As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 30, 2010

Although I haven’t been to the links thus far this summer, a friend plays it regularly and says it is in top-flight condition. He raves on and on about all the changes Troy has made at the old Bandon Golf Links, including working on several new sand traps behind No. 9. I’d better get out there soon because Troy has moved the No. 9 green to the tee-side of the creek . . . the one I always seem to land smack dab in the middle of, while he’s reconfiguring the new green and additional traps on the other side of the creek. I might even be able to drive the green if I didn’t have to go over the creek. Might is the operative word here, because I’ll probably just drive it over the green … and into the creek.

The most used club in my bag is the ball retriever.

In spite of the meandering Johnson Creek, which pretty much gets me on every hole, I love what Troy is doing to my favorite course and am looking forward to playing once again.

*           *           *

I’m not sure what is going on at the hospital, but I understand from a reliable source that on a 3-2 consensus vote (in executive session), the board failed to renew the contract of its long-time administrator Jim Wathen. The three votes were cast by Bob Hundhausen, Vicki Gernandt and Marilyn Noorda.

I’ve talked to several “in the know” who say you cannot have a 3-2 “consensus” vote in executive session. If heads are counted, it’s a vote, and they should have come out of executive session and put it on the record. Jim still has more than a year left on his current contract, but we’re awaiting the official word from the board chairman David Allen as to what actually took place at that meeting.

I do know it’s not a secret because one board member came out and told the director of nurses what had happened.

Apparently word is getting around because the new Chief Financial Officer handed in his resignation at the next meeting.

Bandon is extremely fortunate to have a hospital in our small community and I pray that things work out for the better … for all concerned.

*           *           *

In the last week, tourism seems to have picked up markedly in Old Town as some of the shops have actually been crowded … which is a wonderful sign. People seem much more willing to spend a little money in the shops. It’s been a long time coming, but I am sure shop owners are breathing a sigh of relief after a couple of pretty lean years.

However, as we were driving back from Coos Bay where I picked up something I couldn’t purchase here, I noticed the big flashing sign along Highway 101, which simply said “Bullards Bridge Closed.”

That might be fine if you’re driving 30 miles an hour because you will see that message followed by several dates, but had I been a tourist on Sunday afternoon, I probably would have headed for Highway 42 after seeing that message. And, at 55 or 60 miles an hour, that’s all I saw, which is unfortunate.

(What it’s trying to tell people, who are zooming by, is that the bridge will be closed sometime late in July or early August, after they earlier announced that it would be closed July 6-8. They need to make up their minds soon.)

I plan to call ODOT and let them know that the sign needs to be moved to a 30-mile-an-hour zone where drivers will have a chance to get the whole message … rather than just part of it.

We certainly don’t need prospective visitors detouring because they think the bridge is closed.

*           *           *

I am still amazed by the number of people who don’t think we are having a fireworks display this year, in spite of the fact that it’s been in the paper several times. Yes, there is definitely a fireworks show Sunday night and, as I said in last week’s column, we will find a way to make sure it continues to be an annual event.

As long as the weather cooperates.

*           *           *

On the opinion page of the Gold Beach paper last week, publisher/owner Joel Summer speaks disparagingly of both the Gold Beach City Council and their administrator, but, interestingly enough he compliments Bandon and Brookings.

He says: “There is a certain beauty to Bandon (about the same size city as Gold Beach) and Brookings that is just lacking in Gold Beach. They have the same Highway 101 going through their towns as we have going through our town. They have managed to get things done. Why can’t we?”

Out of fairness to Gold Beach, the highway does not go through the heart of our Old Town as it does theirs, but I agree, they have a long way to go before their city looks as good as ours does.

Thanks, Joel.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 23, 2010

It was great to learn that there will be a Fourth of July parade after all. When it came time to reduce the money the city was giving to agencies from its revenue sharing fund, I argued hard in support of not cutting the Lions, who were seeking $1,000 to pay for the Fourth of July activities in the park. This is the kind of community involvement we need.

As far as the money for the fireworks is concerned, I can almost guarantee you that we will always have a fireworks display (weather cooperating). For many years, the chamber of commerce conducted the major fund-raising campaign for the fireworks, and I am sure that if we all work together, that with the help of several of the larger service clubs, we can continue to fund the fireworks. In the “old” days, the fire department would ask people for donations on the night of the fireworks, but they are busy setting off the fireworks over by the lighthouse, and that was no longer feasible.

This has been a long-standing tradition, and I remember the big thermometer alongside the chamber office, which let people know exactly how much money had been raised and how much more they needed. People opened their wallets to contribute, and I am sure they will be happy to do so in the future. It’s just a matter of letting people know of the need, and the thermometer was a great way to do it.

Anyone who tells you we won’t be able to afford a fireworks display doesn’t know this town very well.

*           *           *

Several letters to the editor and items in the police report recently have shone a bright light on a serious problem in the community. And that is unleashed dogs. I talked to a friend at church Sunday and she has had several unsettling experiences while walking her dog in the last couple of weeks.

In one case, in the area of 11th and Franklin, two very large dogs came charging at her. She began yelling and one of them turned around, but the other kept advancing. Fortunately someone in a pickup noticed what was happening and he pulled between my friend and the threatening dog. Shaken up, she and her dog went home.

She’s also noticed an unleashed pit bull in the vicinity of the former Boatworks restaurant on several occasions lately, and now she is afraid to walk her dog in that area.

I do not know what action is being taken, or how actively the leash law is being enforced, but it is a sad state of affairs when local people are afraid to walk their dogs, for fear of attack.

Even when a dog is on a leash, if he (or she) is hell-bent on going after a small dog or someone’s precious cat, sometimes the owner can only watch helplessly or be dragged along for the chase.

My friend asked if it is legal to carry mace in Bandon. I do not know if it’s legal or not, but if she is able to save her little dog by spraying an aggressive dog with mace or pepper spray, she definitely should be allowed to do it.

I had a similar experience some years ago, but it was a stray dog from off the highway that came into my open garage and tried to kill my old Siamese cat. He had my cat’s head in his mouth. I’ll have to admit I was a bit younger back then, but I wasn’t about to allow a stray dog to kill my cat, and I’d probably do the same thing today.

I lunged at him; we rolled around on the garage floor and I was able to pull open his jaws to give my cat a chance to escape.

But I don’t recommend that as a solution to the problem.

*           *           *

I continue to be amazed at the amount of “white collar” crime that can be directly attributed to gambling.

Maybe that’s why a group of people from Florence did all they could to keep a casino out of their community. But it didn’t work. I guess it really doesn’t matter whether addicted gamblers play at a casino or in a bar on one of the state-sponsored video poker machines. The result, if you’re a problem gambler, is pretty much the same. You’re soon to be parted with your money.

A friend was driving into Florence recently and saw a large sign with this wording: “Casinos are weapons of cash reductions.”

I know a lot of people whose lives have been ruined by gambling would agree with that.

*           *           *

As I write this I am as confused as the rest of you about what happened to the seven-year-old Portland boy, Kiron Horman, who simply disappeared from his Skyline Elementary School in Portland.

But there’s one thing for sure: we all know where the stepmother is. She’s been on TV twice and her picture is plastered all over the state on fliers seeking to determine where she was on the day Kiron disappeared. (The alternative paper Willamette Week of Portland reported that someone used her cell phone on Sauvie Island the day Kiron was reported missing, which accounts for why they are searching so hard in that area.)

That’s why I was shocked to see a headline in an area newspaper Saturday, which reads:

“Police seek stepmom of missing 7-year-old.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Surely there is no one in the state of Oregon or the Pacific Northwest who hasn’t heard of this tragedy. No one could possibly think that the police are having a hard time finding the stepmom … except the person who wrote that headline.

The body of the article was correct, reporting that the police are seeking information about her whereabouts on that day. They, like everyone else, know where she is. She is home, although without calling her a person of interest, she has been asked to take a second lie-detector test.

I guess I expect too much of a headline writer – to get it straight – on such a sensitive story.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 16, 2010

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see the Bandon Playhouse production of The Boys Next Door. Some of the publicity said it was “hilarious.” I wasn’t sure how a play about four developmentally disabled adults could be a comedy. And it wasn’t.

But it was a touching, extremely well acted, look at the lives of four men, and their caregiver, who live in a group home. Sure, there were situational moments that caused the audience to laugh, but they weren’t laughing at the men … they were laughing with them.

Everyone in the cast did a wonderful job of playing his or her role, and the director, Mike Dempsey, deserves a lot of credit.

I talked with several local women, whose opinions I value, and they said the production was great. One said it was the best thing she had ever seen at the Sprague. And that says a lot.

A subject like this is hard to tackle with the sensitivity that it deserves – but this group of local men and women aced it.

This is not a production for children, but adults should plan to attend this weekend (Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2).

The Boys Next Door is a thought-provoking, poignant, look into a world that most of us have only heard about.

And it’s well worth attending.

*           *           *

George Gaspar, who owned Whisky Run Jewelry for many years, recently suffered a stroke, but is making a miraculous recovery. Family members are thankful for Southern Coos Hospital, where he was stabilized before being transported to Portland.

His daughter, Courtney, who now owns the jewelry business in Old Town, immediately went to Portland to be with him and brought him home a week later.

We are all praying for a speedy recovery for George, who was a well-liked “fixture” in Old Town for many years.

*           *           *

I’m sure parents across the state are hugging their children a little closer after a seven-year-old boy disappeared from an elementary school in Portland. He was last seen by his step-mother (a teacher) who had taken him to school so he could show her his exhibit at the science fair. Ordinarily, the school requires people to check in with the office when they enter the school, but this morning was different. The public had been invited to attend the science fair. Although his backpack was said to have been left in his classroom, the little boy never made it back from the science fair, and no one bothered to call the parents until the step-mother went to the bus that afternoon and he wasn’t there. By that time many hours had elapsed.

Portland’s high schools have a system where they alert parents when their students aren’t in school. But that’s not about safety; it’s about truancy.

Only about half of the elementary schools have the same system. I am sure that will change now.

The father (an Intel executive) and the step-mother were joined by the little boy’s mother and his step-father (a detective with the Medford Police Department) in a heart-wrenching public appeal for his return a week after his disappearance. By the time they were through, I was in tears.

I hope by the time people read my column, the little boy will have been found. But after nine days, it certainly doesn’t look good that he will be found alive.

Officers from many agencies, including the FBI, have been concentrating their search in the two-mile area between the school and the family’s home, so they must know something that we don’t.

There have been a number of cruel blogs casting aspersions on family members, but anyone who saw that press conference would be pretty sure that they had nothing to do with little boy’s disappearance.

But someone did . . . .

*           *           *

What kind of a lesson are we sending to young people when business at a Portland café increases … after the owner asks a uniformed police officer to leave? His crime: he might upset the customers of the café, which draws vegetarians and environmental and animal rights activists, who say they have been victims of harsh police tactics and were worried about police shootings.

A spokesman for Rose City Copwatch said police are focused on arresting people “to maintain a status quo that is built along race, class and gender lines.”

A customer, who was appalled by the decision to ask the officer to leave, quickly put it on the web, and it resulted in an outpouring of support on the streets for the officer.

It’s not hard to see why the gulf is widening between the ordinary citizen … and the police.

I wonder who will respond when the Red and Black Café in Southeast Portland calls the police.

But wait, an officer is welcome in the café … as long as he’s not in uniform.

That’s big of them.

*           *           *

I read this week about a high school in Illinois that will require all students to bring their own laptop computer to class this fall.

But the district went one step further, which has upset a number of parents: the computers have to be Apple MacBooks, which cost $900, rather than personal computers, which generally are less expensive.

The 1,200-student school does provide an option for parents: they can lease MacBooks for $25 a month, with an option to buy.

And we thought books were expensive ….?

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 09, 2010

The next person I hear say we’re still in a drought – will be pushed by me into the nearest mud puddle. Just kidding, of course, but I can’t remember a more miserable, rainy spring than the one we’ve been enduring of late.

My beautiful big red geranium baskets look like they tried to weather a hurricane – but that’s what happens when they are blown over by the 60 mph gusts, and land on their tops.

Bent, broken and barely alive flowers are the result.

My boss has a large greenhouse at her Lampa Lane home and she brought me several large petunia baskets on the one nice day we’ve had …. and now they look just like the geraniums.

Others say their veggie plants have rotted in the ground.

I know this is hard on people who tend to be depressed by the dark gloomy weather and are growing more anxious each day … wondering if we really will have summer.

Enough is enough!!!

*           *           *

In an almost futile attempt (because I was seconds away from giving up), I held for over 10 minutes trying to order checks through Bank of America (not the local branch, of course). Repeatedly the recorded voice told me how important my call was to them … and I muttered into the phone “I really don’t think that’s true,” but when they said they might send me a survey to “track” my experience with their customer service, I burst out laughing.

I was actually hoping they would send me a survey so I could put into words what I was feeling, but, of course, they didn’t.

Once a real person finally answered, they did go to great lengths to make sure it was really me: my password, my phone number, my Social Security number, and a particular check number in my check register . . . to whom the check was made, the date and for what amount (which is a first for me).

And that was just to order a new batch of checks . . .

*           *           *

While cleaning out my basement last week, I found a Bandon High School prom picture of Cathy Strycker and Dee Staten (who are now grandparents), and a graduation picture of my youngest sister, Mindy Dufort Johnson, Patty Turner McCurdy, Cindy Brown McNeil, Chuck Cravy and Wade Schirmer … from the mid’70s. Yes, those pictures were over 30 years old.

I remember that during those years, when I taught photography at the high school, I would often take graduation and prom pictures and sell them for $5 … in a small black frame.

I e-mailed my former boss, Warren Strycker, to get Cathy and Dee’s address and he said they were to be in Arizona last weekend for his 72nd birthday.

I noticed that the graduation picture, which was in a cardboard holder, was marked “Patty, paid” on the outside.

So this week I will take it down to the candy store in Old Town, owned by Patty and her husband, and give the photo to her, with a small note: “Better late than never.”

You never know what you’re going to find in my basement, which also contained many boxes of old negatives from the ‘60s and ‘70s at Western World … saved by me when one of the 12 owners I worked for was purging all the negatives. They were headed for the dump and since I had taken many of them myself, I couldn’t bear to have them just thrown away.

I now have the capability of scanning negatives into the computer and, someday when I am retired, I may begin printing some of that priceless collection of Bandon’s history.

*           *           *

It’s neat to go into Old Town and see the many flower boxes and hanging planters that grace the front of The Continuum Center building. Several of the tenants got together to purchase the flowers, and they also take care of the watering, which hasn’t been much of a problem in the last couple of weeks.

But as they flourish, they will definitely add to the beautiful landscaping that already exists throughout Old Town, all of which says “welcome” to visitors and locals, alike.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 02, 2010

I think I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the word hoarder as it might apply to me. I’m trying to chalk it up to having lived in the same house for over 30 years, but it’s hard to justify literally hundreds of magazines (many grouped by title and month in racks which fit neatly along the top of shelves in the basement). True, they haven’t been thrown in unsightly piles; they actually look like they belong there. But now that we’re moving out of the big house to a smaller house, without a basement, across town, it’s time to divest myself of 30 years of stuff.

I still cringe when I think of throwing out (or donating) all those cooking magazines: Gourmet, Cooking Light, etc., not to mention just about every photography magazine that a person could subscribe to over a period of 10 or 15 years. I truly did mean to find time to go through the cooking magazines and clip out the recipes that I might actually try some day – sort of like the 100-plus cookbooks that have gone to my new house – many with recipes I have earmarked to try – some day.

But it was the plastic bracelets that reminded me of the “old days” when I had to have a matching bracelet for every outfit. The outfits have long since been donated to Brees, but for some reason I kept a huge stash of colored bracelets. Now they’re headed to Brees . . . to go with the outfits I’ve already donated.

I never knew it would be such a chore to clean out a house … and we’re a long ways from being through. To say that it’s an eye-opener about buying things you don’t need and will never use is an understatement.

*           *           *

I was absolutely devastated by the letter I read in the World last week about the woman who had befriended a cat in her neighborhood, which appeared to have had some sort of an old injury. For several reasons, she wasn’t able to take the cat … but he was very friendly and she said he came right up to her, and rolled over to have his tummy rubbed. She hoped to find him a good home – but she made a fatal (for the cat) mistake.

She decided to take him to the Coos County Animal Shelter (often referred to as the humane society), where she asked the young woman working there if she thought they could find a home for the cat. The shelter worker replied that they would probably have to euthanize the cat. The woman said she informed the worker at the shelter that she wanted to step outside and call her husband to see if she could bring the cat home until they could have it examined by a vet and perhaps find it a home.

She said the call lasted less than a minute, and he said she could bring it back. But when she went back inside, the woman working the counter informed her that they had already euthanized the cat.

The woman asked her why she didn’t wait for her to return, and she said the animal was suffering. The woman added: “She laughed at me and said if you did not want it put down you should not have brought it here. I asked if the cat was examined for injury. Her reply was, we are not here to fix them.”

The woman said she found it hard to believe that the cat was suffering as he had eaten, lapped up water and played.

She ended her letter by saying she would definitely not take another stray animal to the Coos County Animal Shelter nor would she continue to donate to the facility.

I am sure her feelings are echoed by everyone who read that letter in Friday’s World. How dare they ever refer to it as the “humane society,” or even an “animal shelter?”

It seems to be neither.

*           *           *

I’m often amazed by the half-page section in USA Today titled “Across the USA … News from every state,” which appears daily. Often the items that are chosen for Oregon are things that I have not read about anywhere else.

The item in Friday’s paper had a Heppner dateline. It seems that the Morrow County Planning Commission voted to give the owners of a wind farm six months to comply with state noise regulations. The county approved the 72-megawatt Willow Creek Farm in 2005, and turbines began operating in December 2008. Neighbors have complained about the noise and vibrations.

That is certainly not good news for anyone thinking about siting a wind farm in a vicinity of homes, but it points out what many are saying – they don’t belong near residential areas.

I’m hoping to read more about it in Sunday’s Oregonian, but since the daily O is no longer available in Southern Oregon, it may well have been in the paper last week, and I just missed it.

*           *           *

I guess a little bit of information is better than none. I’ve noticed a lot of activity at both Lloyd’s and the Arcade in recent weeks. I knew that Lloyd’s had sold, and the new owners and several helpers are working hard to get it open as soon as possible. But I hadn’t heard anything about the Arcade. My pals Nan and Charlie at Thai Thai said a couple were in the restaurant one night recently, who said they are getting it ready to reopen. They are apparently the parents of a caddie at Bandon Dunes, but that’s all I know. It will be good to have both establishments open again. It’s not good for a community to have too many empty storefronts.

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