As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 30, 2012

It’s amazing what you can see in a single postcard. My pal Brian, who has an extensive collection of Bandon memorabilia, gave me a Bandon postcard last week, and I immediately came home and posted it on my Facebook page. Within a day or two, it had gotten more than 20 “hits” or whatever you call it in Facebook language. (Actually, I believe that is what Facebook’s initial IPO took last week.)

The first thing you notice is Moore Mill & Lumber Co. in the background, with a wigwam burner, large smokestack and lumber piled everywhere. The truck shop building is in pretty good shape … at least compared to what it looked like before it was torn down decades later.

Two of Second Street’s three grocery stores, Erdman’s and Croxall & Perry Grocery, are pictured. M&L Grocery, which occupied the space where The Minute Café’s parking lot now sits, is out of the picture. Erdman’s was located where Lloyd’s Café and bar is now, with a smaller Lloyd’s next to it. Dave’s Radio & TV now occupies the space where Croxall & Perry Grocery once sat. Ray’s Pharmacy and the Senter Agency are on the same side of the street (in spaces now owned by Lynn Davies), and the Rexall Drug Store (where Winter River Books is now) was across the street.

The back of the card reads: “A busy city on Highway 101, noted for lumbering, shipping and the raising of cranberries.”

No mention of the beach or tourism … wow, how times have changed. Thankfully we still have cranberry farms, but no lumbering or shipping.

*           *           *

I was extremely interested in an article in the Register-Guard last Tuesday. The headline read: “Coach ousted for taking boy to prom.”

My immediate reaction was: that could have been me.

For those of you who may not have read it, Melissa Bowerman, the daughter-in-law of the late great Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman (and co-founder of Nike), and her husband are volunteer coaches of the track team in Condon, a small town about 100 miles from Pendleton.

Melissa, who is 41 years, old, went to Condon High School’s prom with a boy from the track team because he felt bad about not having a date and had been struggling in English. She said she’d accompany him, but only if he promised to concentrate on his English.

With permission from the boy’s father, Melissa Bowerman escorted him to the prom.

After receiving a complaint from a chaperone, Gilliam County Sheriff Gary Bettencourt said he found no evidence that Melissa Bowerman broke any law.

But the school dismissed her as a volunteer coach, and would not let her ride the bus to the state track meet, which is something that parents (she has a son on the track team) have been allowed to do for years.

Her husband says: “The only thing we’ve done wrong is build them a new track and get uniforms and build them a powerhouse program. (The girls won its first state title Saturday.) If she doesn’t come back, I’m not coming back,” and he added that he will not only possibly resign, but may sell his family’s ranch near Fossil.

What does this have to do with me, you may ask.

When I was in my 30s, a young man from Pacific High School, Steve Storm, asked me to his prom. At the time I was a reporter for the Western World and covered sports, which is how he knew me. I believe he later went to Harvard Law School.

At any rate, I agreed to attend the prom with him, but since it was 20 miles away, I said I would meet him at the high school. We had a nice evening, although I spent most of the time talking to the shop teacher, who was a chaperone, and later began dating him.

The idea that my career could have been ruined by such an action is reprehensible. But that was then and this is now … the era of political correctness run amok.

I shared my feelings (quite a bit harsher than I am sharing with my readers here) in an email to the only person I could find an email address for in the Condon School District . . . a Dr. Jim Robinson. I asked that he share my feelings with the superintendent, who made the decision to “fire” her.

I ended my email by saying I hoped the Bowermans decide to leave Condon and go where they will be welcome, which would be most any other community in Oregon. I also mentioned the obvious: if she were having an affair with the young man, she probably would not have been going to the prom with him, with the full consent of his father and her husband.

I look forward to hearing from a Condon administrator.

*           *           *

I saw first-hand last week what happens when a hand gets between two pitbull-type dogs. While my sister and I were waiting with mother to see the ER doc last week, a young woman was also waiting (they were swamped that day). I can’t remember all the details, but it involved a fight between her dog and her father’s dog, and since her dog had the other dog by the eye, she was forced to intervene, and suffered a bad bite.

My guess is she still has the dog … as does her father.

I hope I don’t live in their neighborhood.

*           *           *

The weather wasn’t great, but the town was packed for Memorial Day weekend, and I am sure this gave the merchants something to look forward to as summer (well, maybe not summer weather, but summer on the calendar) is fast approaching.

I just hope that high gas prices don’t keep people home, or maybe Bandon will be just the right distance for them to come from southern Oregon and other parts of the valley.

It looked like that was the case Saturday and Sunday.

*           *           *

The former Myrtle Point Chamber of Commerce president and city council member (until he moved outside the city limits several months ago), Mike Lyon, made the police report this week. The incident was titled “Dog vicious.” It seems that Lyon’s dog killed one of the neighbor’s goats, which was valued at $100. Apparently Mike contacted the neighbor and told her what happened, so it didn’t appear that she was going to pursue the issue with the authorities, but I am sure she wished the Lyon family – but most of all their dog – had remained in town.

Not the way you want to be welcomed into the neighborhood.

*           *           *

Although I don’t know the details, and the names of the new owners were not familiar to me, I do know that John Hancock has sold the Boatworks building on the South Jetty for $250,000. At one time I understand he wanted more than a million dollars for the property and later was asking around $600,000.

It’s a great location for a restaurant and the building has been completely remodeled after it was heavily damaged by a fire several years ago.

It will be interesting to see what kind of restaurant goes in there. They definitely have a million dollar view.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 23, 2012

City and chamber of commerce officials received an email this week from the manager of Bandon Harbortown Center which was short and to the point: “We regretfully announce that Nancy Evans is retiring and therefore will no longer be working as the Bandon’s Harbortown Events Center’s general events manager. Please continue to call Elizabeth or Caryssa at 541-329-0112 for all your event planning needs.” It appears that Elizabeth Day and her daughter Caryssa will be handling the planning for the business.

Nancy had advised me several days earlier that she had retired from the job, which she has held, I believe, since sometime in January.

She also said that she would not be hosting the Little Farmers Market at her shop in Old Town this summer, indicating that many of her former produce sellers would be involved with the Port of Bandon’s Farmers Market in the former blue building (now green) on Port property. The market will be open both Fridays and Saturdays, beginning June 15.

I surely hope that the people who brought produce to the Little Farmers Market will continue at the new market. I almost never missed the Saturday morning event, which began in mid-July each summer.

*           *           *

I had an opportunity to do the “right thing” Sunday afternoon, but I was hesitant to do it. I saw a young man, in a hoodie and baggy pants, walking two dogs: a large pit bull and a small terrier-type dog. He had stopped on the sidewalk on the south side of 11th Street to allow the little dog to poop all over the sidewalk. I saw instantly that he had no intentions of picking it up, but after looking at the guy and his pitbull, I decided this was one “fight” I wouldn’t get into.

Over the years people have advised me to “pick my battles” (generally political) and this time I chose to look the other way.

Maybe I’ll go back and put the poop in a plastic bag and deposit it in my own garbage can.

That would probably be the right thing to do.

*           *           *

I understand there was a poll circulating on line (on this website) about the cheese factory, and of the more than 800 people who responded, I believe Brian said 88 percent are in favor of what the city is doing in working with a private developer to bring this to fruition.

Last week I talked about the city’s purchase of the property to pave the way for the cheese factory.

But there’s more.

The recently approved Urban Renewal Area One plan amendment will provide the funding necessary to undertake several projects, which will focus on redevelopment of the Woolen Mill area, centered on the former cheese factory property.

Proposed projects include purchasing the city shop site from the City so it can be redeveloped for commercial and industrial purposes and the city shop can be relocated out of the floodplain to its new 13th Street location adjacent to Bandon Supply.

Other projects would include the local share of the costs of a new eco-tourism center in the Woolen Mill area, public restrooms, a large central parking lot for autos, buses and RVs, and land acquisition and infrastructure investments to leverage private sector investment projects to create additional permanent family-wage jobs in the community.

Now that the URA has purchased the old cheese factory property, and the new cheese factory project is moving forward, private developers have contacted the City regarding the possibilities of constructing a brewery and developing other manufacturing and retail businesses on that property.

Everywhere I go people are excited about once again having a cheese factory in Bandon. And when other businesses spring up around it, it should really help the overall business community by bringing more people to town.

*           *           *

All three of the Bandon Showcase performances for 2011-12 were sold out, including Saturday night’s Harry James Orchestra, directed by Fred Radke. It was quite an event made even more special by the fact that Fred Radke learned much from Harry James himself, having worked with the legendary entertainer in the late 1960s.

Radke is a masterful trumpeter, big-band conductor, musical clinician and educator, recording artist, composer and arranger and producer.

Along with vocalist Gina Funes (his wife of 46 years), Fred Radke has captivated hordes of veteran big-band music fans as well as novice listeners throughout the Pacific Northwest, Canada and across North America, according to his bio, which appeared in the Showcase program.

In coordination with Bandon Showcase, Fred taught a musical outreach program with the Bandon High School band students on Friday. The band musicians were given a flavor of what music has meant to Fred in developing a career and livelihood in performing Big Band music.

The Bandon Showcase continues to bring quality shows to Bandon, and they’ve announced their 2012-13 schedule, which includes four concerts: Gonzalo Bergara Quartet, Oct. 12; Claire Lynch Band, Jan. 18; The Alley Cats, April 6, and Presidio Brass, May 18.

We didn’t attend the dinner theater, but from what I’ve heard Tara Shaw of Coastal Mist did her usual outstanding job of catering the wonderful dinner. If you’ve never been to an event catered by Tara and her crew, you’re missing a real treat.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 16, 2012

At a special council meeting Thursday, we approved the terms of an agreement with Face Rock Creamery, LLC to lease a portion of the land where the former Bandon Cheese Factory was located. Face Rock Creamery will use their own money and private financing to construct and operate a new cheese factory at the location. The building will be approximately 6,000 square feet in size, and it is expected that construction will be under way by the end of June.

In August 2011, the Bandon Urban Renewal Agency paid Tillamook Cheese $500,000 for the two acres of property where the cheese factory once stood. They had purchased it from Bandon Cheese in 2000. The cheese factory was closed in 2002, although Tillamook continued to operate a retail store until 2005 when it was also closed and the remaining employees terminated.

This is something that we have all been waiting for since Tillamook purchased, closed down, and then tore down our cheese factory, which was the No. 1 tourist attraction in the community.

The City is very excited about the prospect of again having a cheese factory in Bandon, and feels this project is a perfect example of the ideal public-private partnership, involving public financing of the public facilities such as the public parking lot and public restrooms, and private financing of the construction, operation and maintenance costs.

We’re also hoping that other manufacturing businesses will want to locate in the area and create jobs.

This is definitely a win-win for Bandon.

*           *           *

I was so happy for Ellen Barnes, the former city administrator of Gold Beach, when I learned that she had gotten a job at an even larger city – Molalla. We all felt it was a step up for Ellen and that she deserved this new job.

But apparently she “bit off more than she could chew.”

An article in the Oregonian recently read: “With lax oversight, mismanaged Oregon towns veer toward insolvency.” The article singles out two towns: Oakridge and Molalla.

Oakridge has made the news big time over the past year or so … after it was determined that they (principally former city manager Gordon Zimmerman) had gone through $1 million in reserves during a two-year period. When it was discovered, the city of 3,700 (not much larger than Bandon) had to lay off almost a third of the city staff …and ultimately Zimmerman resigned. And it meant that water rates increased 41 percent.

But it was what Ellen found when she took over in October that is a big part of the story.

“Five-digit expenses were omitted from the $15.9 million budget. Projected tax revenues were unreasonably inflated. City contracts went unbudgeted and unpaid, including one with Clackamas County now $68,000 in arrears. Practices trailing back years violated state budget laws.

“In January, Barnes told a shocked City Council that Molalla was racing toward a $480,000 general fund deficit.”

She turned to a forensic investigator who discovered that the city, between 2004 and 2008, had misspent $2.5 million in systems development charges – fees paid by contractors that legally can be used only to pay for roads or other development-related public improvements. Oregon law requires cities to repay misused SDCs within a year of discovery. True, they have to pay themselves back, but it’s anyone’s guess how they will be able to do that.

Barnes posed a good question: “Where were the state oversight agencies?”

Now I’m beginning to wonder why a city is required to pay thousands of dollars each year to hire an auditor to audit their books, and they don’t catch things like that.

Reading articles like this makes me even prouder to have a top-notch city manager like Matt Winkel.

(After writing this I learned that auditors pretty much only audit the figures that they are given by the city manager and finance director. They often do not detect fraud or mismanagement of money.)

*           *           *

I saw something in the police report last week which has me wondering. If this were the first time this had happened in recent months in this area, I might not be writing about it. But it’s not.

Some months ago my friend Evelyn Luce, who was on her way from Gaylord (on the Powers Highway) to work at Bandon Dunes, had a wreck. She was following a sheriff’s deputy, who suddenly spotted a speeder, or an expired plate, or some kind of violator, and immediately made a U-turn directly in front of her. She ran into him.

She told me that his first reaction was something like, “Uh oh, I have to buy you a new car.” But later, everything changed and by the time the department issued a press release, it was Evelyn’s fault. She told me she was just driving along minding her own business when the car crossed directly in front of her. She definitely does not feel it was her fault, and, if necessary, she may have to hire an attorney to fight it.

But this week I saw another similar incident. This time it was on Highway 38 near Drain. A sheriff’s deputy turned in front of the car to go after someone and the cars collided. It will be interesting to learn the outcome of this case.

Who will they say is at fault?

*           *           *

Southern Coos Hospital is holding its annual open house Sunday afternoon (May 20) from 1 to 4. If you haven’t been to the hospital lately, or even if you have, this is a perfect opportunity for you to see just what they have to offer at our small-town hospital.

The emergency airlift helicopter is scheduled to be there, along with the MRI van and Bay Cities Ambulance. Tours will be led to all hospital departments, including Medical Imaging where people can see the new digital technology for mammography; lab, respiratory, surgery, emergency and an unoccupied patient room. In the patient room, people can see the new heart monitoring system, point-of-care electronic health record system and new flat screen TVs. Free blood pressure and pulse oxygen saturation screenings will also be offered.

The director of the emergency department will talk about the care given and procedures followed when someone comes into the emergency room with symptoms of heart problems.

As I write this, my 95-year-old mother has been in the hospital for a week, and is hoping to go home tomorrow. But the prognosis is not good as she has an intestinal blockage that apparently cannot be reversed.

My sisters and I, and her caregivers, are eternally thankful that Southern Coos Hospital was (and is) here when we needed it. Someone checks in on mother regularly along with the staff of the hospital.

For several days she was in the acute care room, with 24/7 care.

The sad thing is that for the first couple of days that mom was there, there were very few patients. I spoke to several of the nurses who are just praying that all of the doctors in Bandon will send their patients to our hospital.

Their jobs … and the future of the hospital … depend on it.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 09, 2012

Bandon was absolutely swarming with people on Saturday. Not only was the weather beautiful after a long spell of too much rain, but there were two garden events going on – one at the blue (now green) building at the Port of Bandon and the other at Bandon True Value Hardware.

Both events were extremely successful and provided plenty of opportunity for people to learn everything about gardening, purchase native plants of all varieties, take part in lawnmower races and purchase home-made crafts.

I understand that the Farmers Market/craft fair in the blue building is scheduled to begin June 15, and will be open both Fridays and Saturdays each week. Nancy Evans will still be hosting her Farmers Market on Saturday mornings under the arch in Old Town, probably beginning sometime in July, so people will have plenty of opportunity to purchase wonderful produce and a host of other handcrafted items this summer.

This should be a big boost to the local businesses, who always do better when there is “something going on” in town.

*           *           *

In case you haven’t voted yet, I want people to know who I am supporting for Coos County Commissioner: Fred Messerle, John Sweet and Melissa Cribbins. I am also supporting incumbent Steve Jansen for county assessor.

*           *           *

I never knew it could be so much fun to be on Facebook. I have uploaded a ton of pictures, not only scenics, but some old pictures of my sisters and I as well as pictures of the old truck shop, the gas pumps along Highway 101 and other old photos.

People really seem to enjoy the photos.

I am not much for carrying on long drawn out conversations on Facebook, but I do love to respond to those who ask about, or comment about, some of my pictures.

It’s fun, and I can’t figure out why I didn’t do this sooner.

This last week I posted a picture of what I mistakenly believed was the old Bullards Ferry that crossed the river right near where the bridge is now. But it didn’t take long (thanks to Gary Faules and others) to learn the error of my ways. In fact Gary sent me a picture of the real ferry at Bullards. We’ve decided my picture must have been of the ferry at Riverton, but nobody seems to know for sure.

The picture that has generated the most comments is one (actually two) of our former long-time police chief, D. S. “Big Mac” MacDonald, who was loved by everyone who knew him.

A picture of Marge Boak and Margaret Gorman also generated lots of positive comments. Both were on the Bandon High School faculty for many years.

*           *           *

I received an interesting email recently from, a liberal website which was “organizing protests to amplify the message of people protesting at the Bank of America shareholders meeting in Charlotte, N.C.”

Their question was: “Can you host a protest at Bank of America in Bandon on May 9?”

Wow. I could just see the Bandon mayor leading a protest against a local bank, which is one of three in town where members of my family bank. My neighbor is a teller at Bank of America. I wonder what she would have thought had I been leading a protest against them.

I didn’t even bother to answer this stupid email as I had absolutely no intentions of leading a protest against anyone … least of all one of our local businesses.

Maybe it’s time they took me off their email list.

*           *           *

People who have lived here for any length of time will remember the era of the Forrest brothers, who moved to Bandon with their parents in the 1970s and turned the Bandon High School basketball program into a dynasty, led by 6-10 Bayard Forrest.

Bayard married Peggy Ward, and the couple moved to Arizona to attend school at Grand Canyon University. Bayard played two seasons for the Phoenix Suns before retiring in 1980. During his college years, he led Grand Canyon to the 1975 NAIA Men’s Division 1 basketball tournament where they defeated Midwestern State University 65-54 in the championship. Bayard has 16 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocked shots before being named the tournaments Most Valuable Player.

I was the scorekeeper for the Bandon High School team and we had endured a lot of losses before the Forrest family arrived on the scene. I remember a game at Reedsport, which we won handily. I ended up crying, much to the dismay of the other score keeper (Noel Aasen). He simply didn’t understand what it had been like the previous season, when I don’t believe we won a single game. But those days were now over. It was an exciting time for BHS basketball.

Bayard and Peggy, who is the daughter of the late Jack and Shirley Ward and the sister of Sharon Ward Moy, live in Phoenix, Az., during the school year where she is Dean of Women at Arizona Christian University. During the summer, they live at the family ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colo.

Peg and Bay (as he is now known) will be guest speakers at the May 20 Sunday service at Faith Baptist Church, beginning at 10:30 a.m., and they are hoping to see as many old friends as possible during their visit.

*           *           *

If you’re still hoping to get a ticket for the Bandon Showcase concert featuring the Harry James Orchestra … you may be too late. I purchased two tickets on Saturday and learned that everything was completely sold out except for the first few rows. The concert is Saturday, May 19, and judging from the demand for tickets, it is expected to be a good one.

*           *           *

Another event that is sure to sell out is the annual MarLo dance extravaganza, scheduled for this weekend (Friday, Saturday and two concerts on Sunday) at the Sprague Theater. These performances often sell out, especially on Sunday afternoon, so hopefully you’ve already purchased your tickets.

*           *           *

The Port of Bandon’s general manager Gina Dearth has sent out a letter to the local fishing community and moorage customers “to dispel any rumors or myths that may be going around about the port facilities.”

She broke it down into two parts. The first dealing with the fish cleaning tables, and the second as to whether people can clean fish caught from other rivers at those tables.

“We are asking this year for everyone to think a little differently about the fish and crab waste that is created once you return to shore. If at all possible please bag your waste and dispose of it the next time you go out by freezing or using for bait or turning it into compost for your home gardens.”

She pointed out that last season the port dealt with many tons of fish waste filling dumpsters and it was costly, and urges people to do what they can to lessen that load.

As to whether people can clean fish from other rivers, she adds: “While we wish a fish caught someplace else would be dressed and iced at the location it was landed, that is often not the case. This means that while we are handling tons of fish waste from our own river and ocean fishing, we get the additional carcasses from other rivers. We are merely asking that if at all possible, fish carcasses from other locations be handled and dealt with in the same manner as described in item No. 1.”

She said she and her husband had recently purchased a fishing cleaning table from Cabela’s for around $69.

“All of our fish comes home in the round, we clean them outside and either compost the waste or double bag it and put it in our own trash can.”

Hopefully those who use and appreciate the facilities at the Port of Bandon will heed her plea.

*           *           *

Speaking of waste …. This time dog waste. A friend recently counted 36 piles of canine feces on the eastern curbside of Beach Loop Drive between Three Wood Drive and Caryll Court.

He tried to put an ad in Coffee Break, which simply said: “Would the owner(s) of the dog (s) please remove these disgusting eyesores and pick up after their pets in future. Have some respect for the community and your neighbors who walk or jog along this route and sometimes have to move off the pavement to avoid vehicles.”

Unfortunately, whoever makes the decision about ads (up in Coos Bay) decided that it needed to be more generic before he would be allowed to run it (and, of course, pay for it).

He preferred not to water it down, and I don’t blame him.

It is particularly disturbing to find these huge piles in public areas where people walk. Why should people have to keep their heads down watching for dog droppings … when they’d rather be enjoying the scenery?

It sort of takes all the fun out of what should be a pleasant experience.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 02, 2012

Eugene Sobbota’s letter to the editor in last week’s Western World points to what seems to be an escalating problem in Bandon: business burglaries.

Last month it was a problem with day-time drive-by shootings with a BB gun by someone(s) who was targeting store windows … while people were inside shopping. I haven’t heard if they ever caught whoever was doing it, but I understand that “sport” has pretty much stopped.

In the last couple of weeks, someone burglarized Mick’s Barber Shop by breaking out a front window. They tried to get in Anne Sobbota’s Sage Place a short distance away on 11th Street.

Saturday I stopped in at Bandon Supply (just across 11th from Sage Place) just in time to see Wilson Dunn Glass repairing the front door. I knew right away that burglars had struck again. And, sure enough, someone or more than one had broken out the front door, taken all the money out of the cash drawer, a couple of energy drinks and fled the scene.

I understand that one of the two guys who entered Mick’s Barber Shop was caught on camera. I don’t know what the answer is, but I am sure the business owners are getting pretty tired of wondering who will be next.

Would it help to have two officers on duty at night? Maybe. Maybe not. They can’t be all over town at the same time, and these guys know it.

More entities, like the Port of Bandon, are resorting to cameras. It’s expensive, but it might be the best way to find out who is responsible for this latest rash of burglaries and burglary attempts.

Even if they are caught (and the Bandon police department has a pretty good track record), generally not much happens to them at the judicial level. And again, they know that.

*           *           *

Judging from the article in Western World last week, it definitely seems that debris from the Japanese tsunami is indeed arriving on our shores.

Several months ago a friend of mine picked up a shampoo bottle, with Asian writing on it, but I assured him that the “guys in the know” have said we won’t see debris until 2013. But it just keeps coming, as evidenced by the pictures in last week’s paper.

Someone found a large red light bulb, with Japanese writing on it, on the beach below Sunset Motel last week.

But the biggest “find” may have been the large (about eight feet by 10 feet) piece of hard plastic, with a large opening probably to facilitate a hose of some type that was found at Bullards beach just north of the lighthouse. My friend, Forrest Munger, took a picture of it, and I will try to send it along with my column. He said it would be fine to share it with my readers.

Japanese tsunami beach junk

Beachcombing for tsunami debris may well bring more people than usual to the beach this summer.

I just hope that bottles, light bulbs and big pieces of plastic are all that we find, although I know that family members in Japan are hoping that people will turn in personal effects that would be returned to them if they are identifiable.

*           *           *

I have a problem with false advertising, and a Coffee Break ad that I’ve been noticing is one of those ads. It says: “Do you want to pay more taxes? Sign the petition for the Bandon pool.”

What it will do is allow the swimming pool proponents, who have worked extremely hard on this project, to put it up to a vote of the people. I know they needed 600-plus signatures, and by Sunday Mike Sterling told me they had over 800, and that was at mid-day.

As Rob Taylor found out, often times people say they are registered when they’re not, or, in the case of the Urban Renewal petition, they simply did not live inside the City limits. People signed from Coos Bay, Coquille and many of the rural areas around Bandon … and those signatures were all thrown out.

So Mike and his people are making sure they have more than enough signatures to qualify the issue for the ballot.

If the district is approved, it would mean that those dollars would be used to operate and maintain the pool.

If this does pass, it will be thanks to people like Mike Sterling who have spent hundreds of hours working on this project.

I don’t know if people are prepared to pay another 48 cents per thousand in taxes, but that is what an election will determine. And that’s the way it should be.

*           *           *

Over the years, as editor of the Myrtle Point Herald, I have warned people about scams, like those that have been targeting grandparents lately. And so far, it seems to have worked, because I have not heard of anyone in the Myrtle Point area falling for the scam.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Coos Bay/North Bend, where I haven’t read anything to alert people.

I do know that there were attempts in both Coquille and Myrtle Point last week to get people to send money to help get their grandson out of jail. In neither case, did the grandparent fall for it.

In fact, my friend Jason said that just recently someone called his elderly parents (both in their 90s) in Flagstaff, Az., purporting to be their grandson … in desperate need of money. As soon as they asked their “grandson” for a specific family name, the caller hung up, because, of course, he didn’t know the answer.

But last week, in North Bend, it worked. An item on the sheriff’s log from Kirkendall Lane was titled “Fraud. Grandparents scam. Reporting party sent $1,900.” The sheriff’s office then contacted the person and gave them the number to the consumer fraud hotline in Salem. But, by that time, it was too late. They had lost their money and there was no way they were ever going to get it back.

The media needs to do more to alert unsuspecting people of this scam. It must really work, because it’s been going on for more than a year, and probably a lot longer.

*           *           *

I was sorry to hear that former long-time city manager Ben McMakin had died early Friday morning in Southern California, where he and his wife, Judy, were living part-time after her recent retirement.

Ben was 72 years old, and had not been well for quite a few years.

He made significant contributions to the City of Bandon during his tenure, most notably for instituting the Urban Renewal districts, which have been responsible for so many wonderful projects over the past 20 years.

I remember one year when he obtained so many grants for the City, that the dollar amount was the equivalent to over $700 per person in the community.

I understand that the family is planning a memorial service in Bandon, but I don’t know when that will be.

previous columns by mary schamehorn