As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 26, 2010

I’m not sure who was the most surprised to read a letter in the public forum section of the World Saturday from a Sunnyvale, Calif., man – the port or city officials.

Gary Faules, who graduated from Bandon High School and later authored a book about growing up in Bandon, was way off base in his history lesson.

His letter, titled “Bandon should be more like Carmel,” infers that it was the city that has made the changes that he decries: like tearing down the old VFW Hall on Fillmore (which he referred to as the Oriental Hall). He says Bandon needs to stop taking historical sites for granted and start saving them. What he fails to address is the fact that the Bandon Fire of 1936 destroyed most of the historic sites.

In his letter, he goes on to take his “hat off to the outstanding efforts of the Port of Bandon for all that they have been doing,” adding “Bandon officials (that’s the city) should respect more of Bandon’s history and find ways to save it like the Port of Bandon has been doing.”

In fact, it was the Port of Bandon who tore down the old VFW Hall … and the old Nestle Condensery ( Moore Mill Truck Shop) building … not the city (not that we would disagree with those decisions). And the city certainly had nothing to do with tearing down the cheese factory building or the old Coast Lumber Yard building. These were privately owned buildings.

But it was the City of Bandon who purchased the old city hall/library/fire hall building and later donated it to the Bandon Historical Society for its museum.

It is the city who installed the historic building plaque at the site of the old Gallier Hotel and spent a lot of Urban Renewal money for the archaeological mitigation on the First Street sidewalk and utility undergrounding project, which not only involves the Indian resources, but also pre- and post-fire City of Bandon historical artifacts.

It appears that Gary would be happier in Texas, where they are in the process of re-writing history.

*           *           *

As everyone knows by now, the police levy failed by an even greater margin than the first time. As mayor, I want to thank the people who did vote in favor of the levy and say that I totally understand the hardships that many people are enduring because of the downturn in the economy.

I seriously doubt that most people voted no because they had lost faith in their elected officials, as has been inferred, but rather they truly felt they could not afford to indebt themselves further in this economy.

There will be cuts made, and not everyone will be happy with what we have to do. It may be that we end up with one less officer than we have now. But that’s a decision that still has to be made.

I continue to be amazed by the number of people across the state that simply choose not to vote. Maybe it’s too easy. The ballot comes to your house two or three weeks before Election Day and a lot of people simply toss it aside planning to vote “later.” I’m sure some ballots get lost or people simply forget to vote. I personally prefer going to the polls, but I seem to be in the minority on that one, but I don’t recall ever having forgotten to vote.

Again thanks to the people who supported the police levy, and who continue to work with and support the efforts of the city council and our staff. We’re a pretty dedicated group of people … regardless of what you may have heard from people who want you to believe otherwise.

*           *           *

Scammers are trying harder and harder to take our money … or at least to disrupt and corrupt our computers.

There have been several incidents in the past week that people should be aware of. Victoria Tierney and others got a message from Paula Smith titled “Urgent help is needed!!!” She said she was writing this with tears in her eyes as she and her family had come down to Wales, United Kingdom, for a short vacation, and were mugged at the park of the hotel where they stayed, losing all their cash, credit cards and cell phones. She said they had been to the embassy and the police were not helpful, pointing out that their plane was leaving in less than eight hours but they were having trouble settling the hotel bills. And the hotel manager wouldn’t let them leave until they settled their bills. (That’s when it started getting a little outlandish). It was signed Paul…

Victoria sent me an e-mail saying that Paula is in their Girls Night Out group in Bandon, and she remembered that my sisters had run into a similar problem abroad (not really, but frightening, nonetheless) and wondered if I could e-mail Paula with suggestions as to what she might do.

I mentioned the e-mail at the chamber mixer that night and Lynn Giovannetti immediately remembered that she had also gotten a similar e-mail from someone else, which proved to be a scam.

Well, that’s exactly what this was. Someone had gotten into Paula’s e-mail and sent out that bogus e-mail about her being in distress. “She is home and fine. Amazing how vulnerable our cyberspace life is,” said Cleone Lyvonne Reed, a friend who alerted others that it was a scam.

The next day I got an e-mail from an address that I had seen before: which contained nothing but a web site they wanted me to open. I know I have seen that address before, but thank heavens I decided to send a separate e-mail to that address to see if they had sent me something.

They hadn’t. I still don’t know who that is, but it’s pretty obvious that hackers got into their address book and sent some kind of a virus.

It’s dangerous to open anything unless you are absolutely sure you know what it is … even if you recognize the e-mail address.

*           *           *

I read a letter in a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal that I feel hits the proverbial “nail on the head.” Again I know there are a lot of people out there that won’t agree, but the writer talks about people who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to post their hateful comments. He explains that the WSJ would not print his letter without first confirming that he was the writer. He adds: “What is wrong with the new media having the same rules of journalism as traditional media? There are sad but vicious people who should go to jail for their actions in misusing the Internet,” says the writer as he goes onto mention a few.

He sums it up by saying: “It’s time to force the cowards who wrongly use new media to be held responsible for their actions.”

And to that I say amen!!!

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 19, 2010

I saw people at the Sprague Theater Saturday night that I hadn’t seen there in a long time … or maybe ever. But I knew why they were there. They had a child, grandchild, wife or relative in Peter Pan, the grand show put on by MarLo Dance Studio over the weekend. I’d heard that this was going to top all other MarLo productions, and they were right.

I think my friend Lorna Salt said it best: Maria Merriam is truly one of Bandon’s treasures. Then she was quick to point out that we have a number of “treasures,” and she’s right, but seldom do we have someone like Maria who puts on such spectacular performances that they usually play to sold-out crowds.

Maria, of course, got her start in dance from her mother, Alice Stadelman, who still helps out with the productions as do other members of her family, including dad, Francis.

MarLo Dance Studio was co-founded by Maria and Lois Henry in the fall of 1999 with 48 students training in tap and ballet. Since then they’ve tripled their annual enrollment and expanded the professional staff to include training specialties in jazz, lyrical, hip hop, fitness and ballroom.

The thing that touches my heart most about her productions is the little tykes, some as young as four (and maybe even younger) who are so eager to perform.

I’m already looking forward to their next production, The Nutcracker, scheduled for Dec. 17-19.

*           *           *

Bandon residents are reminded of a very important meeting that is coming up Tuesday night, May 25, at 6:30 p.m. at The Barn in City Park. This is one meeting you won’t want to miss.

A group, known as Safe BETT (Bandon – Earthquake/Tsunami Trained), is urging people to attend this meeting, and in a widely circulated flier reminds people that “a devastating 9.0 Cascadia Subduction earthquake and tsunami will likely happen in your lifetime. You will have 5-10 minutes to escape the catastrophic tsunami wave in low lying areas.”

I attended the first community forum put on by DOGAMI (Department of Geology and Mineral Industries) and it was a real eye-opener. If you didn’t attend that workshop, or even if you did, you should plan to come to the Barn May 25 and learn more about how to prepare for such a devastating natural disaster.

Charli Davis, who works as a planner for the city, says the disaster is “survivable,” but people need to know what to do to prepare themselves and they need to know if they are in the inundation zone.

Put this meeting on your calendars.

*           *           *

I think I might have warned about this some months ago, but if I didn’t, I should have. It seems that more than 200,000 small nonprofit organizations across the United States may have lost their tax-exempt status because they failed to fill out a new form with the Internal Revenue Service. I believe the deadline was Monday, May 17, so if some of our nonprofits forgot, they may not realize it until Jan. 1 when they will be notified that they have to pay taxes on donations they thought were exempt. It is true that they can restore their tax-exempt status, but it could take months.

Congress required the form, called a 990-N, when it amended the tax code three years ago, and groups with a fiscal year ending Dec. 31 had until Monday to meet the deadline.

Since the revocations won’t go public until January, donors who give to the organizations that lose their nonprofit status will still be able to claim their tax deduction … at least this year.

Several small nonprofits are quoted as saying they never heard of the Form 990-N. I hope that local nonprofits aren’t among those groups.

*           *           *

I was surprised to see a small photo of my friend Joanne Drapkin and her boyfriend on the front page of Sunday’s Register-Guard. Reading the article I learned that they met two years ago through matchmaker Marilyn Lowe of Eugene, who is a former resident of Bandon, having lived on the South Jetty with her young family some years ago.

The article points out that Joanne and Ron have recently returned from a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. She credits Marilyn Lowe with making the relationship possible.

It was an interesting read.

*           *           *

I try pretty hard not to break the law, but I learned late Saturday night that I’d been driving my little BMW for two weeks . . . with a vehicle registration which expired in January. How could that happen you might ask?

Well, my little car has had several mechanical problems in the last year, and since October (with the exception of being operable one day) it has sat in my garage for seven months. Now, some $1,300 later, it’s back on the road again. Apparently the renewal notice came back in November and for some reason, which I can’t explain except that the car wasn’t operable, I put it in a drawer and forgot about it. But late Saturday night after having been driving around town all day, I was going through the drawer and found the notice. I ran out to the garage … and sure enough the plates expired in January.

I’ll bet I won’t forget to renew my registration again.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 12, 2010

We’ve all heard about the financial problems facing Oregon PERS (Public Employees Retirement System), but what I didn’t realize, until lately, is we’re definitely not alone. In fact in a recent editorial in USA Today, the states were listed who were facing “serious concerns” about pension debt, and Oregon wasn’t one of them.

OK, so we weren’t in the “worst” list, which included 19 states, but Oregon was on the list of 15 states that “need improvement.”

Most entities, which pay PERS, weren’t forced to address it in this year’s budget. But next year will be a different story. That’s when the new, and much higher, rates kick in.

The headline of USA’s editorial is “Ugly truth about state pensions begin to emerge.”

It points out that while most people know the federal government has a serious debt problem, less well known is that certain states and localities are even worse off.

“Or at least their problems are coming to a head sooner, as they have fewer options for kicking the proverbial can down the road. States can’t print money, and they have limits on borrowing.

“Much of their shortfall, moreover, is the result of pension obligations that are binding contracts, not just political promises.

“The looming shortfalls were hidden in recent years through a combination of outright deceit and overly rosy projections for annual investment returns. But the truth is now emerging.”

This will have a very negative impact on taxing districts across the state, including the City of Bandon and the Bandon School District, which will be required to pay much higher PERS rates … even at the expense of police, fire, classroom teachers, etc.

Stay tuned. You will definitely be hearing more about the PERS problem in months to come.

*           *           *

The sports department of the Register-Guard is hoping to raise enough money to honor their late sports editor, John Conrad, who died suddenly seven years ago of a stroke, by naming the press box at the new University of Oregon baseball field in his honor.

John, who was a close friend of mine, was 57 years old. In fact, it had only been a few weeks before his death that he and I were sitting on my front porch talking about the “good ole’ days at Bandon High.” He had come to Bandon to cover a golf tournament at Bandon Dunes, and he seemed to be the picture of health.

John was a star pitcher at Bandon High School who later went on to letter for the Ducks in the 1960s.

He had worked at the Eugene newspaper for 33 years as a sports reporter and then sports editor, covering every major beat during his long journalism career.

He began writing sports for me at Western World when he was still in high school, and went on to excel in the field (both literally and figuratively).

When John died, folks at the newspaper tried to think of a way to honor him with some kind of lasting memorial, but nothing seemed to be the right fit … until the university built its new baseball facility, PK Park.

The owners of the R-G have pledged $15,000 as a challenge grant to help finance construction of the press box, and they are hoping that John’s friends (including the many still in Bandon who went to school with him) will help raise the $15,000 the sports department needs to match the owners’ pledge.

Anyone wishing to donate could send a check to The Register-Guard, P. O. Box 10188, Eugene 97440-2188, made out to “Oregon Athletics” with a notation to “support the John Conrad Press Box.”

*           *           *

I always believed, mistakenly, that it was safe to grill meats on the outdoor barbecue … if you used propane rather than charcoal briquettes. Now I’ve learned that isn’t true. It has to do with the charbroiling of food . . . to a burned state … that releases dangerous carcinogens. For safer grilling, it is recommended that food be marinated first to reduce the surface temperature during cooking. Turning meat frequently also keeps surface temperature lower but allows the interior to cook thoroughly.

Defrosting or precooking the meat in the microwave reduces the amount of the potentially cancer-causing chemicals formed on the grill.

So many families are “big into grilling” and should pay heed to these safer methods of barbecuing their favorite meats.

*           *           *

The California legislature attempted to ban smoking at state parks and beaches … but Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure, calling it “an improper intrusion of government into people’s lives.”

Schwarzenegger, whose cigar habit led him to build a smoking tent at the state Capitol, said the proposed legislation, which would have been the most far-reaching tobacco legislation in the nation, went too far – even though people would have still been allowed to light up in parking lots and campgrounds.

He said such rules should be left up to cities, counties and local park officials.

There’s no doubt that a law like that is very hard to enforce (kind of like the ban on talking on a cell phone while driving), but it would have at least sent a message.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 05, 2010

Hundreds of people packed into the Harbortown Center Sunday afternoon to pay their respects and show their love for Brandy Gail Hindman, who died April 22 at the age of 29 after a valiant battle with breast cancer.

Tears flowed freely as people hugged each other with raw emotion as they remembered the beautiful young woman who had been loved by so many people. Joining the hundreds of family members and friends at the Celebration of Life were her co-workers at Sterling Savings Bank, who had so many fond memories of Brandy. The young woman, who was known for her beautiful smile and warm personality, leaves her husband, Kenneth, and two young daughters, as well as her mother, Garnet Reiner; father, Lyle Madaris; and her sister, Krista Llewellyn.

*           *           *

The smoke detectors in our house have new batteries … even though they didn’t need them. Most of you have heard the extremely annoying “beep” when the batteries in your detectors are starting to fade. It started early in the day and my boyfriend had taken down the detector over the master bedroom door and had already installed a new 9 volt battery. But still the beeping continued. When I got home I told him there were actually two smoke detectors so we were sure we’d finally found it. He took it down and removed the battery, but the irritating sound continued. Thinking that it may have had a backup battery in it, he put a pillow over the top of it to muffle the sound.

That night, after taking both detectors out into the garage, I finally figured it out: it wasn’t the smoke detectors. Being new to the house, I started under the sink with the water filter, continued on to the washer/dryer combo, looked in every cabinet, and even climbed up to look at the tops of the cabinets thinking there might be another smoke detector that we didn’t know about. Nothing!!!

Shortly before midnight, by now absolutely determined I would find it, a light finally came on in my brain. Comspan had installed a large battery backup unit in our dining room the previous day, and sure enough, that is where the sound was coming from. I promptly unplugged it, but that didn’t help because it was a battery backup, and it still had plenty of “power” to beep every 15 or 20 minutes.

With the bedroom door closed and the music playing, I was able to sleep.

The next day, after a visit to Comspan, they sent a tech up here to reset it, and the beeping stopped.

But not until I had spent way more time than I wanted to searching for it.

It’s amazing how aggravating one little sound can be … especially when you don’t know where it’s coming from.

*           *           *

The proverbial “elephant in the room” surfaced again recently with the sentencing of former lab band director Greg Young and his wife to nearly two years in prison for embezzling more than $80,000 from the band.

The minute I heard that they had been arrested, the first thing that popped into my mind was “gambling.”

Sure enough, the prosecuting attorney said Young had spent an estimated $35,000 at The Mill Casino.

The Youngs were respected by many young people and their parents, as well as a lot of community members.

I hope this is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks he or she won’t get hooked on gambling. If it can happen to the Youngs, it can happen to anyone.

*           *           *

I happened to see Jim Burke last week at the recycling center and he told me to go to The Seattle Times web site to read his story of being stranded in Europe when the Iceland volcano halted most European air travel.

He sent his story to the Times before he arrived back in Portland … eight days after his intended time of arrival. He had gone to Italy to visit his son, who I think teaches over there.

After a seven-hour train trip to get to the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam after Delta Air Lines e-mailed him with a confirmed flight out the next day, he found that in the terminal, vacated of airline staff, the automated check-in machines wouldn’t issue him a boarding pass.

So he bedded down on the cement floors of the airport’s general departure area rather than in the much more comfortable boarding area. He had no boarding pass, so no access.

“After calling me back to the airport, you’d think that Delta would have at least one person working graveyard shift to take care of folks like me,” he told the Times.

“After I got stuck last week, when European flights were halted, I headed to France to stay with friends to avoid the excessive hotel prices. Even after spending hours in train-station ticket lines to get out, and $500 on rail tickets, it was worth it, especially after the hotel jacked up rates 25 percent after the first night,” Burke said.

Although his ordeal finally ended, he was still in the airport when he wrote to the Times, explaining that he planned to seek out a quiet and somewhat darker corner of cement floor and try to get some sleep. “This might have worked well at age 16, but at 64 somehow I don’t think I’ll need my alarm to rouse myself in the morning,” he said.

It wasn’t hard to tell, after talking to him, that he was plenty glad to be home again.

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