As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 27, 2013

Every time I read about another teenager killed in a car wreck, I think back many years ago to when I taught photography at Bandon High School. My youngest sister, Mindy, was in my class, along with a lot of her friends. I'd heard that she and her friends weren't always the best of drivers so one day during class I decided I would get their attention: instead of talking about photography I read them the well-known Ann Landers column, "Please God, I'm Only 17."

And I read it with a lot of emphasis. Several of them had tears running down their faces when I was through. But I had made my point.

In the last couple of weeks, 15 teenagers died in major car accidents around the United States. Six died after crashing into a pond in Ohio; five died when they crashed into a tanker truck in Texas, and four died when they crashed into a creek in Illinois.

And those were just the ones horrific enough to make the national news.

Driving is the No. 1 killer of teens in this country, accounting for about 25 percent of teen deaths each year.

Some states, like Oregon, have what is known as the graduated drivers license which regulates how many passengers teens can have in their car when they first get their license.

But one expert said that laws regarding passengers in vehicles driven by teens are "the single least enforced and most ignored rule."

I'm not sure that's true . . . I think the number of people who still drive and talk on the phone . . . or text. . . . would indicate that they aren't worried about getting a ticket.

The advice to parents from one teen safety advocate is: make sure your teens are driving alone mostly, with no more than one passenger. A study released last year by AAA said fatality rates went up 44 percent with one passenger under 21 years old, doubled with two passengers, and quadruples when carrying three or more passengers who are under 21 years old.

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The Bandon Breakfast Bunch (a group of people who live in the Portland area and meet annually for breakfast) have scheduled their next event for Saturday, April 6, from 10:30 a.m. until noon at Xavier's Restaurant at 1933 NE 181st in Portland. Turn off I-84 at exit 13, and then head south. It's only a few blocks down on the right.

Sharon Ward Moy is in charge of arrangements, and if anyone is planning to be in Portland that weekend and might want to attend, you need to let her know at

If I were planning a trip up there, I'd love to attend. I've heard they have a lot of fun.

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United Van Lines has published its list of the states from which people are moving, and the states they are moving into. No surprise that people are leaving the northeast and the Rust Belt (cost of living and lack of jobs). No surprise that they are moving south and west (warmer weather and jobs), although the south is all "right to work" and there may be some surprise at what they are offered, said Carol Acklin, who forwarded me this article.

She says that "One big surprise from the study is Oregon, which is the second most popular state with 61 percent inbound migration. Although it's not the typical temperate climate of a retirement spot, the writer believes hipster city Portland may be attracting both older individuals and young people with its mix of economic growth, cutting edge urban planning and scenic landscape.

Carol adds: "The Oregon coast is attracting its share of new folks and this is good for those of you with rentals and real estate for sale."

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I've been inundated with telemarketer calls lately; well at least I think that's who they are because after about the first few words out of their mouths, I hang up the phone.

A friend sent me a page titled "Ways to Handle Telemarketers" and next time I think I'll stay on the phone long enough to try out one of these suggestions.

"If they say they're John Doe from XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name. Then ask them where it is located. Continue asking them personal questions about their company as long as possible."

"If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you sure could use some money."

"When they ask, 'how are you today?' tell them. 'I'm so glad you asked, because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems. My arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died."

"First and foremost, tell them to talk very slowly because you want to write every word down."

Now that I'm prepared to have a little fun, I'll probably stop getting those pesky calls . . . but undoubtedly not for long.

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I went down to Ocean View Care Center Sunday to take a birthday card to Marie Douglass, who turned 103. As far as I know she's the oldest person at the facility, but Richard Griffith is not far behind, having celebrated his 102nd birthday in December.

I talked with Betty Baird at the store today (she still drives and is literally sharp as a tack), and she will be turning 95 on March 30. But she's young compared to her sister, Marjorie Stephenson, who is 99.

My mom is 96, but she's not doing well, having what we think was a stroke Sunday afternoon. At first she couldn't talk at all, but by the time I left the house a couple of hours later, she could say a few words. The good thing is she didn't seem to be suffering, which is our greatest fear.

My neighbor Edna Cramer was 96 in November and she's active on Facebook . . .

My wish for us all is that we can proceed into old age in relatively good health . . . .

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This quote pretty much tells it all: "OMG please tell me this isn't (expletive) true." ... text message from a teenage rape victim, who didn't remember the assault but learned the details through texts and social media posts.

If this isn't reason enough for a young person to stay sober, I don't know what is. I have heard horror stories of teenage binge drinking right here in our area, with young girls either passing out or becoming deathly ill from overdosing on alcohol . . . or worse.

The latest rape trial, which found two star football players guilty of rape, should be a wake-up call for both young women and young men as to what that kind of conduct holds in store for them.

It's a sad commentary, but unfortunately apparently all too true.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 20, 2013

The latest to weigh in on the closure of the air traffic control tower at North Bend and several other smaller airports across the state is United States Senator Jeff Merkley.

Unfortunately, his press release adds fuel to the fire. He says: "Shutting down airports that mean jobs to local communities is a great example of what dumb cuts look like."

Actually, if cuts like these aren't allowed to proceed, what will. That's why we're in the fiscal crisis that we're in . . . because no one wants to cut anything out of the federal budget.

We didn't realize how good we had it when Horizon was the primary carrier. Their Portland hub was a connector to all points, and it was relatively easy to fly in and out of North Bend.

That is no longer the case . . . and it's sad.

But the control tower isn't going to make any difference, and its loss is certainly not going to shut down the North Bend airport.

It's time to skip the scare tactics . . .

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As most of you are aware, Coos County's garbage is now being hauled to landfills in other parts of the state. One, Coffin Butte, is outside of Corvallis. I believe another is in the Roseburg area.

I saw first-hand last Wednesday what garbage looks like when it is strewn all over the roadside, spilling from an overturned Bettencourt truck, apparently hauling garbage from Beaver Hill to Roseburg.

I am only guessing, but I seriously doubt that anyone would be hauling a huge truck load of garbage for the fun of it. They have to truck it out of here since the county's incinerator was shut down.

I am pretty sure the driver was injured as EMTs were attending to him alongside the road, but at this time, I don't know the details.

I just know it was a horrific mess and I'm sure it took quite a bit of effort to get that garbage into another truck to continue its trek out of Coos County.

I don't know how we got to this point, but it's a disgrace that we can't even take care of our own waste.

I will send along a picture that I took to show the magnitude of the garbage that was spilled. The only good thing about this story is that no one was coming around the corner when the truck lost control and skidded across the highway.

overturned garbage truck

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I think it's time that people take a harder look at vicious dogs in this county. If a dog bite is serious enough to send a person to the hospital, it might be time to pick up the dog and take it to the pound where it can be further evaluated. There was an incident of a dog bite in Coos Bay last week that sent a person to the emergency room for "triage."

The disposition: the dog was in home quarantine for 10 days. Wow! that will surely keep him from biting someone else ... well at least until he gets out of his 10-day "time out."

A week earlier, a seven-year-old North Bend boy, who was waiting for the school bus, was chased and attacked by the neighbor's Rottweiler. And they had to rush him to Bay Area Hospital ER with "numerous bites."

It doesn't say what happened to the dog, but my guess is . . . not much.

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I know one of my readers said he was tired of reading about my problems in Powers, but there's a bit of positive news about my property. I now have a new $1200 water line, $430 worth of new windows (at least the glass, not new frames), the garbage has been picked up and hauled away, the torn up furniture (that they didn't bother to steal) is gone and we're ready to start painting the interior of the house. Oh yes, and we found the stackable washer and dryer out in the yard, and we located the missing parts of the banister that was smashed when the upstairs furniture was hurled down the stairs.

It hasn't been a pleasant experience for my friends who are cleaning it up (and I won't go into the details), but things are definitely looking up.

There was pretty much nowhere else to go . . .

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I always like to share some of the stranger things I read each day in the Coos County Sheriff's log, and this one is pretty much up there . . . .

Someone called the police from Roderick Road in Coos Bay to say that her neighbors are "playing a tape of her dog barking while she was gone."

I'm not sure why she would bother to call the police. Maybe she should be glad that her neighbors played the tape for her (instead of the police) . . . so now she knows that her dog has been disturbing them.

And maybe, just maybe, she will do something about it. . . .

You can pretty much guess that if the neighbors were desperate enough to tape her barking dog . . . it has been going on way too long.

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There are several things going on in Old Town Saturday. A gathering, described as a wake, will honor Ben Digby, who died last week. It is being held at Lloyd's beginning at 3, and people are urged to bring a potluck dish.

Beginning at 5, Washed Ashore is holding an open house at their new location in the Harbortown Center, and that is expected to draw a big crowd. Parking may be at a premium if both events are well attended, which I expect they will be.

Also, McFarlin's (in the front of the Harbortown building) reopened March 15 and is always busy on Saturday nights so there should be lots of activity in town. It's great to have them open again.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 13, 2013

I'm late starting my column tonight because I just bought a new keyboard . . . and I made so many mistakes in one line that I couldn't even get started. It was one of those fancy kinds, curved with a big bar in front on which to rest your hands so you don't get carpal tunnel syndrome. Plus the keyboard and the mouse were both wireless so I thought I'd finally achieved the ultimate in ease.

Wrong. I made so many mistakes that I thought maybe my fingernails were the problem (too long), so now I have short stubby nails . . . and was still making just as many mistakes.

I removed the wireless keyboard and kept the wireless mouse, so hopefully I can now work on my column. I think I just need to practice on the other keyboard and since it's still plugged in, through the USB connection, I can practice on it when I'm not under the deadline to write my column.

Or maybe after 55 years in the newspaper business, I have simply forgotten how to type.

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Saw an interesting item in the sheriff's report, which occurred shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday night in Bandon on Highway 101 (Second Street). It was a road rage incident. It says that a subject (man) jumped out of his vehicle at the stop light, damaged the caller's vehicle and harassed them. He then slapped the phone out of the reporting party's hand while he was trying to dial 9-1-1.

I don't know what the guy did to make the man so angry. It doesn't say whether the police made contact with the mad man, but when he slapped the phone out of the guy's hand it sounds like a bit more than road rage.

Sounds more like assault.

I would love to know the rest of that story.

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When the news first came out that the control tower at the North Bend Airport was due to be closed next month, along with several others at smaller airports throughout the state, rumors spread wildly about problems it would cause at the North Bend airport.

Actually, a friend of mine is a pilot and he said he was absolutely amazed when the state decided to install the tower in the first place. Horizon Air had flown thousands of flights into North Bend over the years without benefit of a tower. My friend said it definitely wasn't needed, particularly when you remember that ever since Horizon pulled out, air traffic has pretty much declined out of the expensive new terminal.

The one thing that has changed is that those locals, who still fly out of there and also pay taxes to help support the airport, receive a second slap in the face when they have to pay to park their vehicles.

We didn't realize how good we had it when Horizon was the primary carrier. Their Portland hub was a connector to all points, and it was relatively easy to fly in and out of North Bend.

That is no longer the case ... and it's sad.

But the control tower isn't going to make any difference.

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I think I may have reminded my readers about this earlier, but I received a Facebook notification from my youngest sister, Mindy Johnson, who lives in Vancouver, Wash. She shared the Jury Duty Scam, and I can certainly see how it might work.

You might get a call from someone pretending to be a jury duty coordinator, who says you failed to show up for jury duty. If you say that you never received a summons, the scammer might ask you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant that is going to be issued. This fraud has been reported so far in 11 states. It doesn't appear that Oregon is one of them, but that could easily change.

This swindle is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system.

The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web site, warning consumers about the fraud.

My sister advises that says it's true.

That's good enough for me.

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If you haven't yet turned in your ballot on Bandon's Measure 6-148, I am urging you to vote yes and get your ballot into City Hall before 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

For the life of me I am not sure why anyone would vote against this, or why the Committee to Keep the Lights on in Bandon and would spend the money to walk through Bandon neighborhoods and hang information on door knobs urging a no vote on the measure.

It seems to be more of a property rights issue than anything else, and that's sad. They also speak of "protecting your final authority," "preserving human activity" and "preserving our quality of life."

Frankly, I think the quality of everyone's life would be better if we didn't have the neighbor's or the City's lights shining into our backyards and bedroom windows.

Please vote yes for Measure 6-148 while there is still time to get your ballot in.

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A friend and I sometimes go to the pub at Bandon Dunes for a relatively inexpensive dinner. My other friends generally have other favorite places in town, so we experience quite a few local restaurants.

When we arrived at the pub we learned that the college golf championship was being held and it would be quite a while before we could get seated, so we decided to walk a short distance and go into the bar at the main dining room.

After determining that we probably weren't going to be able to eat at the pub, we decided to eat in the bar. The bar menu was very reasonable, and we prided ourselves on not spending a lot. We also enjoy a glass of red wine, so we ordered the house wine without asking how much it was.

When we got the bill we were shocked . . . no wonder the food was so inexpensive, they made it up and then some on the wine. It was $14 a glass. And it was about two-thirds the pour of many local restaurants.

When I got home I Googled the wine (Del Rio Cabernet) and it appears that the most expensive seller charged $19.98 a bottle, and that was retail. The bar probably paid far less than that, and with the relatively short pour, they definitely are making a killing with their wines. It's totally different at the pub, where it's either $6 or $7 a glass, which is reasonable.

The key here is to ask before you order . . . and not find out when the bill comes. It was an expensive lesson.

And my friend says he won't be going back . . . .

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Talk about a couple of "chamber of commerce" days. The weather this weekend has been gorgeous, and it was fun getting the yard cleaned up, more bulbs planted and adding a couple of suet feeders. I have a problem with flocks of starlings, who come swooping into the yard and scare away the little birds as they eat all the suet.

As soon as I see them, I remove the suet feeders as Starlings aren't seed eaters, so they travel on to someone else's backyard.

I am sure it won't be long before they get the word that Mary's suet is back, but in the meantime, the little birds are definitely enjoying it.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 06, 2013

A popular Bandon couple, Hiemer and Joanie Kiefer, are lucky to be alive after they were hit head-on on Highway 42 last Wednesday evening near Bridge as they were headed home to Bandon. Both work for the Bandon School District.

I do know that Joan was the most seriously injured, and after being taken first to Coquille Valley Hospital, where she was kept overnight, she was then taken to RiverBend in Springfield with a broken sternum, fluid on the lungs and a badly injured foot, which I believe required surgery,

I have not heard if she is home from the hospital yet. I understand Hiemer suffered a broken hand, and other scratches and bruises.

Apparently someone was turning off the highway, and the lady behind them didn't realize it in time to stop; instead the woman swerved into the incoming lane where she hit the Kiefer's vehicle head-on.

The accident occurred in the early evening. I was still at work in Myrtle Point and heard the ambulance go out, but, of course, had no idea that it was an accident or who was involved.

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There's still time to vote on Bandon's lighting ordinance and I am urging people to vote yes on Ballot Measure No. 6-148.

We have been criticized by several people for wasting the taxpayers' money by putting it on the ballot. The truth, of course, is that the city council had nothing to do with having it put to a vote. It was referred by a group of people, spearheaded by Rob Taylor, after the council approved the ordinance some months ago, following a public forum put on by the Committee for Citizen Involvement, and several public hearings by the planning commission.

The most important thing to remember is that all current lighting is grandfathered, which means that if you have the old style lights, that mostly light the sky rather than the path or the street below, it doesn't impact you. The main point is about directing outdoor lighting down to the ground rather than into the sky, where it serves no purpose.

I find it ironic that the only two people who wrote letters against the ordinance in last week's Western World live in Coquille. How it would affect them is a mystery to me.

One of the writers, Ronnie Herne, is well known to me as editor of the Herald newspaper as she and her partner, Jaye Bell, flood the various papers with letters on every imaginable subject. The two women also put up the money for the bizarre ballot measure, which would have required county residents to vote on anything and everything over a certain dollar amount. Frankly I think they need to get a life, and possibly start worrying about Coquille ... rather than Bandon. But that's just my opinion.

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I'm always amazed to read a correction in a newspaper about some story that's appeared in a previous issue. But one in the Register-Guard in late February blew me away.

It referred to a story titled " 'Donkey Show' lawsuit fails in court". It was a huge 48-point headline and it talked about a local radio personality who claimed that he faced such intense verbal abuse on "The Donkey Show" that he was forced to quit. It goes on to say that he was the unpaid co-host of the show.

Well, guess what, a tiny little correction appeared a couple of days later. Not only was that not the name of the radio show (it was an entirely different show), but he was paid by the station.

No wonder people sometimes question what they read . . . .

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Most of you are probably familiar with the success of Susan Boyle, who debuted several years ago on Britain's Got Talent. She became an overnight success and has since produced at least three albums (of which I have them all). Her latest, "Standing Ovation", is her best. I never tire of watching the video of her first appearance on BGT.

But one I love even more was the first appearance of Charlotte (Jaconelli) and Jonathan (Antoine), who first appeared in March of last year; she was 16 and he was 17. The combination of her pop voice and his magnificent opera voice blew away the audience, and they have since recorded an album titled "Together." I have ordered it, but already have it on my Amazon Cloud account (whatever that is) and have played it over and over . . .and over . . . again. It's that good.

These young people are truly remarkable.

The sad part is that even though he has a voice that many says rivals Pavarotti, he was bullied at his school because of his size and suffered a breakdown. "Together" reached No. 6 (or maybe it was No. 5) on the classical charts in Great Britain.

If you've never seen the video of their first appearance on BGT, just Google Charlotte and Jonathan and you will be in for a wonderful surprise.

I can't count the number of times I've watched it.

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As most of you probably know, popular middle school teacher Diane Smith, 42, lost her battle with leukemia and died recently at OHSU in Portland where she had been on a ventilator and in an induced coma. Diane had been home for a while when she developed a fever, which required that she be life-flighted to Portland.

I had written something about her after seeing her in the grocery store, and received a nice thank-you email from her. It was a short time later that she developed the fever that indicated an infection or a rejection of the bone marrow transplant, which she had received during a prolonged stay in Arizona.

Bandon also lost a long-time resident, Bob Propeck, two weeks ago. Bob lived behind the Western World office and for years he would wave and flash a big smile as he walked past the office headed to the post office to get his mail. He also worked for many years making cheese at Coquille Valley Dairy Co-op, and I know that he, like the rest of us, were eagerly waiting for the new factory to open. I'm just sorry he didn't live to see that happen. His daughter, Gayle Nix, is one of my favorite people.

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Just when you thought you'd heard of everything . . . a 36-year-old man is swept away when a giant sinkhole opens up under his bedroom in Brandon, Florida, and his bed sinks into the hole. His younger brother, who heard his screams, jumped into the hole in an attempt to save him, and was himself rescued by first responders who arrived on the scene when their mother dialed 9-1-1.

I don't believe they have found his body.

previous columns by mary schamehorn