As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 26, 2013

One of my readers said if I didn't stop targeting certain breeds of dogs, she would stop reading my column. I explained that in my three-inch-thick file on vicious dogs, about 99 percent of them involved pit bulls or Rottweilers. It's a bit hard to ignore the evidence . . . but people are certain welcome to if they prefer.

Actually, in May, there were three attacks.

On May 9, a pack of pit bulls viciously attacked a 61-year-old woman as she enjoyed her morning walk through a neighborhood outside of Los Angeles. An autopsy revealed she had between 150 and 200 puncture wounds. The dogs' owner, a 29-year-old man, has been charged with murder and was being held in lieu of over a million dollars in bail.

The neighborhood had been on high alert for these dogs, and one woman said she doesn't leave home without a handgun, which she keeps on a lanyard around her neck.

Closer to home, in Myrtle Creek, a family pit bull mix dog attacked a baby's face May 23, sending the child to Portland for reconstructive surgery. The dog was held for 10 days at the Myrtle Creek City Pound under lock and key for observation.

In Hazel Dell, Wash., a 3-year-old girl was recovering at a hospital following a pit bull attack and while her mother wants the dog put down, she said she doesn't blame the breed.

In case my readers think I'm just selecting items about pit bull attacks, please forward me articles about similar vicious attacks by other breeds. I would be glad to share the stories with my readers.

But the evidence continues to mount . . . .

*           *           *

Update: I wrote the previous item several weeks ago, but had so much in my column that I decided to hold it. Since then, I was putting insurance on my rental in Powers when the agent wanted to make sure that the renters did not have a pit bull. That is the only breed he asked me about.


I forgot to ask him why he was "targeting" that breed.

*           *           *

Every time I read about someone swerving out of their lane of traffic and causing an accident, running off the road or, in the last account, of striking someone walking along the side of the road, I look for the obvious: what were they doing that prevented them from keeping their eyes on the road.

My guess is that it had something to do with their cell phones.

Last week, shortly before 11 a.m., several motorcyclists had stopped under a bridge in the Eugene/Springfield area to wait out a deluge of rain. Along came a 20-year-old woman, who simply drove onto the shoulder of the road and critically injured one of the riders.

A picture that accompanied the press release showed just how far onto the side of the road she ended up.

It's hard to imagine that she didn't notice the motorcycles or the riders; she was clearly busy doing something else. And another innocent victim has paid for the latest in a long series of drivers who are obviously finding something more important to do than keeping their eyes on the road.

It's probably long past time to ban any use of cell phones ... hands free or not ... from a vehicle. And until we do, you can expect a lot more of these kinds of "accidents."

*           *           *

There's been a rumor going around for a few months that Dr. Jeff Scott is leaving North Bend Medical ... and Bandon. Even though he assured a friend of mine not long ago that he loved it here and planned to remain, that appears not to be the case.

According to my extremely reliable source, he's moving to Bend and he's already spending some time over there working in the emergency room. My friend said Dr. Scott has officially submitted his resignation, effective Nov. 1, and is apparently no longer taking new patients (that certainly makes sense.)

I know a lot of people who use him as their primary care physician, who will now be looking for another doctor.

Hopefully, the latest search for a doctor by the board of directors of the Southern Coos Health District will be successful.

In order for the hospital to survive, it depends heavily on doctors who admit patients.

It's that simple.

*           *           *

The problem of mosquitoes north of Bandon has become a major Facebook topic, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. One woman wrote: "mosquitoes are still horrible day 14!!!!! Bite through clothes, etc. Are they possibly coming from marsh on North Bank as it's now wet, instead of dry pastureland??? The mosquitoes are on North Bank, Bullards, Bates Road, Prosper, Tom Smith, Morrison Road. Not all places, but a lot. We have no standing water around at least 8-9 houses out this way. I've been here over 17 years."

Another posting indicated that Robin Miller, local attorney and port commissioner, had talked with Dave Ledig, South Coast Unit Refuge Manager for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who advised that state entomologists will be here this week to start reviewing the situation.

Hopefully they will get to the bottom of this.

I've also heard from others who have said the welts left by the bites are far worse than in previous years.

There has already been one case of West Nile Virus in Malheur County last week, and we don't want the second case to be in our area.

*           *           *

I learned that my friend, Beverly Borzone, died several weeks ago. Bev and her late husband, Bob, lived in the Sunset City area south of Bandon Face Rock Golf Course and so loved their beautiful ocean-side home. Bev had cared for Bob, who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, and her very elderly mother, both of whom died in the last few years, but then she was diagnosed with cancer. Bev was 76.

*           *           *

I know that the Bandon Youth Center has been working hard to get high school students to utilize their facility. And one way they came up with was to circulate a survey to get the community's input on what else they should be doing.

They had hoped that the survey could be handed out in the high school so the young people they are trying to reach could give their input as to why they use the facility, or why they don't.

Unfortunately, the request never got past the superintendent's office. She chose not to let the principals circulate the survey.

That's too bad because the youth center has a lot of support from the community, and they need to hear from the young people, as well.

*           *           *

Unless you're a fan of professional basketball, you have probably never heard of Erik Spoelstra. He's the coach of the Miami Heat, who won the NBA championship Thursday night, and he's from Portland. Spoelstra, 42, attended Jesuit High School and the University of Portland, where he was an outstanding athlete.

Now he's coaching one of the game's all-time greats in LeBron James, who ranks right up there with Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Not bad for a kid from Oregon.

*           *           *

On another sports note, it's cool to realize that the 2015 U.S Open will be played in the Pacific Northwest ... at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Wash., outside of Tacoma.

And better yet, the general manager of Chambers Bay is Matt Allen, who was Hank Hickox's assistant at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort for several years before he moved with Kemper Sports to the new course, which opened in June of 2007. It was built by Robert Trent Jones Jr., a name that will be familiar to most golfers.

*           *           *

Friday night was Bandon's first Alive After Five event, which saw a number of businesses stay open late. It was fun to see people wandering through the shops in the early evening hours, enjoying appetizers, a glass of wine at Pacific Blues and, in some instances, making purchases.

Bandon Alive After Five will also be held the third Friday of July (19th) and August (16th).

I've heard some say that they wish it could be patterned more after what occurs in Coos Bay where you pay $10 for a wine glass, and then walk around town and sample wines and appetizers at various shops.

Maybe that will come later, but this is a good start and a big vote of thanks goes to the Greater Bandon Association and Harv Schubothe for spearheading this event.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 19, 2013

I just read of the triple murder in Bridge and saw that my friends, Renae and Lola Cottam, both 73, were among the victims. The Cottams came to Bandon at least once a week and sometimes more to eat at Thai Thai; they often brought dahlias from their beautiful garden for Nan and Charlie. In fact, many of the dahlias in my garden came from them. Renae was a retired English teacher and always praised the writing in the Herald. They loved Bandon, and would have moved here but their place at Bridge was so beautiful that they could not bear to leave it.

Only last week I saw them in Old Town Bandon as I was driving through. God, how I wished I'd stopped to say hi to them as I haven't seen much of them since Thai Thai closed.

I have no idea what prompted a guy to kill his wife and this wonderful couple. I don't think I know him, but I guess we'll find out more about him as he is charged with three counts of murder.

*           *           *

In last week's column I mentioned that a woman had been found dead on the China Creek beach at Bandon. Although KCBY's website said she was an 80-year-old woman, it turned out it was Patty Sober Weiland, who was 51 years old. I am not sure how long she'd lived in Bandon, but a lot of people knew her.

I am also not sure about the circumstances, but it was said to be "of natural causes."

*           *           *

I attended a dinner Thursday night at the Culinary Institute on the SWOCC campus, where a former Bandon man and long-time friend of mine, Stan Goodell, was honored as the Southwestern Distinguished Alumni for 2013.

He was accompanied by his wife and other members of his family, including his sister, Glenna Schellong, and his niece, Kelly Schellong, a former mayor of Crescent City, Calif., and now a member of the city council. Also present were his brother, Ron Goodell, and his niece, Lori, along with others that I didn't know.

Stan is about to turn 60, but he looks like the same great athlete that I covered during his very successful high school sports career. He ran cross country and track at Southwestern and graduated in 1974 with an associate's degree in police science. He continues to coach cross country and track at Hidden Valley High School in Grants Pass for a total of 35 years of coaching.

It was a wonderful tribute to such a deserving guy.

Others with Bandon ties who have been honored as Distinguished Alumni were Peggy Hunt Goergen (2007) and Michael Hennick Sr. (2001).

*           *           *

As most of you have probably read by now, Susan Hohlweg and her twin daughters, Alexis and McKenzie Sigmund, lost most of their belongings in a house fire last Tuesday which destroyed one room and caused heavy smoke damage to the rest of the house. Financial donations can be made in Susan's name at Sterling Bank. On her Facebook page, Angela Cardas Meredith, adds that Susan needs a short term (two or three months) two-bedroom rental (that will take one dog) and is not more than $550. They also need household items, including bedding, dishes, etc.

*           *           *

It is also important to note that the owners of the rental house that burned, Jim and Kathy Cowan, DID have insurance on the house. I talked with Kathy a couple of days after the fire and she said they definitely had insurance; it was the renters who did not have insurance. I asked because several people had commented on the fact that they didn't have insurance and wondered why.

Also the man who allegedly started the fire, John Hoffman, 55, who was Susan Hohlweg's boyfriend, was at first jailed for arson and then released when the DA determined he didn't have enough to make a case.

But the next day, after determining what really happened and the intent, the guy was re-arrested and again charged with arson, according to Kathy Cowan, who had received a call from the district attorney's office.

*           *           *

I've never seen so much talk on social media about mosquitoes in Bandon as I've seen in the last week. Everywhere I go people are talking about the horrible mosquito problem. Since I get huge welts when one even lands on me, I was surprised because over here by the hospital I have not seen one, even though I am outside watering at dusk.

North of Bandon, in the area of Weiss estates and the Bandon Dunes Golf Course, they are terrible. A friend said she had the worst round of golf she'd ever had last week ... because of the mosquitoes. Another told me she'd gone outside to move the sprinkler and, immediately, she was covered with them. I did talk to a woman who lives near the post office, and she also said they were bad in her area.

I do know that several people have called the county in an attempt to see if something can be done.

Maybe the "environmental officer" for the health department should look into this health problem rather than concentrating on a bite of food that may not have been prepared in a certified kitchen.

*           *           *

A former resident of Bandon, Sharon Ward Moy, posted something to her Facebook page, which generated quite a bit of discussion. She pointed out that Bandon High School was privileged to have an exceptional exchange student from the Czech Republic in its graduating class. Her little sister, her mother and her grandfather flew over for the graduation ceremony.

"Last year when two exchange students were at BHS, the administration received a complaint from a former teacher that the students and their parents, who took the time to fly from Holland for the ceremony, were not given special recognition at graduation," Sharon said.

"Well, this year, same thing, no special mention of Sara or her parents. Many in the audience were embarrassed for the community. Since her name begins with 'W' she sat in the back on the stage and her family could barely see her until the very end when she stepped forward to receive her diploma with nothing special mentioned, except that they couldn't even pronounce her last name correctly.

"Going out of your way to be polite to out-of-country visitors and their fantastic daughter (she will study to be a doctor - her mother is a psychiatrist) is just common sense. Can you imagine the great public relations for our nation and little community of Bandon when the family returns and perhaps spread the word about how graciously they 'were' (should have been) treated at their student's graduation in America!"

Sharon later pointed out that the family was well accepted by the community and, in particular, by the host family.

Another who attended graduation added: "We were at graduation and it was run by people who are retiring and really do not care... it was a sad mix of rural hope and wishes ... reading the bucket list that the graduates had was enlightening.

"I commend people like Jeff Moore, Cindy Edison and Ellen Howard ... they seem to be a backbone of teachers trying to make headway with broken families and all the other things that come to rural impoverished communities. Congratulations to all of the teachers, assistants, students and parents," she added.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 12, 2013

If you happened to read the article in Sunday's Register-Guard about the Bandon man who was arrested after he wrecked near the Santiam Pass junction Friday night, you may have tried to figure out who he was.

Don't bother.

The reporter for the R-G, who had the same press release that I received, said that the man arrested was Jason Hansen, who just happened to be the Oregon State Police Senior Trooper who investigated the accident.

Jeremy Lee Ward, 31, was the man arrested for DUII, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person (his 5-year-old son), assault in the third degree, driving while suspended, driving uninsured and failure to seat belt a child passenger.

His wife called the police shortly before 3 a.m. to say that her husband had left about 10 p.m. with their 5-year-old son, and he had been drinking. She discovered that he had packed belongings for him and the child. An ATL attempt to locate) was sent for a welfare check on the child throughout Coos and Douglas counties.

Unfortunately, he had made it to the junction of highways 126 and 20 when he left the highway without braking and launched off a gravel berm, flying in the air for about 25 yards before crashing down an embankment onto lava rocks. Officers estimate that occurred between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m.

Ward and his son were treated for non-life threatening injuries at a Bend hospital.

If I were Trooper Hansen, I would certainly hope that the Register-Guard prints a retraction. I tried to call their "if you see something that is not correct" line, but no one answered.

Not only did the press release clearly indicate that Trooper Hansen was the investigating officer, but Ward's name appeared in capital letters . . . twice.

*           *           *

Sunday's sheriff office log contained quite a few items about Bandon, which hopefully we will read more about in the coming days.

Shortly after 9 a.m. on Saturday, someone reported that a woman had been lying on the beach for 30 minutes, without moving. There was no other information except that the mortuary removed the body and the next of kin was notified.

Another report, which also occurred on June 8, involved the theft of $100,000 worth of gold from a safe on Clifford Road near Bandon. The report said it involved 100 Eagle coins; "also advised regarding eviction process."

The third report occurred shortly after midnight in the Parkersburg area. Someone called the police to say that "multiple subjects pulled up in a white Camaro with red stripes, breaking things around reporting party's address. "Subjects were trespassed from Parkersburg address."

It's just too bad that the police reports don't contain just a bit more information so we could learn "the rest of the story . . . ."

*           *           *

I often hear from people who say they'd like to view the Bandon City Council meetings on public TV, but they aren't sure when the meetings will be televised.

Actually if you have Dish (like I do) or Direct TV, you can't get the public access channels.

Through June 14, people can watch the meeting on Charter (channel 14) at 12:05, 8:05 a.m. and 4:05 p.m. It's the same schedule for those with Comspan (channel 73) through June 17.

Or, if you choose, you can watch the meetings on streaming video at

*           *           *

I talked with a friend last week who had gone to the Beaver Hill Disposal Site to recycle a bunch of stuff. But he said the attendant was very unfriendly, and watched everything he was doing. Finally the attendant told him it was garbage and to throw it into the pit. The attendant also told my friend that they'd laid off 6 employees, and my friend asked if Judy (the long-time booth attendant) was one of them. The guy said: "I can't talk about that" and walked away.

It wasn't until a couple of days later did my friend learn that Judy had died while working in the booth.

Everyone liked her . . . .

*           *           *

In last week's column, I mentioned that I would have another pit bull story in this week's column, but I've basically run out of room and will save it for next week.

*           *           *

I was surprised to see a big front page article about a 93-year-old North Bend man, Alfred William Sweet, who spent 29 hours over an embankment after he'd run off the road when returning from a family member's cabin on the Illinois River in the Agness area.

Wow. I thought, that was A. W. "Bill" Sweet, one of the best known people in this area. Not only is he a former bank president, but he's the chairman of the Oregon AAA board of directors (listed as A.W.), and was instrumental in building the Boys and Girls Club in Coos Bay. I had never heard him referred to as "Alfred" and although I've known him for over 60 years, I did not know that was his first name. He's always been "A.W." or "Bill," just like his father, who was known as "W.J."

I emailed the World editor to tell him who Alfred William Sweet was, but he said: "We know who he is. We chose to use his legal name." I did notice, however, that when the article was put on line, they added "Bill," so people might actually know who he was. That's what news is about, right?

I understand from a friend that he had gone down to water the plants at his grandson's cabin, and on his way home, his car went off the road. He was unable to climb out, so he spent the night in his car.

The next day, while searching for him, a sheriff's deputy apparently saw that grass had been disturbed alongside the road, and he was found, unhurt.

A. W. is a brother to my aunt, Anne Felsheim, and I saw him in March at the 90th birthday party for my uncle Lou and the wedding anniversary for Anne and Lou.

He's one lucky guy . . . .

*           *           *

I have a favorite yellow jacket, with an Oregon Ducks logo on it, that I save for special occasions. But Saturday, when I realized how hard the wind was blowing, I thought it would be perfect to keep me warm.

I met my sister, Molly, and her friend, Kathy, from Eugene, at the Old Town Marketplace, and Kathy was trying one of the new green smoothies (made from green vegetables) which I laughingly refer to as "green slime." It looks too much like split pea soup for me. But Kathy persuaded me to take a little taste. I was right; I didn't like it.

But rather than drink out of her straw, I took the lid off for my taste. Then I asked Molly if she'd put the lid back on.

Big mistake . . .

While trying to get the lid on, the plastic glass split, spurting "green slime" all over my yellow jacket, all over my sister and onto the booth of a place where we just happened to stop for a second.

The market managers, Peggy and John Towne, could see the look of distress on my face, and immediately ushered me into a place with a couple of sinks where I was able to basically wash my jacket and get all the green out of it.

I quickly left the market, buffeted by the stronger-than-usual wind and carrying my soaking wet jacket . . . while my sister apologized profusely.

It's not like she did it on purpose; she felt worse than I did.

The moral of this story is "don't get too attached to an item of clothing," because if something is going to happen, it will be when you're wearing it.

*           *           *

For about a week, I'd been reading about the teachers, administrator and staff members who would be honored at a reception Tuesday afternoon at the school cafeteria, and the public was invited to stop by and say goodbye.

You can imagine how surprised people were when BHS Principal Gaye Knapp and two of the long-time high school teachers, Jeff Moore and Bob Frazier, failed to even stop by for their own retirement reception.

I've talked to several people who believed it was some kind of a statement "against the administration," but it was the public who got snubbed.

I talked with one man whose wife teaches there and she went to school the next day hoping for some kind of an explanation. . . but none came.

Here's another example of wanting to know "the rest of the story."

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

June 05, 2013

Since my lawn really needs mowing (thanks to someone who fertilized it), I should be out there in the sun working on it. But it's a tossup between not mowing the lawn and not writing my column . . . and right now the column is the winner. During the week I try to stockpile ideas as to what I want to write about, but as my readers can see, sometimes I don't find much of anything. That's not true, of course, I have been writing faithfully for years, but it just seems like I don't have anything to say (at least to some of my critics) on occasion.

I'll try to do better . . . so here goes.

*           *           *

I am beginning to compile a list of people who have locked heads with the Coos County Health Department's Rick Hallmark, who is in charge of "Environmental Health" for the county. Their website says EH includes Restaurant/RV Park/motel inspections, drinking water programs, food handler classes, school and day care inspections, real estate loan inspections and water tasting. This is a "service" that the state used to perform . . . and I never heard any complaints. But a few years ago Coos County decided to take it over and that's when Rick Hallmark's name began appearing in more and more conversations.

It's kind of like pit-bull attacks (no comparison intended), but I have been keeping track of the complaints I've heard about the program in general.

During a meeting with State Senator Jeff Kruse and State Representative Wayne Krieger, held at City Hall with other city officials a couple of years ago, I mentioned some of the problems I'd heard about, and they said they had never heard anything from constituents in other counties. That made me think that possibly the state still handles those duties in other parts of the state or, if not, it's handled differently.

Until Saturday I had never seen Rick Hallmark, but I had definitely heard about him.

I do know that an employee of his department called the Herald one day to ask about a certain item we had in the paper and to tell us that they scan the area newspapers trying to find out where groups are advertising events to the public . . . where food might be served that is not prepared in a licensed kitchen (heaven forbid).

The Powers Alumni Association has held a picnic for Powers graduates for many, many years, and there's never been a problem, until they were contacted by Hallmark and his group after they read that the public was invited to the picnic. It is basically a big potluck, but now they don't advertise that it is open to the public. Now they have to go "underground."

The second group was the Powers Senior Center; most of the food that was served was prepared in their kitchen to a small group of people who gathered once a week for a nice meal and to socialize, but one of their faithful members used to share her famous lemon meringue pies with the group. But the health department rules put a stop to that. Her kitchen wasn't licensed.

Now I've learned that St. John Episcopal Church, on one of their many community outreach events, has been inviting single mothers and their children to the church for a home-cooked meal. That was until Hallmark and his crew read about it. Now they have to buy pizzas and bring them to the church to serve. One member asked if they could buy frozen pizzas and bake them in the church ovens, but another said that probably would not be allowed. (Talk about ridiculous!!!)

I could go on an on. One of the most egregious involved Beth Wood from Bandon Mercantile, who hosted a small fashion show at her store. But she advertised it as open to the public, and by the time they were through, Beth had been told by Hallmark that they had to make costly changes to their bathroom. Beth and Ed fought that, and the department finally relented, but throughout the two-hour event, Hallmark stood by the food table. Later he told Beth that he noticed that not too many people ate her food. She suggested to him that they might have been intimidated by his presence . . .

Saturday I saw him sitting outside the Mexican food cart at Gay 90s in Coquille, but it wasn't until I saw him go into the back of the cart and hand the owner a sheet of paper . . . and a lot of conversation . . .did I realize he must be Rick Hallmark. He confirmed that I was right.

During the recent opening of the Face Rock Creamery, someone from the health department sat outside the booth where they were serving hamburgers to the public . . . keeping track of only God knows what, but they were there.

What I find interesting is that people are living in the Old Bandon Beach Motel and I recently talked to a woman who had cleaned out there last week and she said she should have been provided a "haz mat suit." And the filthy old swimming pool still had water in it. (So much for "inspect food service, public pools and overnight lodging" which are part of the duties. But then maybe weekly "rentals" don't come under any kind of inspection.)

If anyone has any other examples to share with me or things they've heard about, I would love to add it to my file.

*           *           *

Each morning I go on line and read the Coos County Sheriff's report. This morning it was filled with items from Bandon (mostly outside the city limits, of course, since our officers pretty much take care of things inside the city).

It sounds like there has been an ongoing feud in the Prosper Junction area as I have read entries from that area before.

This one said: "Reporting party advised he is having a barbecue; whenever he does this neighbors call in a fire."

That must be one heck of a hot barbecue . . . or an icy cold relationship.

*           *           *

I was thrilled when I learned that a former Bandon man, Stanley John Goodell, had been named as Southwestern Oregon Community College's 2013 Distinguished Alumnus. He is now the cross country coach at Hidden Valley High School near Grants Pass.

When I received the press release at The Herald, and learned that he was going to honored at a dinner at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute on June 13, I immediately contacted the SWOCC Foundation representative to say that I would love to buy a ticket. It was then that I learned that this was an invitation dinner, but she assured me that I would be more than welcome to attend since I had known Stan since he was a boy.

I have watched him grow into a wonderfully dedicated coach, teacher, husband and father, and this is one event I would not want to miss.

*           *           *

Most of you have probably read about the Coos Bay man who is in jail after beating his wife repeatedly with a piece of PVC pipe.

But here's something you may not have read: the sheriff's report said an officer "attempted to get follow up photos of victim of assault. Same refused to be photographed because she did not want to get her husband (arrestee) in trouble. While out with victim she was served a subpoena for grand jury 6-4-13."

It appears that whether or not she wants to "get her husband in trouble" (after he has beaten her repeatedly with a piece of PVC pipe), she might think twice before perjuring herself before the grand jury.

She's obviously terrified of him . . . or if she isn't, she should be.

*           *           *

While walking across the gravel parking lot into the Old Town Market Friday, I looked down and saw a Visa debit card. I immediately took it into John and Peggy Towne, who manage the market for the Port. A few minutes later someone else picked up the same woman's driver's license.

She was from someplace in Washington, and John tried everything he could think of, including calling the bank where the card was issued, and he wasn't able to make contact with her.

She may not miss it until she tries to use her debit card . . . or worse yet, gets pulled over by an officer who wants to see her driver's license.

At any rate, we know they are in good hands. . . .

*           *           *

I have another horrific pitbulls-killing-a-person story, but I'm saving that for next week.

P. S. I stopped halfway through my column and mowed by lawn . . . now that I have both jobs done, I'll celebrate with a nice glass of Alexander Valley cab.

previous columns by mary schamehorn