As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 25, 2011

Talk about a gourmet weekend … both food and entertainment, this was it. Friday night I was invited to the “soft” opening of Al Greenfield’s new restaurant, Edgewaters, along with a host of others in the community. All of his new employees were there that night to greet the guests, talk about the food and wait on people.

One of the best known cooks in town, Sharon Haga, the long-time chief cook for the school district, was in the kitchen that night. I understand she has no plans to leave the school … but rather to take on added responsibilities. Knowing her, she’s up to it.

Several of us at our table had the well-aged steaks that the restaurant will feature, along with seafood. The hostess said the steaks were aged 20-plus days … and they were fantastic. They brag that you can cut them with a fork, and that is true.

Edgewaters is a dining treat you won’t want to miss.

And that was just the first part of the weekend.

Saturday night I joined a large group of locals who attended the Annual Gala Dinner at the Community Center, sponsored by the Bandon Showcase, and catered by Chef Tara Shaw of Coastal Mist. Tara and her staff treated the appreciative guests to a fantastic dinner. We started out with mesclun greens with apricot ginger vinaigrette, toasted almond quinoa and Chevre cheese served with assorted artisan breads. The main course was a chicken breast stuffed with Boursin cheese and served with rosemary roasted red potatoes and perfectly prepared vegetables.

But you all know what Coastal Mist is best known for and that is their wonderful desserts. We each had a trio of desserts, which included a dark Belgian chocolate mignonette, lemon Panna Cotta Verrine and a passion fruit strawberry opera torte. I don’t usually eat dessert, but there was no way that I was going to pass up this gourmet treat. Coastal Mist just moved into a much more spacious shop next to Second Street Gallery in Old Town; if you want a real treat, stop in and see what they have to offer.

I heard nothing but rave reviews for the dinner – and the wonderful concert that followed. This was the second appearance for Franc D’Ambrosio, who is best known for playing the title role in The Phantom of the Opera for over a decade. Among his other credits is Godfather III, in which he sang the theme song “Speak Softly Love.”

He received a number of standing ovations as the Sprague Theater audience just didn’t want the program to end.

The people behind the Bandon Showcase deserve a huge debt of gratitude for the wonderful shows that they have been bringing to Bandon for the past nine years.

And next season they will welcome the world’s most beloved choir – the Vienna Boys Choir ‑ on Oct. 24. Other concerts scheduled for the new season are Deadwood Revival (Jan. 6), IL Voce, Feb. 11, and the Harry James Orchestra on May 21, 2012.

Ed Backholm, who has served as Showcase president for the past three years, and his wife, Peggy, who has been responsible for searching out the talent that they bring to Bandon, were honored by the Showcase during the dinner.

It’s no wonder we’re the envy of much larger communities.

*           *           *

I just heard a chilling discussion on Anderson Cooper’s CNN program concerning the potential danger from prolonged use of cell phones. Even the companies who say cell phone use isn’t dangerous recommend that the phone be kept at least one-half inch away from your head (or any part of your body for that matter, which pertains to men who carry them on their belt). How many, if any, of us do that?

The real danger, as pointed out by a noted physician, is the long-term use of cell phones, which have only become popular in the last 15 years. They pointed out that in 1996, there were 34 million cell phones; today there are 300 million. It’s the young people, who seem to have them attached to their faces every waking hour (except when they are in school), that doctors are particularly worried about. One European health agency said cell phone use could be more deadly (because of the risk of brain tumors) than smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline.

It’s a scary thought.

*           *           *

The Governing magazine web site recently had an interesting article titled “Do smokers have privacy rights?” An Arizona county will begin testing its employees and offering health insurance discounts to nonsmokers. But is it right to fine and penalize those who smoke is the question asked by the writer of the article.

Some felt it was a “slippery slope” to test saliva for nicotine, which “could open the door to all other sorts of discrimination.”

A number of comments followed the article, and most seemed to think that smokers were being penalized because they would have to pay the higher premium, while non-smokers would be given a discount on their rates. I actually did something I never do: I posted a comment.

Here’s what I had to say: “I see this not as much as punitive to the smoker, but as a reward to the non-smoker. Originally they were all paying the same premium; the smoker’s premium did not increase. The non-smoker’s premium simply decreased. It makes sense to me.”

I haven’t looked to see if anyone took issue with my comment. Personally I think it’s an interesting concept.

*           *           *

Former long-time mayor Ray Kelley who, along with Dan Almich, played a significant role in building Bandon’s beautiful Sprague Theater, called me this week with an idea. He, like a number of other senior citizens, no longer drives or, as he points out, some of them who are still driving, shouldn’t be.

He is wondering if a local service club would like to take on a project to develop a “share a ride” program for seniors who can no longer drive.

People hate to give up their independence, and sometimes the local bus system just doesn’t work for them.

At any rate, I told him I’d throw out the idea to see if people thought it might make a good service project.

*           *           *

One of Bandon’s best known sports figures, John Conrad, was honored recently when the University of Oregon officially introduced the “John Conrad Press Box,” which was named after him. John graduated from Bandon High School in the early-‘60s and was a star athlete. He went on to play baseball at the University of Oregon and joined The Register-Guard in 1969. He was promoted to sports editor in 1984, a position he held until he died in 2002 of a stroke at the age of 57. Only months before he died, he’d been sitting on my porch reminiscing about old times when he’d come to Bandon to cover a tournament at Bandon Dunes.

He meant a lot to me because I handled the sports for Western World during the years that John was in high school, and he was one of my ace reporters. He wrote a lot of our sports stories and it paved the way for an illustrious career in the business.

There was a half page article about the dedication honoring Conrad in the May 15 Register-Guard. They forgot to mention Bandon where he was born and raised, but for sure we who knew him will never forget him.

He was a special guy.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 18, 2011

As we anxiously await the opening (and reopening) of at least three restaurants in Bandon, as well as several new businesses, my thoughts turn to Myrtle Point, where I work as the editor of the local newspaper.

Last month, the community learned that Henry A. Schroeder & Sons Furniture, which the Schroeder family had operated since 1915, was closing in Myrtle Point. The owner, Dave Winningham (a Schroeder son-in-law) not only owns the location where the furniture store is, but he also owns several other stores in downtown Myrtle Point, one of which is leased to the post office. Fortunately he had only recently sold off the carpet part of the business, which will continue to operate across from the furniture location, which is expected to be empty soon.

Nothing hurts a small town more than having its anchor store close. I talked with a Schroeder son recently at Nikki Whitty’s funeral and he said that his family didn’t start the furniture business; they purchased an already existing business, which means that it’s been there even longer. He had nothing to do with the closure and he’s sick about it.

But the news got worse.

Even before the news hit the street, several people had found a flier on the Internet advertising for sale a “former grocery store” along the highway in Myrtle Point. It was the Safeway store, which apparently has lost its lease, effective Aug. 31. The owner wants $750,000 for the building, and with the price of commercial real estate in today’s market, she will be lucky to get half that amount …. if it sells at all.

I talked with a PR person for Safeway who said they are trying to renegotiate the lease, but considering that the fliers have been sent all over the country, it doesn’t seem likely that that will occur.

I’m not sure where the owner, Judith Kaplan, lives; someone said she was from Bandon, but according to the courthouse records, she is from the Walnut Creek, Calif., area.

At any rate, if both those long-time businesses pull out of Myrtle Point, it will be a sad day.

As we see this happening more and more, including in our area, it’s a good time to urge people to shop locally whenever they can.

We know Wal-Mart and the other “big box” stores will never close, but what would a community be without our small businesses. Many of them are barely hanging on and could definitely use the support of people in town.

*           *           *

I always wondered why we talked about the war so much in Mr. Gabriel’s civics (?) class back in the mid-‘50s. It’s been over 50 years so you can probably understand why I am not sure what his class was called back then. At any rate he often talked about his experiences in the war, but I didn’t know he was a prisoner of war, or if I did, I didn’t understand what that meant. I do remember him mentioning a “latrine,” and stupidly raising my hand to ask what that word meant. From the laughter it appeared that everyone in the room (and probably the world) knew what it meant … except me.

I recently received an email from Mr. Gabriel (Dr. Lloyd M. Gabriel, Commander, Dept. of Washington and Tri-Cities Chapter, American Ex-POWs). He is in his 80s and lives in Selah, Wash., and I became connected with him several years ago through our mutual friend, the late Airlee Owens, who was a year behind me in school.

Mr. Gabriel alerts people to the book, “Masters of the Air,” by Donald L. Miller. He goes on to say: “The air war in the overall European Campaign cost the Army Air Corps more casualties than all the branches of service lost in the Pacific Theater. This publication gives the best overall overview of the air war in Europe in terms of strategy, losses and prisoners of war. What happened to POWs and their experiences is well done,” said Mr. Gabriel.

The Tri-Cities chapter had four members who were prisoners of war, including Dr. Gabriel who was in Luft VI. “They were moved from Luft VI to Luft IV in a rather dramatic fashion. This move is described in the book beginning at the bottom of page 400.” Mr. Gabriel was also on the infamous Luft IV Black march, which is described in detail.

He adds: “This book is well written and gives the most comprehensive description of the air war in Europe. For WW II history buffs this is a ‘must’ read.”

I don’t usually read war books, but I think I will try to obtain this one to find out more about one of my all-time favorite teachers.

*           *           *

During the May City Council, I proclaimed the week of June 25 through July 2 as Bandon’s Season Opener Week to coincide with the Pub Links 2011 Championship, a prestigious PGA tournament, which is being hosted by Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

This is the first time both the men’s and women’s championships have been held jointly at the same resort, and it’s quite an honor. There will be 156 players participating in each event, so it is sure to bring a lot of people – and hopefully the Golf Channel – to Bandon.

*           *           *

Ever since Bandon High School started having an all-school reunion every five years, classmates have been getting together on Facebook and planning other reunions. The BHS Class of 1966 is having its 45th reunion in Vernonia on Saturday, July 23, at the home of Bud and Sharla Dow. Bud is Shorty and Charlotte’s son. And it’s not only for their class, but family, friends and other BHS classes are also invited.

Anyone who is planning to attend is asked to contact Bud Dow (, Skip Longanecker (harlou2000@gmailcom) or Sharon Ward Moy (

Or you can go to Facebook and search for Bandon High’s own alumni FB page. In the right-hand column, you can click on events and sign up so they will know you plan to attend.

If you’re reading my column and you are a graduate of Bandon High, please pass this on to others. It sounds like great fun … even if it isn’t in Bandon.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 11, 2011

Feeding the birds has gotten more difficult by the day. I opened the blinds onto my back deck the other morning just in time to see a neighbor’s cat leaning against one of the bird feeders with a bird in his mouth. I screamed; the cat ran off and the bird flew away. But I was extremely upset. That afternoon the white feline returned, and this time I was ready – or at least I thought I was. I had put the hose out where I could grab it easily and as soon as I saw him scaling over the eight-foot fence, I grabbed the hose. But by this time he’d run under my deck and as I furiously sprayed under there (to no avail) I realized he’d outsmarted me again. Then I noticed (or rather felt) blood running down my hand. I’d put a pretty good gash in my hand when I grabbed the hose; now I was fuming. With a paper towel wrapped around my hand I called my neighbor that I thought owned the cat. She wasn’t home, but I left her a detailed message and suggested that, at the very least, she might put a collar and a little bell on her cat to alert the birds that he was coming.

That night I got a call from my neighbor. She said it was her cat and even though he stays in all night, she lets him out in the morning and apparently he heads straight for my yard. She said the bell was a good idea and she would put it on.

The next day I noticed the birds flying off before I even saw the cat, but as his head approached the top of the fence, I noticed his bright shiny bell. I can’t say I am happy to have become a feeding and pooping ground for the neighborhood cats (another one awoke me at 2:30 in the morning by knocking something over), but for the time being my birds are safe.

However, in the last few days I have noticed a rat climbing around in the flowering cherry where one of my feeders is located.

Ah, I thought, there’s something the cat can catch.

Then I remembered the bell ….

*           *           *

Coastal Mist, the premier chocolate shop in the area, has moved from its tiny shop across from the visitor center in Old Town to a spacious new location adjacent to the Second Street Gallery.

As many of you know, the cost of the rent was so high that Richard Rahmlow scaled down his gallery into a smaller portion of the building, and Kevin and Tara Shaw have moved their Coastal Mist shop into the other part of the building.

It looks like a great location and should give Kevin and Tara a lot more exposure.

I understand Linda Cummins, owner of Abba Farms, may be moving into the shop that the Shaws vacated, which is owned by Louise and Bill Moore, but I’m not sure about that.

Another new shop is Patina, which Lani Reynolds (best known locally for her beautiful costume work in My Fair Lady) is opening soon on the Pedway in the Continuum Building. She’s a fabulous seamstress and I can’t wait to see her handiwork. I’ve not heard for sure when Nan and Charlie plan to reopen Thai Thai, but I understand there were problems with the roof which required some extensive work in the kitchen area. I absolutely love their food and can’t wait for them to be open for business.

*           *           *

The celebration of life for Nikki Whitty, the long-time county commissioner who died recently of colon cancer, was a fitting tribute to a woman who gave so much of her time and talents to make Coos County a better place to live.

The tribute by her son, Noah Hall, was particularly touching. David Walker, a former Bandon Rotarian who lives in Eugene where he is one of the anchors at KVAL News, was the master of ceremonies and did a great job. The program was broken into several parts: early years, transition to Salem, and South Coast and Coquille. South Coast residents paying tribute to Nikki were Shirley Liberante, Bruce Parker and John Griffith (with whom she served as county commissioner).

For those of you who may not have been able to attend the service but would like to share a memory, friends are gathering stories and pictures to create a scrapbook for Nikki’s family. Stories and photos can be submitted to: “Celebrate Nikki Scrapbook, c/o Coos County Courthouse, 250 Baxter, Coquille, OR 97466.”

They are seeking stories as to how she may have inspired you, helped your organization, made you laugh, or impacted your community.

*           *           *

The fatal accident that took the life of a long-time Bandon man, Ace Eakley, last Monday could have been a lot worse. Apparently Mr. Eakley suffered a heart attack as he was heading along Highway 101 just past the Chicago Street arch. His car came over the sidewalk, just missing Fred Carleton’s pickup, careened through the parking lot at a high speed and crashed into the end of the building, owned by Carleton, which houses a beauty shop and tanning beds.

Billie Thomas was just leaving the adjacent AT&T shop, and was in the parking lot preparing to get into her vehicle, when she witnessed the accident. First she heard a crash, which another said apparently was the vehicle hitting the back of a semi before it went over the sidewalk. Fortunately no one was in the tanning bed, which was in the small room that got the biggest brunt of the damage. There were four or five women in the shop, and had it struck the building a few feet further to the east, it could have been even more tragic. That is also a well traveled section of sidewalk for pedestrians coming and going from Old Town and it is extremely fortunate that no one was on the sidewalk when the accident occurred.

It’s sad that anyone died, but it definitely could have been a lot worse.

*           *           *

People are reminded that the Southern Coos Hospital and Health Center is holding its open house and health fair this Sunday from noon to 3.

This is a great opportunity for people to see the new heart monitoring system, new TVs in patient rooms, learn about orthopedic surgery, the pain clinic, Coumadin clinic and other services now available in Bandon. There will also be some free health screenings offered.

Bandon Kiwanis members will lead tours of the hospital and you can meet staff from each department. Emergency Airlift will be flying in and people can tour the life-flight helicopter, plus a Bay Cities ambulance and they are hoping that the MRI van will also be available.

A silent auction, organized by the Kiwanis Club, will raise funds to help buy computer radiography digital technology for the hospital’s mammography machine. This is an important project and the Foundation hopes to raise $89,000 by August.

*           *           *

I’m not sure I’d ever feel safe about having my mail come to a rural mail box, although I know that’s the way many people get their mail. Even though we have home delivery available at our new house, I would just as soon go to the post office, thanks. There was an item in last week’s sheriff’s office log about the theft of a $5,800 IRS check from a mail box at a Highway 101, Bandon, address. The victim had no idea who stole the check, but did contact the IRS. The investigating officer wrote: “Nothing further by this Sergeant unless leads develop.”

I hope that when someone tries to cash that check, identification will be required.

Speaking of ID, I know that credit card companies are really tightening up on allowing people to use their own credit card – even with plenty of spending authority on the card. A friend traveled recently to California, and as he was en route home, the credit card company refused to honor his credit card at a gas station without a lengthy (30 minute) hassle trying to convince them that he was really who he said he was.

And the same thing happened again to the same person in another state. And this time it was a company, rather than a personal, credit card.

I think the credit card companies are going too far in trying to “protect” their customers. It’s the credit card companies we need to be protected from.

Can you imagine the humiliation of having your credit card refused when you know your bill is paid and you have plenty of money left on the card?

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 04, 2011

The May-June issue of Via, the AAA magazine, features four Northwest areas, including Bandon. The title of the article is “Bandon’s fair way,” and it’s not hard to guess what the thrust of the article is. But aside from touting our world-class golf courses and dramatic beaches, the article also highlights our “delectable dining.” The four photos feature the fifth hole at Bandon Dunes, a rock formation on the beach, Robert Roszkowski (Tony’s brother) at Tony’s Crab Shack holding up a couple of large crabs, and a picture of the arches on Chicago Avenue.

It’s always interesting to see what AAA recommends. And, in this case, under “to do”, it’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Prowler Charters, Second Street Gallery and Vincent Family Cranberries.

For “eats” they recommend Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant, Coastal Mist, The Loft Restaurant and Bar, and Tony’s Crab Shack & Seafood Grill.

For “sleeps” they recommend Best Western Inn at Face Rock and Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast.

The directors and officers of AAA Oregon include several with ties to Bandon. Long-time chairman A. W. “Bill” Sweet of North Bend has many relatives in the area, including his sister, Anne Felsheim of Bandon. Board member Randolph “Randy” Miller of Portland is a former state legislator and the brother of Dave Miller.

*           *           *

In the aftermath of the tragedy that struck Japan, more people have been expressing an interest in becoming prepared for the “Big One” that is predicted to hit the Cascadia Subduction Zone, off our coastline. A good crowd attended a meeting several weeks ago at City Hall to learn more about the “Map Your Neighborhood” project, which teaches neighbors how to help each other in a time of crisis.

Our neighborhood, under the tutelage of Bill and Joan Russell, held such a meeting recently and there was a pretty good cross-section of our neighborhood there. We did a “neighborhood skills and equipment inventory,” and noted which neighbors had chainsaws, generators, ladders, tents, NOAA weather radios, crow bars, strong rope, etc., and wrote it down in handouts that came from Oregon Emergency Management and were distributed by City Hall. We’re lucky to have John and Joan Harding living in our neighborhood; they are well equipped.

In a recent column I advised people to go to the website and put in their address to see if they were in the tsunami zone, or to go to City Hall and ask to see the big inundation map. Apparently someone misunderstood and thought that City Hall had maps available to hand out; they don’t, but people are certainly encouraged to look at the maps and see if they are in the inundation zone.

It can make a big difference in your planning efforts.

*           *           *

A friend of mine (Bonnie) had a very unsettling experience last week. The scam was similar to ones that we’ve been hearing about, but it was made a bit more believable by the fact that the scammer also used Facebook to communicate with her.

She received an email from her “friend” saying that she was writing this with tears in her eyes. “It has left my fam and I in a devastating state. This might get to you too urgent but it’s because of the situation of things right now. I’m stuck in Scotland United Kingdom with my family right now, we came on a short vacation, we got mugged at Gun point. All cash, credit cards including our cell phone were stolen off us, but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

“We’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in a few hours from now but having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills.”

This was followed by a Facebook communication (through their chat window) addressing my friend by name.

My friend says: “what’s going on dear friend .. email from you … was it really from you.”

She (or he) answered, “Yes, Bonnie.”

My friend was beginning to get suspicious, so she said: “tell me something only you and Karl knows.”

The answer was: “We have been finding it difficult to make internation calls.”

My friend adds: “A hobby we have? Thought someone might have hacked your Internet.”

“No Bonnie. We really need your urgent help so we can get back home.”

My friend again asks: “so again, what was the hobby we all did together.”

The scammer replies: “Karl is injyured on his right arm and I have bruises all over my neck.”

“So if you are really Karol, I need conformation.”

The reply: “Bonnie are you tormenting me.”

My friend responds: “I do not believe this is Karol.”

The reply: “If you were in my shoes you I wion’t ask you all these ….”

My friend says: “I am going to sign off now unless you can tell me what hobby we did together for so many years. That’s all.”

The response: “I need a quick loan from you so we can settle the hotel bills and get back home. Bonnie you really need to use these as a life saving for us. Please Bonnie, we will refund it back to you once we get back home. All we need is $1,420 to have the bills settled. You can have it wired to my name and present location via Western Union, I will show my passport as proof of ID before I can have the cash picked up here.”

My friend told me that at that point she signed off. “Sick is how I felt.”

My friend admits that after re-reading this, she should have realized that the person was clearly not American and his spelling was awful (I pretty much left it as it was sent to her).

This scam has been around quite a bit in recent months, but this is the first I’ve heard of the Facebook interaction.

No matter what the plea, people should never wire money to anyone until they are absolutely sure it’s the person they think they’re dealing with.

And even then, the best advice is: don’t send money or give out any personal information unless you have initiated the call.

Now I know why I’m not on Facebook.

*           *           *

You’ve heard the old saying: “Even the best of plans sometimes go astray.”

The City hosted the annual Arbor Day Celebration Saturday in City Park, and they’d advertised that they would be giving away 100 Frisbees to people who wanted to practice “Frisbee golf” on the new “course” in City Park.

Things were going great until Donny Goddard, a member of the city’s parks and recreation committee, opened one of the boxes of Frisbees. You can imagine his surprise when he discovered that instead of the City’s logo and info about the Frisbee golf course, they were advertising a Pentecostal Church. Clearly the boxes had gotten mixed up, and I’m sure the Pentecostal Church people, wherever they were, were just as shocked to see the City of Bandon’s information on their Frisbees.

But, outside of that, the Frisbee course drew a lot of interest.

I got to throw out the first Frisbee, and I can tell you for sure, I’ll be sticking to “regular” golf.

previous columns by mary schamehorn