As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 28, 2010

I just spent the most delightful Sunday afternoon. I went to the opening performance of “The Secret Garden,” put on by Dan and Anita Almich of New Artists Productions, with a cast of amazing young people.

The story is a favorite of mine and I decided to see how a group of youngsters, including the 10-year-old lead, would handle it. I was amazed at the professionalism of that group of youngsters. Everything about the afternoon was fun. Parents of cast members, and some whose children have been in previous productions, helped out by moving the set after each of the 16 scenes, taking care of the lights, taking tickets, handling the sound, running the snack bar, etc.

It was held at the Harbortown Events Center, which was perfect for a theater-in-the-round setting. Depending on where you were sitting, it felt like you were part of the performance.

I knew we had a lot of talented youngsters in Bandon, but The Secret Garden left no doubt about it.

Most of the youngsters are from Bandon, but I understand a couple of them come from Coquille, including the lead, Olivia Kincaid, who played Mary Lennox. Dan told me she had to learn more than 200 lines, and, believe me, that’s no easy feat for an adult, let alone a 10-year-old.

Others in the production were Daniel Undell, Destyni and Tessa Fuller, Brianna Wilson, Jeneveve Winchell, Natalie Vincent, Becca Wilson, Rose Garrett, Nicholas Zamora, Mikaela Peters, Emily Wilson, Emma Wampler, Aria Giovannetti and Dustin Wilson. There were a lot of proud parents and grandparents in that audience.

I wish I could tell you that the production was continuing this weekend, but it’s not. It was a four-day run, which ended Wednesday.

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Do you ever feel invisible? That’s the way I felt one day last week, while driving my small sports car around town. In the span of about two hours between Bank of America and Dairy Queen, I was almost hit three times, and in one instance I missed a crash by a couple of inches.

You can’t imagine what it’s like trying to avoid a crash with a huge van, which was determined to be in my lane. I was headed to town in the inside lane, because I was planning to turn into Old Town at the bottom of the hill. A van pulled out of Bank of America, which isn’t unusual as it’s five lanes in that area. But the driver apparently misjudged what lane I was in and instead of pulling momentarily into the center-turn lane, she pulled directly into my lane. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how I got out of her way without some damage to my car, but I did. I was shaking when that encounter was over.

Less than an hour later, another vehicle was pulling out of the Bank of America parking lot, and because it was a long vehicle, he turned across both lanes of traffic to get into the far lane, and forced me to slam on my brakes because my lane was blocked.

It wasn’t 15 minutes later, when an also identical situation to the first one occurred when a woman was attempting to pull into Price ‘n Pride and again, instead of pulling into the center lane and waiting for the traffic to clear, she lunged into my lane.

She may have been taken aback by my loud honking and yelling, but three times in one day was just about enough for me.

I learned my lesson: from now on, I will travel in the far right-hand lane and wait until I get past City Hall before I signal to get into the left lane to turn into Old Town.

I’ve had my little car three years, and in that period of time I’ve put less than 6,000 miles on it – which is probably why I still have it: in one piece.

*           *           *

I’m not sure how I got on their mailing list but I recently got a catalog in the mail from Schweitzer Linen of New York.

I always like to look at catalogs, but when I saw the prices, I was blown away.

A queen-size comforter for $1,000; a queen size sheet set for $775, one standard sham for $130, or a king-size duvet cover for $650 … and those were the “sale” prices.

I don’t know who would possibly spend that kind of money for bed linens, but I certainly know I wouldn’t.

In fact, I bought a new six-piece bedroom set for what they want for the comforter and sheet set.

I don’t think I’ll be ordering anything from them anytime soon … or ever.

*           *           *

I’m not sure how much they earned, but the Southern Coos Health Foundation Golf Tournament continues to be a big event for the Foundation – and the hospital. Friday night, there was a reception at the Old Bandon Golf Links to honor the tournament’s major sponsors, who contribute so much to its success.

The two local sponsors were Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (represented by Hank Hickox and Mike Carbiener) and Sterling Savings Bank, represented by branch manager Kathy Miller.

A lot of work goes into this event, and much of the credit goes to the Foundation’s executive director, Melody Gillard-Juarez, with help from the Foundation’s board of directors.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 21, 2010

I knew it was windy this week, but I didn’t realize just how hard the wind was blowing until Brian Vick announced at the council meeting that a huge limb from a shore pine at the post office had crashed to the sidewalk that afternoon. He’d been talking to someone at the Oregon Properties office across the street, when the person screamed and the phone went dead. He immediately called back to learn that the huge limb (which took a five-yard dump truck to remove) had split away from the huge tree just south of the exit to the drive-up mailbox.

“We dodged the bullet today,” Vick told the council. He said someone could easily have been killed, or seriously injured (my words, not his), had they been walking on the sidewalk.

Councilor Nancy Drew said a large limb fell in her neighborhood several weeks earlier.

Trees are part of what make Bandon such a beautiful place to live, but it might be wise if we brought in an arborist to assess some of the trees that are in high traffic areas around town.

Before the really strong south winds of winter get here.

*           *           *

The city received word last week that Bandon was awarded a grant from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department to renovate the restrooms at City Park. There were a total of 26 applications submitted, and Bandon’s was one of only six funded. There was a total of $224,059 available, of which Bandon’s grant of $50,000 was the largest.

Congratulations and thanks to the Parks and Recreation Commission and City Planner Michelle Hampton for all of their hard work putting the application together.

*           *           *

I learned this week that Daniel and Lynn, the popular couple who own the Wild Rose Bistro, have decided to move to Ashland once the summer season is over, to open another restaurant. They are well known for their first-class gourmet food, and if you’ve never eaten there, you should treat yourself to a special meal while you still have a chance. It’s pretty spendy, but it’s worth every penny.

In another restaurant-related item, the Mexican restaurant El Sol, which was located at the intersection of Highway 42 and 101, closed down this week. It’s always hard to operate a business when you don’t own the building, and apparently that contributed to them closing down.

*           *           *

It’s not often that you see a sign which reads: “Play suspended due to high winds,” but that’s what happened at the British Open this weekend, played on the links style Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. It seems that the balls were actually being blown around on the flat green, making it almost impossible to putt.

The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has four of this country’s top-rated links-style golf courses … not unlike St. Andrews.

Wind isn’t the only thing we have in common with Scotland. The announcer kept mentioning the “gorse” that grows alongside many of the fairways, including a thicket that saw Paul Casey “self-destruct” when his ball landed in the middle of it as he was chasing the leader (and eventual winner) Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.

The winds, which reportedly gusted up to 40 miles an hour, were a definite factor in this prestigious golf tournament. Those who teed off early had a decided advantage over those who drew the afternoon times.

But that’s what makes golf interesting.

*           *           *

I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of an old friend on the front cover of the Wall Street Journal’s Money & Investing section of the weekend edition.

Robert S. “Steve” Miller, who has many friends and relatives in Bandon including his son, attorney Robin Miller, is the new chairman of AIG (American International Group Inc.)

Steve Miller, 68, is well known for his “trouble-shooting” abilities … on a scale that most of us only dream about.

The WSJ said: “Mr. Miller has deep experience overseeing the restructuring of troubled companies, including auto-parts maker Delphi Corp.” He was CEO between July 2005 and September 2007.

A former vice chairman of Chrysler Corporation under Lee Iacocca, Steve is a veteran of a dozen turnarounds. At one time, he and his late wife, Maggie, owned a beautiful home on the Bandon beach, but spent most of their time at their home in Sunriver, when he wasn’t on the East Coast.

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The latest in a series of scams appeared – twice – in this week’s sheriff’s report. People are receiving a recorded message, which identifies the caller as being from Umpqua Bank. “We regret to inform you that we had to disable your debit card ….” The person who received the call tried to get the operator, but was unable to do so. So she called the number on her caller ID, which came back to a small mortgage bank in the Midwest. They said the call was not generated by their company, but they’ve received numerous calls about the same thing. They believe someone is using their phone number fraudulently in an attempt to get people to enter their debit card number. There’s a footnote to the item: “Coos County Dispatch received a similar call on extension 325 or 337 at 8:22 a.m.”

A short time later another person called dispatch, to say that a person purporting to be from Umpqua Bank had called and said a lock had been put on his debit card (which he doesn’t even own). The caller ID indicated a different number, so it appears to be a pretty widespread scam.

It seems that no matter how many times people are warned not to give out personal information, there is always some trusting soul that really does believe it’s their bank (or their grandson) and ends up providing personal information or wiring money to someone they don’t know.

On the same day, a woman from Coos Bay called to say that she had received a phone call from a male claiming to be her grandson, but she hung up before he could ask for money. Even though the caller ID showed the number from which the call originated, there doesn’t seem to be anything that the justice department can do. Many of those calls are coming out of Canada, and sadly, they’ve been pretty successful.

It would be interesting to know just how many older people have fallen victim to the “grandparent” scam. I have talked to at least two of them in the last few months, and I see by the police reports that there are many more.

And those are just the ones that call the police.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 14, 2010

Bandon’s Weedum Seedum Garden Club sponsored a wonderful Summer Garden Tour on Saturday, and you wouldn’t believe the beautiful gardens that we visited … several of which were right here in town.

The tour started off at Jack and Sue Van Amburg’s place just a short distance from the post office. What they have done in the 20-plus years they’ve lived there is absolutely amazing. It’s a country garden oasis … in the middle of town. John and Chele Gamble have used native rhododendrons, roses and perennials to enhance their beautiful property, and two years ago they added a pond in their back yard. John grew up on that block, and later he and Chele owned a house directly across the street from where he grew up, and some years ago they built their spacious new house.

Although Brenda Schurtz (and Jerry, too) has the smallest of the parcels on the tour, it was truly a delight. As I was enjoying the beautiful gardens along the meandering stone path that surrounds the house, I came upon a very healthy looking chipmunk in a feeder less than two feet away from me. I’m only sorry I wasn’t carrying my camera at that moment (but the battery had just died) or I would have gotten some great photographs of the little guy. The Good Earth Community Garden was the next stop, and it’s nice to see that the garden is really beginning to take shape.

The last two stops were quite a ways out of town . . . on a 15-mile-an-hour gravel road … but the trip to Glenwood Estates was worth it to see the gardens of Jake and Connie Young and a few feet around the corner, Don Durkee’s garden. Jake and Connie are well known for their beautiful property and many of us have plants in our own yards that we’ve purchased from them. One of the highlights of Don’s property is a huge, pink dogwood tree. It’s one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Don said it grew that way through “neglect” but he later admitted he had pruned it to make it the beautiful shape it has become. His biggest problem is water: he says he gets only three gallons a minute from his well, and that’s not a lot of water to take care of a five-acre plot of ground. But he does a beautiful job.

I can’t wait to see what the garden club has planned for next year …

*           *           *

You may have heard the loud horn sounding in the channel Friday. We’d noticed a boat moving around in the harbor, and that’s when we started hearing the horn blowing … over and over and over. After a couple of hours, I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on, so I called the Port office.

It was the dredge working in the channel, and since it was pretty foggy, federal law mandates that they activate the fog horn while they’re working. It made complete sense … once I knew what it was.

*           *           *

Several weeks ago I wrote about the confusing “Bullards Bridge Closed” sign along Highway 101 just south of Coos Bay. Now I find out that I am not the only one that saw the sign the same way I did.

Gina Dearth’s husband, Bob, was headed back to Bandon the other evening after dropping off the inmate crew, and he got to the sign at the end of the corridor when it flashed “Bullards Bridge closed.” That’s all he saw and he shot for Coquille and came home the long way thinking the bridge was closed.

Bob agreed: The sign is poorly compiled and takes way too much time to read the whole message (which gives the dates of the closure if you’re going slow enough to read it).

I mentioned the problem to Dan Latham of ODOT, and he sent someone out there to look at the sign. He said two project inspectors, the project manager and he have all driven past the sign and they were able to read the complete two-panel message. Of course they did; they were looking for it.

After I forwarded Gina’s e-mail to him, Latham took off the “boxing gloves,” and suggested that if I weren’t observant enough to read the entire sign, I was jeopardizing the safety of everyone on the road. The problem here is not the sign. The problem is distracted drivers,” he said.

Sorry Don. That’s a four-lane stretch of highway and there are any number of things that can keep you from looking at the side of the road . . . waiting for two panels to flash by as you wonder what the guy next to you is doing or why the guy in front of you is suddenly slowing down.

There’s no problem with the sign going out of Bandon. That’s a 30 mph zone; not a 55 mph zone.

You’ll never win an argument with ODOT. And there’s no sense trying. But I would love to know if anyone else has been fooled by the sign outside of Coos Bay.

Gina did ask Don if there might possibly be a compromise … like putting the whole message on one panel.

But he let us know that it follows “ODOT standards,” which apparently means there’s no room for compromise. That’s bureaucracy for you!

P. S. Bullards Bridge will be closed Wednesday (July 21), Thursday (July 22) and Monday (July 26) from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for repair work on the bridge. So if you work late at Bandon Dunes, it will be a long trip to work or getting home..

*           *           *

We’ve read quite a bit about Pacific Seafood of late (in relation to the big blue building on Bandon’s waterfront), but now they’ve made the “big time” news. An article in the Oregonian says that a class-action lawsuit has been filed against Frank Dulcich alleging that he has built his $1 billion-a-year empire on the backs of the fishermen who provide Pacific Seafood with its product.

The lawsuit has been filed by Lloyd Whaley, a long-time commercial fisherman from Brookings, and his son, Todd. They allege that Dulcich and his company have abused the company’s market power.

The article goes on to say that Frank’s mother, Melba Dulcich, as well as his brother and sister, have sued him over the years claiming that he wasn’t dealing fairly with them.

Stay tuned … this could get interesting.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 07, 2010

Wow! What a great Fourth of July. Not only was the parade much larger than I dreamed it would be (although I didn’t get to see much of it because I was throwing candy to the children along the way), but the Lions-sponsored events at City Park were popular, and I truly believe the fireworks display was the best I’ve seen in years.

Earlier in the evening, I had been sitting outside soaking up the sun when all of a sudden I realized the sun was gone and fog was rolling in. Oh no, I thought, not again. But I drove down the hill around 9:30 and discovered it was clear. It was a perfect evening for the fireworks … and what a show it was.

I know people are worrying that this might be the last year, but I don’t believe that for one moment. It’s too big an event to just let it die. For years the chamber of commerce raised most of the money for the fireworks, and kept people apprised as to how much they’d raised with a big thermometer in front of the visitor center.

I will surely be glad to help and I know we can raise the money needed, which I believe is somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 a year. It sounds like a lot of money, but you’d be surprised how even small donations add up, and hopefully some of the service clubs will also help us.

The community owes Margaret Pounder (with support from Margaret Gorman and others) a big debt of gratitude for her work in bringing back the parade after it was announced that there might not be one this year. Many veterans groups marched proudly in the parade, and a Coast Guard helicopter and several planes from the local airport flew over just as the parade got under way.

*           *           *

Another popular event is the Bandon Little Farmers Market, which will open for the summer season this Saturday in the courtyard of the Tea-by-the-Sea/Oregon Wine Tasting Room at 350 Second Street in Old Town Bandon. It opens at 10 a.m. sharp, and if it’s anything like past years, there will be a big line of people waiting to get in when it opens. The market runs every Saturday until Sept. 25, except for Cranberry Festival, Sept. 11-12.

It’s been a pretty wet spring (understatement), but the vendors say they’ll have a good assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you have extra produce in your garden that you’d like to sell, give the market manager a call at 541-347-9081 and leave a message, and she’ll probably be able to make room for you.

*           *           *

I read something in the Wall Street Journal recently that was a real eye-opener about the fitness of our young people. True, this wasn’t directed at Oregonians, but it really made me wonder.

The dateline was Pennsylvania, and it said that the nonprofit Mission:Readiness group reported that up to 90 percent of young Philadelphians are ineligible for military service because of criminal records, obesity or lack of education. It added that one million Pennsylvanians are ineligible for the same reason.

The report said 145,000 Philadelphians ages 18 to 24 cannot meet the military’s medical, moral and mental standards. Nationally, the Defense Department estimates that 75 percent of young adults are disqualified from military service (I presume for those same reasons).

Mission:Readiness is made up of more than 150 retired generals and admirals.

(I only know one couple from Pennsylvania, and they are classy people who definitely don’t fall into the problem categories discussed in the article.)

A Doonesbury cartoon, with essentially the same message, appeared in the comic section of area papers recently (although it’s hardly a laughing matter). A guy calls the army recruiter and says he wants to join up. He tells the recruiter all the things he’d like to do, including jumping out of planes and climbing mountains. The recruiter is thrilled until the guy comes into his office . . . and flops his 350 to 400-pound frame into a chair, with a soda (try sugar and water) tightly clasped in his hand.

Probably not a good candidate for the military …

*           *           *

I don’t often read the cartoon Prickly City, which is so political that it is on the classified advertising page in the Register-Guard instead of with the other comics, but a recent one was great.

I sent it to one of my best friends, with whom I often have differing political views. It’s an exchange between Carmen and the cat (or maybe it’s a dog). She says: “You’re left!” The cat responds: “You’re right!” Carmen shouts, “Liberal!” The cat responds: “Conservative!” Carmen goes one better: “Commie!” The cat responds “Fascist!” Then you see them walking away arm in arm. The cat says “Buddies?” Carmen says “Always.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that occurred more in “real” life where the two parties could agree to disagree … for the best interest of the country.

previous columns by mary schamehorn