they will ever really know what happened to her.

I know she has a lot of friends in the Bandon area, who continue to pray for her recovery, but it doesn’t look good.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

January 06, 2010

Welcome to Eugene … and Salem, too. Both of these large Oregon cities have a dirty little secret that you won’t find in their tourism literature. It is not safe to leave anything in your car, no matter whether you’re at a well-known restaurant chain or a high-priced motel. The thieves don’t seem to care … as long as you have something locked away in your car that they want. And they don’t even know if it’s something they want until they’ve smashed out your vehicle windows and taken it all.

Within the last month, both my sister and my uncle have had their vehicles broken into and everything stolen. My sister had gone to Salem for a conference at the Red Lion and the office assured her that they had adequate security guards on site, but when she came out in the morning, the back passenger side window was smashed out and all her conference clothes were gone.

My uncle had been in Eugene with my aunt, who had undergone surgery. He’d been in one motel for quite a few nights, but had to move to a different one because of the Civil War game. Before he checked into the other motel he decided to stop at Marie Callender’s restaurant for dinner. He parked near a light, which he now believes only showed the thieves that he had a lot of things inside his vehicle. They took everything, including checkbooks, check registers, clothing, credit cards … and the list goes on and on. He did get a few things back that had fallen out of a nearby dumpster where the thieves discarded some of what they didn’t want. They did leave one thing behind – a cell phone – which my uncle promptly turned into the police, but he’s never heard whether they actually tracked down the person who owned the phone … or whether it was simply stolen property from another vehicle.

The crime rate in Eugene continues to rise, and it’s about time the Eugene (and Salem) chambers of commerce start alerting people what to expect when they visit those cities.

If it happened to two people in my family within a period of less than two weeks, you can only guess how many victims there are out there that we never hear about. But then it’s not the kind of news that cities like to spread.

One person said it was probably because the economy is so bad and many people are out of work, but my guess is it has more to do with feeding a drug habit than anything else. People don’t generally turn to crime just because they are out of work.

*           *           *

Several weeks ago I talked about the huge fine assessed against Bandon Pacific by DEQ, and commented on the fact that people often (and I thought legally) discard fish waste at the port dock while cleaning their catch.

What I didn’t know is that the Port of Bandon does not want people to throw their waste from the cleaning tables into the semi-shallow areas, as there is the possibility of “souring” water from a debris pile that is not able to scour.

“This practice of getting the public to properly dispose of fish waste is a lot like herding cats,” said Gina Death, the port’s general manager. “People continually tear down signs at the free cleaning locations asking them to either recycle their fish carcasses as bait or bag the carcasses and dispose in the port-provided containers … or believe the idea of proper disposal is bunk and this is the way it’s always been done: clean your fish or crabs and throw the remains over the side of the table. Other ports have locations where fish are cleaned and the remains go into grinders and end up at the sewer plant. It is constant grinder breakdowns as you can well imagine. These grinders will not grind tuna carcasses. I personally bagged over 100 tuna carcasses this summer to keep people from throwing them over the side and (I) put them in the port-owned dumpsters.”

Their signs make it perfectly clear. People are not to throw fish waste, unwanted bait, or bait packaging into the marina waters.

Gina suggests that people recycle fish parts by composting with peat moss or burying in the garden as fertilizer. Or the fish waste can be frozen to be reused as chum or bait.

I certainly didn’t mean to perpetuate a practice, which the port has spent so many years trying to discourage. And I stand corrected.

*           *           *

I generally agree with the Oregonian’s political views, but Sunday’s editorial urging people to vote no on ballot measures 66 and 67 shocked me. Particularly since I had just read an article from The Wall Street Journal titled “State, Local Tax Revenues Decline 7 percent.”

And one of the three states (of the total of 22) that were singled out as having seen third-quarter revenues decline more than 10 percent was Oregon. The writer pointed out that “with tax revenues continuing to fall, several states are grappling to plug budget holes. Unlike the federal government, most states are required to balance their budgets.”

And one of the ways that Oregon planned to stop the bleeding was with revenues from measures 66 and 67.

The news doesn’t bode well for cities either. Bandon could definitely see a decrease in the small amount we actually get from property taxes if market values continue to plummet – and fall below assessed values (on which property taxes are figured.)

previous columns by mary schamehorn