As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 31, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, while at work at the Herald in Myrtle Point, I heard the fire siren go off (the fire hall is only a few steps away from the back door of the paper), and the scanner indicated that a boat tire had blown out, and as the rim met the pavement, the sparks caused a couple of fires along Highway 42.

I went out to take pictures and saw the trailer house and boat pulled off the side of the road a short distance away.

But it wasn't until that evening that I saw an alert from the public information director for ODOT, which referred to it as the "vehicle wreck on Highway 42."

I emailed him and asked how he could possibly call a blown tire "a vehicle wreck."

But he said it fell into "that category."

Kind of makes you wonder about the statistics that come out of that same department if a blown tire is considered a vehicle wreck.

*           *           *

A recent issue of The Port Orford Beacon had an interesting story about a burglary at the 101 Liquor Store, who captured the suspects on tape. After reviewing the tapes, the police department was able to identify multiple suspects ... all five of whom were Port Orford juveniles, ranging in ages from 9 to 16. From what I understand most of them were members of one family. The group included two females and three males.

The police department was also able to close several other burglaries and criminal mischief cases that occurred over the last several months, including a burglary at the Savoy Theater, and a burglary and criminal mischief at Driftwood School.

The article explained that because of budget issues the juveniles were not taken into custody, but all five were said to be placed on house arrest until their cases are handled within the juvenile system.

Talk about starting young . . . .

*           *           *

The locals who read my column probably know by now (if they read Saturday's World) that after 25 years as reporter/editor for the Myrtle Point Herald, I walked out the door Wednesday without looking back.

The people who bought the Herald in early June also own papers in Port Orford and Gold Beach, and since purchasing the Herald, also purchased the Coquille Sentinel. Ironically, I had been the one who contacted Mr. Hall when I realized the Herald was for sale.

Unfortunately, the Herald is now being printed in Klamath Falls and looks exactly like their two Curry County papers.

When they first took over, Matt Hall (the new owner) told our layout person to make me the "managing editor," and she changed the masthead. That was a little over a month ago.

As of the time that I walked out the door Wednesday, I had not seen Matt Hall nor had I spoken to him on the phone since they purchased the paper.

I was pretty sure he didn't want me writing editorials when I read a note in the Sentinel from Jean Ivey, former owner, apologizing to Matt Hall because she said she knew he didn't want editorials in his papers and she wanted to write one last one (which was interesting because she'd hardly ever written one before and this one urged people not to donate to the American Red Cross or United Way). I, on the other hand, had never gone a week without taking an editorial position in the Herald, but I figured from reading her comments that would no longer be the case.

They printed the paper in K Falls last week, so I went ahead and forwarded an editorial along with tons of other copy, not knowing what to expect.

Tuesday morning, I made four phone calls (and left messages) and then began emailing, trying to figure out what they wanted from me. No response was what I got.

Finally, Mr. Hall sent me an email shortly before 2 p.m. in answer to some of my questions and concerns by saying: "yeah, muddled. Just make the best - gotta finish up here. Been busy. Thanks, Matt."

Oh yes, and that followed an email earlier in the week from Mrs. Hall, asking me which days I wanted to work, and I said Tuesday and Wednesday. But when I got there Tuesday, there was a sign on the door which said: "Closed Tuesday for production." Of course, there is no longer any production going on anywhere in the Herald on Tuesday, or any other day for that matter, so that further confused things for me. I went ahead and opened the office but if someone had stopped by to pay a bill, I couldn't have made change because they took the key to the cash register.

Wednesday morning, before I went to work, I again sent an email to the Halls. Still no response.

Then, about 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Mrs. Hall called .... thinking she was calling the Klamath Falls Herald and News, and I informed her that it was actually the Myrtle Point Herald. She said, "oh yes, I've been meaning to call you." I had just gotten a copy of the paper and discovered that in the period of six weeks, I had gone from news editor to managing editor, to not even a mention on the masthead, which told me all I needed to know ... whether or not they bothered to call me. (Ironically, about an hour after her first mis-dial, Kim Hall called my cell phone, and when I answered, she said "Oh, I must have the wrong number." She was trying to call Kevin from the Herald News and again had called the wrong number.

When we talked during the first misdial, she informed me that "Matt was restructuring" my position, and I told her that I was sorry but I could no longer work there because if I stayed much longer, I might have a nervous breakdown.

I packed up all my personal belongings, told them where the stories were that I had done for the next week's paper, sent an email of resignation, put the keys in a drawer and walked out the door ...

It wasn't exactly the way I had planned to end 54 years in the newspaper business, but under the circumstances, I had little choice.

They are not people that I could ever work for ... and if you've ever picked up a copy of the Port Orford News, you could understand why. (Maybe it was pictures of their new baby in the Herald two weeks in a row, when no one in MP even knows them, that made me question what I was doing there.)

Or maybe it was a lot of other things ...

*           *           *

I figured out the secret to literally "aging overnight," but I certainly wouldn't recommend it. I decided to paint my birdhouses Thursday night, but it was not until after I came into the house that I noticed that my bangs were covered in white streaks (hey, I pay good money every 5 weeks to remove those ... the gray not the paint). Apparently I brushed the new paint when I bent over to pick up something.

It wasn't particularly attractive, so I began pulling out the white strands. It probably would have washed out, but I didn't want to wait until next week to find out.

*           *           *

After reading my column last week about problems with raccoons, a friend came over and set a trap two nights in a row.

Unfortunately the only thing we trapped was the neighbor's little black and white kitty. But I didn't realize it until shortly after midnight when I went out to check the trap, and found her in it.

Fortunately, my neighbor and her children are 'night owls" like I am, so I called her and she came over and figured out how to open it. I was pretty sure that the kitty would give it a wide berth the next night, but not so. My neighbor was gone for a couple of days, and fortunately it was only 9:30 when I discovered her trapped again and called my neighbor across the street. He came over and showed me how to unlock the trap in case it happens again.

Dave S. said he would set two traps Monday night, but hopefully I can persuade my neighbor to keep little kitty in the garage or the house while we try to get one or more of the critters.

I think it's the fresh salmon that she can't resist.

*           *           *

In the last month or so, there have been about 10 accidents in Oregon involving motorcyclists, and most of them died or were seriously injured. But this weekend, it was the driver of a pickup that died Sunday morning when a motorcycle and a pickup collided near Independence/Monmouth. The driver of the motorcycle was a 22-year-old man. A pickup driven by a 77-year-old man turned in front of him. The motorcyclist was thrown onto the hood of the pickup and through the windshield coming to rest in the rear seats of the pickup.

After reading that, I was sure it was the cyclist who had died. Not so, it was the driver of the pickup.

The police report pointed out that the young man was wearing a protective helmet and other safety gear that minimized his injuries, but it sounds like he may have hit the older man when he flew through the windshield.

I just left my column for a minute to print out that item from the OSP only to find an alert about another "serious injury motorcycle crash" near the summit of Santiam Pass.

This is decidedly a dangerous time of year for motorcycle riders.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 24, 2013

Anyone who thinks that raccoons are nocturnal animals hasn't been around my house lately. It's shortly before 3 Sunday afternoon and I went out to water my flowers ... when a huge raccoon almost hit me in the leg as he raced out from under a tree, across my pavers and under the deck knocking down a small fence as he dove to safety.

Although it would be a big job, and I've had at least one offer of help, I think it's time to put some kind of netting around the deck before the big guy decides to attack me the next time I get in his way.

The only thing that would worry me is that the family might be trapped under the deck, or at least some little ones, and I don't want that to happen.

I know why they hung around my house when I lived across from the cheese factory because the cats were fed outdoors, but there is no cat food around here so I'm not sure what they're eating.

*           *           *

I've had nothing but computer problems this week; in fact I sent Mongo a note saying that I might not be able to do my column if I didn't get my problem(s) figured out. But when he opened it, it was blank, which I am sure made him wonder if that was my column for the week or what I was trying to tell him.

First my keyboard stopped working, and I had to resort to using my big wireless keyboard, which has the insert key right next to the backspace and had caused me to lose a lot of copy before I figured out what was wrong.

But now I can't print on either of my printers.

A message popped up which said: "The Active Directory Domain Services is currently unavailable," whatever that means.

I have "Windows 7 for Dummies," but like all the other times I've tried to refer to it for help, there was no mention of a Directory Domain.

So if anyone knows what I've done to lose my ability to print, I would certainly like to hear from you (at It's a pretty important feature of my computer setup.

*           *           *

Like a lot of others, I think I got spoiled by the two days of beautiful, windless weather we enjoyed three weeks ago. And since then (and because of the inland heat wave), we've had a constant barrage of north wind. It is possible to get out of it, but certainly not around Old Town or on the waterfront where visitors like to hang out when they're not on the beach ... and I can only guess what that's like.

I've had beach lovers tell me it's virtually impossible to keep the sand from blowing into their eyes and mouth as they battle the winds.

I try to remind myself that late August and September will be here soon enough when we can once again hope to enjoy sunny, windless (or at least less) days.

I've had quite a few tourists ask me lately if it's "always this windy here," and I'm not sure how to respond.

*           *           *

The latest way for young people to try and kill themselves (not intentionally, of course) came to my attention last week when a pair of 13-year-old boys from Eugene drank a combination of cough syrup and tequila. Both ended up in the hospital, with one of them hooked up to a breathing machine.

It wasn't long before someone suggested that cough syrup should be handled the same way pseudoephedrine is ... you need to have a prescription from a doctor before you can buy it.

This is ridiculous. Why should those of us who want to purchase a bottle of cough syrup because we have a cough spend the money to go to a doctor before we can buy it. It's time we stopped trying to save people from themselves.

If it's not cough syrup, it will be something else.

A spokesman for the Lane County Public Health department suggested to parents that they remove the cough syrup from their medicine cabinets if they have young people at home.

That makes a whole lot more sense than making the rest of us "pay" for their stupidity.

*           *           *

I recently saw an obituary for a 30-year-old North Bend man, Jeff Boyce, who "passed away" June 21 in Marin, Calif. I thought to myself that name sounds familiar. It read: "Jeff will most be remembered for his extraordinary intelligence and witty sense of humor."

What they forgot to say is that Jeffrey Boyce was a cold-blooded murderer who admitted to killing a 56-year-old woman at a wayside outside of Reedsport as she traveled along Highway 101 to visit her son in Corvallis earlier this summer.

It wasn't long before they apprehended him in Northern California, and he committed suicide in jail rather than face a trial for his heinous crime.

What made this even worse is that a family member knew he was having a psychotic episode when he left home, but she didn't call the authorities until she "became worried about HIM" a couple of days later.

But it was too late to save the unsuspecting victim, whose only crime was to stop at a wayside to look at the ocean as she traveled alone along the beautiful Oregon Coast.

*           *           *

I meant to mention Destyni Fuller's CD release party last week at Brewed Awakenings, but I wanted to wait until I had time to listen to her CD, titled Closer To You, before I wrote about it.

Destyni is amazing and so is her CD. I particularly loved her rendition of "Daddy's Hands," and "Walkin' In Memphis."

Her younger sister, Tessa, accompanied her on a few songs at Brewed Awakenings. They are an extremely talented duo, who perform regularly as Passin' Notes, and I know how proud their parents Tammy and Glenn Fuller, grandparents Clyde and Cloretta Huffman, and older sister Amanda, are of them both.

It was a wonderful evening . . . .

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 17, 2013

I just happened to run into Jim Curran and his young son, Jimmy, at the Bakery Saturday, and I became the 21st person to say how sorry I was to learn that his mother, Flo Curran, had died. His parents, Jim and Flo Curran have lived in Coquille for many years, after moving from Bandon where Jim taught school a long time.

But Jim just smiled and told me that the 90-year-old Florence Curran, who died last week in Coquille, was not his mother. His mom, Flo (short for Florine) is in her late 80s, so all his friends thought it was his mom.

He first knew something was amiss when he got a call on his answering machine (or maybe his cell) from Hiemer Kiefer saying that if there was anything he could do for Jim and Patty, to let him know. "I couldn't figure out what he was talking about, but fortunately I called to talk to my parents not long after that and my mom answered the phone. It was then that she told me about the death of the Coquille woman with the very similar name."

In another strange coincidence, Jim said that when he attended SWOCC some years ago, he kept getting calls from the library about lost or overdue books. He knew it wasn't meant for him, but the name was the same, with the exception of the middle initial.

He now realizes that the other James Curran was probably the son of the "other" Florence Curran.

So for all of you who may not have contacted Jim and Patty after seeing the death notice, you'll be happy, like I was, to learn that Jim senior and Flo are alive and well at their home in Coquille.

*           *           *

I attended two chamber ribbon cuttings/open houses last week: the first was at Hennick's new furniture store, which is on the grounds of their store just east of Bandon. The store looks great. They have arranged the furniture in small groupings, just like you would see in a beautifully appointed living room. No warehouse look here, with rows and rows of couches, chairs, etc. It really made me want to buy all new furniture ... in spite of the fact that when I moved into my new home three years ago, I already bought all new furniture. I did find a gorgeous 5x8 rug, which was just what I'd been looking for ... so now my living room looks new again. And I got it for 10 percent off, which was a grand opening special.

The next night we were at Stadelman's new outdoor living center. They were celebrating the one-year anniversary of their popular new venture. I've been in the store several times since they opened, and it's always fun to stop in and see what new things they've brought in.

It's great to see local stores expanding . . .

*           *           *

The Bandon mosquito story has begun to get a life of its own. It made the Northwest section of Saturday's Register-Guard after the US Fish and Wildlife Service sent out a press release about the issue.

It starts out by saying what most of us already know: "Bandon area residents have noticed an unusually high number of mosquitoes this summer. Now the Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon State University are studying conditions in the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, where the insects breed. The study hopes to find out why so many mosquitoes are being produced in the estuary of the lower Coquille River and what measures, such as increased tidal circulation, might control them."

This problem has been going on since June in areas north of Bandon, and particularly those closest to the Bandon Marsh (which is known as the old Philpott ranch to us oldtimers).

City Attorney Fred Carleton and his son-in-law, who was visiting from South Africa, put their boat in at Rocky Point (adjacent to the marsh) one day last week and Fred said he'd never seen such a swarm of mosquitoes.

But it was a letter from a couple from Eugene who own property on Wisteria Way, across and above the river from the refuge, that really got my attention.

When they went to their property recently to clear some brush, they were set upon by "truly overwhelming hordes of mosquitoes. After dressing carefully and bathing myself in 'Deep Woods OFF,' I attempted to remove Scotch broom and blackberries. The job was nearly impossible. I've not experienced such swarms of mosquitoes since I was in Alaska during the summer," said Robert Whitman in an email to Roy Lowe of USFWS, which he copied to me and councilor Mike Claassen.

"The situation is such that no thinking person would buy property or build on such a site. I wonder how current residents of the area put up with the infestation. I feel your agency has a responsibility to the public to control this problem."

After the first story had already appeared in print about the possibility that the mosquitoes were probably coming from the marsh, a woman who lives on lower Fourmile south of Bandon (apparently near a marsh) said she had experienced no mosquitoes and wondered what I was talking about in an earlier Facebook post. I then told her that it was north of Bandon on the old Philpott ranch property.

Another Facebooker, Catie Shindler, who posts under the name Catherin Constance, immediately retorted: "the marsh at the old Philpott ranch is not the problem . . .people who limit their knowledge of the area to just that spot are truly limited in their opinion (pretty much aimed at me, I'd guess)." She mentioned other factors, no real winter, the planet changing, etc. and ended her remarks with "read more, just the facts, mam!"

Nothing like a little challenge to get my ire up, and I responded that if she'd read the article she would see that USFWS was indeed taking action by partnering with the OSU entomology program and the Multnomah County Health Department, Vector Control division.

I added: "It is quite obvious that they are very concerned about the problem on the marsh or they certainly would not be investigating that area. Just the facts, mam!!." (Note the two exclamation points).

Now, we'll wait and see what happens because you can bet that as the wind quits blowing(quite so hard) and it gets warmer, the mosquitoes will be thicker than ever.

*           *           *

I stopped by Pacific Blues shortly before noon Saturday to meet my sister Molly for a cup of coffee, but found that it was closed. There was a white sign on the door, which read "closed due to an emergency" or something to that effect.

I learned that Jason Tree's wife, Judy, had been picking cherries at her parents' (Buck and Nadya Rogers) home and had fallen 12 feet off a ladder. When Jason got the call she was en route to the hospital by ambulance. I saw Jason a few hour later at Tiffany's and he said that Judy was lucky because nothing was broken. She did suffer a sprain, but was extremely fortunate because a fall from that distance could have resulted in way worse injuries.

I absolutely hate ladders and will not go beyond a rung or two unless someone is below holding the ladder. And if someone else was there, why would I be climbing the ladder anyway?

Thank heavens, Judy will be okay.

*           *           *

It sounds like Friday night's Bandon's Alive After Five event, where a number of businesses will remain open until 8, is shaping up to be a lot of fun. In addition to a lot of businesses in the heart of Old Town remaining open, Truffles will be open, as will the new Riverside Studio at 346 Riverside Drive, where people can enjoy music and refreshments on their deck. Truffles will be hosting award-winning artist Kimberly Wurster, and will also be serving complimentary wine. They are located adjacent to The Station Restaurant at the corner of Fillmore and Highway 101.

Unfortunately, that's the same evening as the hospital foundation's sponsor party on the eve of their big golf tournament, so you probably won't see me around town. I would definitely be there were it not for this other important event.

I won't miss August's Alive After Five, set for August 16.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 10, 2013

Those watching the fantastic fireworks display Thursday night were "treated" to a little more than they expected when a huge fire erupted near the launching site, across the Coquille River in Bullards Beach State Park.

I was among a group of people invited by Greg Drobot and Daniel Graham to watch the fireworks from upstairs in Face Rock Creamery. It was a stunning view.

But as soon as the fireworks were over, several fire vehicles began racing past the creamery with red lights flashing. I figured one of the illegal fireworks, which seemed to be going off all over town, had ignited the brush on fire. That was until I watched another truck race down Riverside Drive.

By then, we could see the flames shooting high in the air, and realized where the fire was.

Matt contacted Fire Chief Lanny Boston a few days later, who said it is not that unusual to have a fire erupt at the launching site. He said one was caused two years ago as well, but this one was a "bit larger." It burned about two acres, including brush and a couple of shore pines.

The next afternoon, a fire broke out along Highway 42S at mile marker 2.5, that also burned a couple of acres. They had to call in air support from Douglas County and mutual aid from other communities to put it out. A friend, who has property in the area, praised the work of the Bandon Rural Fire Protection District firefighters, Chief Boston, the Coos Forest Protective Association, and those who came from other areas to assist.

Chief Boston remains concerned that one of these days illegal fireworks will cause a fire on the bluff, and we could lose some houses. He says Ocean Drive is virtually cut down to one lane with people parking during the fireworks, which could make it hard to get a fire truck through.

I'm not sure how we go about stopping the illegal fireworks, which seem to be everywhere these days.

*           *           *

The issue of the Star Spangled Banner, and other music which played over the city's emergency warning system before the fireworks, was another matter. Personally, I heard nothing but complaints from all segments of the community. Matt agreed that the "whole thing didn't work very well since the speakers are not really designed for music."

Peter Braun, a member of the chamber board, really wanted it to be successful, but I think even he agrees that it didn't go as planned. Too many people either couldn't hear it clearly, or it was too loud. Others complained about the testing of the speakers the previous day. Some could hear voices, but had no idea what was being said.

The good thing about this is that when the City went to test it for the music, they learned that the emergency warning system was not functioning correctly, and immediately did what it took to get it repaired.

I guess that's a good reason to test it once a month, but it should be clearly explained to the community when the siren is going to go off, so people aren't fearful of what it means. Matt plans to announce in his city newsletter that the siren will be tested at noon on the first Wednesday of each month starting in August. Pass this important info on to your friends, please.

As for any other use of the tsunami warning system, I think it should be only to warn of impending danger.

As we all know, when the "big one" hits, there won't be any need for a siren. When the shaking stops, people have 8 to 10 minutes to get to high ground. But the siren is particularly valuable to warn people of the possibility of a tsunami from a large earthquake in another part of the Pacific.

*           *           *

There were big crowds in town for the long Fourth of July weekend. However, I am not sure that they were spending in the local shops as much as in past years. I've heard that some merchants were down 20 percent from the previous year, while it looked like others were very busy.

In the future, it would be cool if the Lions, when they are advertising their Fun in the Park, would add to their posters about the parade and the fireworks.

Conversely, I received an email from the chamber's website the morning of the Fourth which mentioned the parade and the fireworks, but nothing about all the activities in the park.

For the benefit of everyone, it would be nice to coordinate the publicity to make sure all the events are mentioned in posters, websites and press.

It's just an idea ....

*           *           *

There was a neat article in Saturday's Register-Guard about a mother and her daughter from Creswell who led a crusade to ban the "rabbit scramble" at the Cottage Grove Rodeo.

Last year, Heather Crippen and her 18-year-old daughter, Alex, had watched dozens of rabbits hauled into a horse trailer and then released into the rodeo ring where scores of children charged, each trying to snare a rabbit to keep. Some children grabbed the animals by their fur, and a few stepped on them, Heather Crippen said.

I didn't know it at the time I was reading the article, but Heather Crippen is the daughter of Peggy Towne, who manages the Old Town Marketplace and the Old Towne Seafood business, with her husband John. And they were pretty proud of Heather and Alex, as well they should be.

*           *           *

For years, I've been sharing interesting tidbits from the sheriff's press log; that was then. This is now.

Several times in recent months, the press log wouldn't be there, and I always contacted my long-time friend, Sheriff Craig Zanni, and he took care of it. One time I received an email from an SO employee who works in the jail, telling me basically not to bother the sheriff when I had a problem. I was to contact him.

Last month, there was no report for four days, and I again complained to Craig. This time, instead of returning it to the more complete press log of the past, there is now no narrative at all. Just an address and the town, and the deputy who handled it.

I then mentioned to the sheriff that they could certainly no longer call it a press log because it was anything but.

They also took care of that ... well at least partially. When you go onto the Coos County website, it still says: "Daily press releases and jail information."

But when you click on that, the site has now been replaced by: "daily logs."

It's interesting that in an era when many departments, including the Oregon State Police and the cities of Coquille and Myrtle Point and the district attorney, are sharing more and more information ... the sheriff's office has taken a decided step backward.

I knew I shouldn't have complained ....

*           *           *

For those of you who may have seen the bright red and black "private property, no trespassing" signs on the driveway across from the cheese factory, I want to make it perfectly clear, that we sold both the houses to Nancy and Michael Mascio, and I have absolutely nothing to do with putting up those signs.

I lived there on and off for most of my life, and never felt it necessary to put up "no trespassing" signs, even though many of those years I lived there alone.

I know some people think I still own those houses because several have complimented me lately on "my beautiful flowers." It is true that I planted some of them a few years ago, but the Mascios have added to the beauty of the area.

And that's why I find it hard to understand why the "no trespassing" signs.

Not a very welcoming sight for people sitting on the deck across the street at the creamery and enjoying their ice cream cone ....

*           *           *

The Bandon Library Friends & Foundation group is having their big book sale this weekend. The sale opens Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. for BLFF members only, but non-members can join for $5 that morning. Then from 4 to 7 p.m., everyone is invited to the book sale, held in the Sprague Room next to the library in City Park. The sale is open to the public Friday and Saturday (July 12-13) from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday is bargain day.

All proceeds benefit the Bandon Public Library.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

July 03, 2013

I've pretty much run out of news for this week's column after the last couple of weeks, so I may have to adlib a bit and share a few of my own experiences in the last week.

Every other week I force myself to mow the grass, and Saturday was the day. Unfortunately, I run over one of my in-ground sprinklers, and each time I tried to fix it, a little spring would shoot out of it .... along with the water gushing three feet in the air.

I called a friend for advice, and he suggested I dig out around the sprinkler and take it to the hardware store for a replacement.

As I was digging ... with not much success ... I realized that if I screwed it in tight, water no longer shot out of the ground. However, instead of watering the grass, it watered my porch, the sidewalk and the side of the house.

I tried over and over and over again to figure it out. But by the time I was ready to take the sprinkler out of the ground and over to the hardware store, I had screwed the spring in so tight that it wouldn't budge ... and it was working even though the water definitely wasn't going where it was supposed to.

I finally used a pair of pliers (or maybe it was a crescent wrench) to work on it.

During one attempt, I decided just to suck it up and try to move the sprayer ... while it was going. Big mistake. I looked like a drowned rat and accomplished nothing.

Finally, I was able to move the top of the fixture to a position where it actually was spraying the grass.

I jumped up and down (I'm sure the neighbors thought I'd lost it), but for now it's working and I felt a real sense of accomplishment.

Doesn't take much to make me happy ...

*           *           *

Saturday evening my sister Molly and I were sitting out on the deck enjoying our unseasonably warm weather. Her little whippet, Blue Angel, was lying alongside the hot tub without a care in the world.

But all of a sudden, she jumped up, ran over to the center of the deck and starting going wild. The hair on her back stood straight up and she began going in circles, barking loudly (which she never does).

Molly and I couldn't figure out what had caused this because there was nothing in sight ... well, at least, nothing that we knew about.

About five minutes later, Molly yelled "look at that." A huge raccoon had come out from under the deck (in broad daylight) ... and it was pretty clear that was what had spooked Blue Angel.

We didn't want to take any chances of an encounter between the two because I know how vicious raccoons can be, so we immediately put the little dog in the car ... where she would be safe.

Now I know what makes all the noise at night. But I can't figure out what they're eating because there's nothing but a little bird seed, and they don't seem to be getting up into the trees to get into the feeders.

The last time I put out a suet cake, they weren't content to just take the suet ... they took the feeder, as well, and I never did find it.

It's probably under my deck along with a whole family of raccoons.

*           *           *

Every time I drive along Seabird this time of year, I think of my dear friend David L. Davis, who died several years ago. I remember when he had wildflower seeds spread all along Seabird ... and to this day, the bright yellow coreopsis and white daisies bloom in profusion.

What a wonderful legacy . . . .

*           *           *

I've been hearing rave reviews about the Bandon Face Rock Golf Course, which is being operated by a couple from California. We all know how much Troy and Kim Russell upgraded the course, but I understand from a friend that it's been further enhanced with new yardage signs and benches throughout the course.

It's a very reasonably priced course, and it's even cheaper to play after 3 p.m. I haven't been out this year because my golf partner no longer lives here, but one of these days I'm going to drag Matt, Fred and Brian out there for a foursome.

Or maybe I can persuade my sister to take up golf.

At any rate, people need to support this jewel of a nine-hole course ...

*           *           *

It's always fun to read rave reviews about Bandon. Someone named Misty Frost Johnson posted on Facebook Sunday about her visit to Bandon.

"We always eat at the Minute Cafe, and it was a favorite yet again for this trip. We also ate a fantastic lunch at Pacific Blues and then chocolate at Coastal Mist Fine Chocolates. We also visited the Bandon Marketplace and had Chubby Girl Cheesecake (among other scrumptious treats). Oh, and I can't forget McFarlin's yummy salmon burger. We also checked out other local attractions and had a great time. I guess my point is, everything was wonderful and our visit was one of the best. I hope everyone visits this great town and discovers its wonderful treasures."

Thanks Misty ... that's what we like to hear.

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I just read about the 54-year-old Vancouver woman who died after she was caught in a rip tide in Lincoln City. She and her daughter were swimming when both got caught in the current. The daughter was able to make it to shore, but the mother was floating face down when rescuers got to her.

The article adds that three other people were caught in rip currents Friday on the Oregon coast. Two children were caught swimming off the coast of Seaside and a man was pulled out to sea while swimming in Arch Cape. But rescuers were able to bring all three people safely to shore.

An earlier article, which I think came from the Oregon State Police, warned people about the rip tides, and said that rather than try to swim against the current, swim sideways until you get out of the current, and then head for shore.

Unfortunately, there is no way to warn tourists about the dangers of swimming in the ocean, or let them know what to do in case they do get caught in the current.

I don't know if coastal motels have this kind of information in their rooms ... but, if they don't, they should.

What a tragic way to end a seaside vacation.

previous columns by mary schamehorn