As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 29, 2013

When is a pet not a pet. It would appear that if you feed an animal, and let it come in and out of your house through a "pet door," most people would think it was a pet.

But not so.

Shortly before midnight recently someone from Coos Bay called the sheriff's office to report that his dog was attacked by the neighbor's pet raccoon, and the animal "is still at large and trying to kill pets."

The officer met with the guy with the dog and also with the man with the raccoon. It was discovered the dogs were not actually injured as originally reported.

The man with the raccoon was located and reported the raccoon was not a pet, but he had been feeding it and allowing it access to his residence via a cat door for three years.

After the raccoon attacked the neighbor's dog, the "owner" put it in a cage and was given the number for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and he agreed to surrender his "pet" (that wasn't a pet) due to "its recent aggressive behavior."

I'll bet most police officers/deputies could write a book about the crazy calls they've received over the years and the things they have had to deal with.

The sheriff's log definitely makes for good reading . . . .

*           *           *

I learned the hard way how deep purple dye is made. I have been purchasing bearded iris from a vendor at the Old Town Marketplace and never had a problem with them until I chose a bouquet of deep purple, almost black, iris. I thought they were beautiful . . . until they started wilting. The first time I plucked one from the stem, which had others ready to bloom, I was amazed at how the color stained my hands. That should have alerted me as to what might happen, but it didn't. Later I saw purple dye on the table runner and immediately tossed out that stem. But there were others.

Finally, they pretty much all died and I threw them out.

But this morning, while talking on the phone, I looked down alongside my kitchen table and saw a 14-inch-long purple stain on my rust-colored wall. I started screaming. I'm sure that Nova Thornhill, who was on the other end of the line, wondered what had happened to me. I quickly explained, hung up and began rubbing toothpaste on the stain; something I'd read about earlier. It's not as dark as it was, but it's still there. That is one piece of furniture that has a permanent place in my house because as long as it's up against the wall, the stain won't show.

But I still know it's there.

Who would have thought that something so beautiful could have done that?

*           *           *

I learned yesterday that someone dumped seven old television sets over the bank along Parkersburg Road sometime in the last week. I don't know all the details, but I do know that someone or maybe more than one person picked up those that they could carry so they could haul them to the dump. Another one remained, which was too heavy for anyone to pick up.

I am sure that someone was probably paid to haul them to the dump (where they can be recycled for free), but he (or possibly she) decided it was too far to travel to Beaver Hill, so they unloaded them along the road.

I am not sure where seven TV sets would have come from. I have my guess, but until we investigate further, it's just a hunch.

Personally, I think it's worth pursuing.

*           *           *

Many of my readers, I am sure, have gotten tired of me harping in recent columns on the problem of garbage. But it all paid off today when two people mentioned how much they like the beautiful trash cans in Old Town. Built by the Port, the cans are expensive, but they are wonderful compared to the ugly old black beasts that used to grace our streets. I think there are still a couple of the black rubber ones left, but at least not in the walking part of town.

It's one thing to drive by a garbage can, which has food running down the sides of it (both inside and out), but it's quite another thing to walk by it.

It kind of ruins the atmosphere . . .

*           *           *

The people of Powers have been subjected to the kinds of fireworks that we generally hear only on the Fourth of July, and a lot of residents aren't happy. During one four-day (mostly night) period last week, people estimate that a group of young "men" shot off about 150 mortars . . . the kind that can only be purchased out of Oregon. Every time the police chief responded . . . they had moved to another location. It became a "game" of cat and mouse until a couple of boys (ages 17 and 18) decided to target a young woman and her grandparents, who had already gone to one location urging the men to stop, but instead of stopping, they threatened the man. The next day, fireworks were shot at their house, with debris hitting a nearby church. And the young woman decided she'd had enough (after the fireworks frightened her roosting chickens, two of whom jumped up and broke their necks when they hit the top of the coop). The family also had a goat, which ran into a fence from fright and is now crippled. She went to a City Council meeting to complain publicly, and two men were charged with shooting off illegal fireworks and recklessly endangering. Another guy, who is apparently behind much of the mayhem, posted several things on his Facebook and said essentially that "there are more to come."

It's been quiet for a few days, but people fear they have either gone to purchase more fireworks or they're letting the furor die down.

Here's hoping they've gone somewhere else to recreate . . .

*           *           *

The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend was literally swarming with people. I can't remember seeing this many people in Old Town except during Cranberry Festival and summer days of old. And the weather was beautiful with very little wind and a lot of sun.

There were still a lot of people walking around town Sunday, and even though it rained during the night and in the early morning, the sun again came out.

The new creamery was really busy. When I drove through Saturday afternoon, the parking lot was full as was the gravel lot on the south side of Third Street.

What a welcome sight to see: the new Face Rock Creamery and Old Town filled with visitors.

Let's hope that's what we have to look for this summer . . .

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 22, 2013

The mother of Jeffrey Boyce, the North Bend man who is accused of killing a tourist near Reedsport, called the police two days after her son, who she said was having a psychotic episode, left the house . . . possibly en route to San Francisco and the Russian Embassy.

Unfortunately, although she admitted that he was "possibly armed and mental," she did not call until she became concerned about "his welfare."

I would have been a lot more concerned about the innocent victims who came in contact with an armed and mental man who was having a psychotic episode.

But at least her call to authorities, even though it was way too late to save his victim, did alert authorities to the fact that he had been in Northern California, where he had been when he called her that morning.

How frightening to think that a woman in her late 50s, traveling alone to see her son in Corvallis, could be murdered at a scenic pullout along the Oregon Coast.

It's not hard to see why more people choose to arm themselves.

*           *           *

I happened to see my elderly neighbor, Edna Cramer, standing out in front of her house one day recently. Since she is in her mid-90s, and is generally in great health, I asked how she was doing. She said actually she was sick and had been advised not to return to her home.

It seems that she had an exterminator spray inside the house for roaches . . . and since then, she had been suffering respiratory distress. She told me the company assured her that the chemical was safe, but for some reason it affected her and she was headed to stay with a friend until the effects of whatever was sprayed in her house had dissipated.

Years ago I had a company spray inside my house for carpenter ants, and many years later when you wiped the wood paneling behind the furniture, you could still smell the encapsulated chemicals.

I never did that again.

*           *           *

Those of you who drove by the Old Bandon Beach Motel this weekend expecting to see it torn down were probably disappointed, as was I. I guess the date has changed, and it is now supposed to be torn down by mid-June. Since one email we received said the center section of the old motel, which is not being torn down at this time, was fully occupied, I am not sure why they advertise rooms in the Old Bandon Beach Motel for $150 a week in Coffee Break.

I am sure there is a plausible explanation.

*           *           *

I'm not sure when it is supposed to open, but I believe someone has purchased the former Thai Thai restaurant site from building owner Andrea Gatov and is planning to open an Irish pub.

There was a liquor license application in our May council packet, and if I hadn't thrown it away, I would have more information about the people buying the property. But that's all I know.

*           *           *

Saw an interesting item in a recent sheriff's department report. It seems that someone (probably the father) called the sheriff's office shortly after 9 p.m. asking for a welfare check on his 12-year-old son. The man was contacted by the SO, and he was given information on court procedures and possibly how to handle the situation through the courts.

A half an hour later, the officer called the boy, who said that his mom was in her room smoking drugs and he doesn't feel safe. The mom was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and what she hadn't already smoked, was seized by officers.

But the officer determined that the woman was " not under the influence enough to endanger the children. Report to be forwarded to the Department of Human Resources."

They may not think the children are in danger, but if she knows that it was her son who reported her drug use to the authorities (and probably to his father), I would guess that he would be better off someplace else.

*           *           *

One of the highlights of my "job" as mayor has been hosting the second graders each year at City Hall. They are so eager to learn about city government and they have so much fun when seven are chosen (by their teachers) to serve as the mayor and the six councilors; others go to the podium to ask questions or talk about a problem in their neighborhood. Believe me, some of the situations are priceless.

Often I receive letters written by the children.

One, from Alissa Reager, said: Dear Mayer Schamehorn. Do you work late shifts at night? Thank you for letting us come and telling us about your job because a lot of people don't know how to be safe and be kind of respectful to others. Some day I would like to be a mayor like you."

Another came from Jimmy Curran: "Dear Mayor Mary, Thank you for letting us talk about things. Thank you for letting us come to your office. What is your day job? Maybe you could send me a letter sometime." Jimmy was thrilled with the experience and wanted to come back and talk to me after school. I suggested that his mother, Patti, bring him to a council meeting sometime.

Although that might prove to be more than a second grader was prepared for . . . depending on the meeting.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 15, 2013

Saw a frightening thing at Bandon Shopping Center Saturday. An older woman that I've know for years was carrying her groceries to her car just as I was going into Ray's when violent barking caused me to stop and turn around. She was terrified. A very mean-looking pit bull was chained in the back of a pickup, but not to the point that he was not able to lunge at anyone passing by. I did notice a small pit bull pup inside the pickup, but I didn't think too much about it because no one had touched the pickup. The woman was simply trying to get into her car.

The man who barbecues out in front of the store wanted to call the animal control officer, but I said that by the time someone came from Coquille, the dog would be gone.

Every time the woman got close to that side of her car, the vicious barking started up again, and she was understandably scared.

Finally the dog ran over to the other side of the pickup and I helped her get into her car. About that time a couple pulled up alongside the other side of the pickup, and I warned them that they might want to move rather than try to get out so close to the back of the pickup, but the woman said she wasn't worried . . . until she got out. He got extremely close to her as she squeezed between the two rigs, and her husband advised her to hurry.

A short time later a young woman came out of the store and advised me that her pit bull was "protecting her puppy," which made me realize that our fear was justified. The puppy was inside the cab and the mother was chained into the back of the pickup . . trying to protect her puppy from anyone who even came near their pickup.

I suggested that maybe she should put the mother dog inside the pickup with the puppy so as not to endanger people who accidentally came alongside the pickup, but she informed me, by name, that she had a right to have her dogs in her pickup wherever she wanted to carry them.

She's fortunate that she came out when she did because the man was just getting ready to call the Bandon police, and I am pretty sure they would have reacted to the dangerous dog the same way we did.

Either leave her at home . . . or put her inside the cab where she could truly "protect" her pup.

Whatever that means . . . .

*           *           *

That little encounter came a few hours after Matt had forwarded me an Associated Press article about four pit bulls killing a jogger in Palmdale, Calif. A woman in a car saw the dogs attacking the female jogger, called 9-1-1 and honked her horn to try and get the dogs to stop.

When the deputy first arrived on the scene and saw one dog still attacking the woman, he tried to chase the dog away. The dog ran off into the desert, then turned around and attacked the deputy. The deputy fired a round at the dog and tried to kill the dog, but it took off into the desert.

The woman died while en route to the hospital.

Sheriff's deputies were using a helicopter to search for the dogs before they killed another innocent victim.

One woman said stray dogs, roaming in packs, have attacked people before, and she said she was going to get a gun to protect herself.

It certainly beats being murdered by vicious dogs . . . .

*           *           *

The properties around the new Face Rock Creamery are becoming "hot properties" to investors. I have learned that Leo Lewandowski is in the process of purchasing the Kiwanis thrift store building and the adjacent storage facilities from the Texley family for a reported $300,000. I haven't been able to confirm the price, but I'm pretty certain that's correct based on my source. Lewandowski confirmed to me that he was buying the properties and apparently also the Texley family's other storage units on 11th Street.

*           *           *

The ribbon cutting at Face Rock Creamery was a wonderful event. The crowd was huge, the weather was gorgeous and everyone was thrilled to finally realize our dream of once again making Bandon cheese in Bandon. I was privileged to be asked to speak, along with chamber president Bart Stein, owner Greg Drobot, his right-hand man Daniel Graham and head cheesemaker Brad Sinko, who has come home after making quite a name for himself as a prized cheesemaker.

The state-of-the art facility is sure to draw people to Bandon as evidenced by the cars that have been jamming the parking lot since it opened for business on Wednesday.

It's open seven days a week, and until 8 o'clock Monday through Saturday, and is expected to be the boost that Bandon businesses need.

It's hard to believe that it only took six months from groundbreaking to completion after some naysayers said it would never happen.

I hope they were there Wednesday for the ribbon cutting . . . .

They would have been proud at what has been accomplished when public (the city's Urban Renewal Agency) and private entities (Greg Drobot) work together.

*           *           *

I don't often read the feature article in Parade magazine, but for some reason the story about the Smiley family and how they handled the year-long absence of their military husband and father intrigued me.

I was caught up in the story . . . until I turned to page 11 and realized that the "rest of the story" wasn't there. I searched page after page thinking maybe it was somewhere else, but it wasn't it. That Parade came out of The World.

The next morning I bought both the Oregonian and the Register-Guard and since it is included in both of them, I decided to see if the final few paragraphs of the story might be there. And they were.

I wonder who determined that some of the paragraphs were missing after they had already printed probably hundreds of thousands, since it goes into papers across the country, but someone did.

And I finally got to read the end of the moving story.

*           *           *

I still remember when Bandon Dunes owner Michael Keiser bought the two motels on Beach Loop from Margaret Gorman . . . and wondered what he had in store for them.

The old Bandon Beach Motel, where they are advertising rooms for $150 a week, doesn't look like a dime has been put into it. The former Gorman Motel at Coquille Point (now the Bandon Beach Motel) has been upgraded . . . but the old motel, which still has people living there, has been pretty much left in disarray.

The "swimming pool" building was particularly bad . . . and the old rusted car that sat alongside of it for months didn't add to the ambience of the property.

A spokesman for Keiser notified the city recently that they plan to demolish the larger building, along 11th Street, and the pool structure . . . on or before May 15. Since that is Wednesday, and nothing much has happened yet, I doubt that they will make that deadline. But I surely hope they do.

The smaller 10-unit structure (between the two that are being torn down) is fully rented. Once demolition is complete, they plan to confirm the structural integrity and code compliance of the other building to determine what to do with it.

They also purchased the old Three Gables restaurant, just west of the motel, and it was immediately torn down. They also own the piece of property across 11th (where an old structure stood for many, many years, which is now gone.

It will be interesting to see what eventually goes up in the area, which is in a prime Beach Loop Road location.

Anything would be better than what is there now.

*           *           *

Only us old-timers will remember Grace Van Eaton and her late husband, Elvin "Van," who lived here many years ago. I had long since forgotten them, until I picked up the Curry Coastal Pilot of Brookings last week to see her picture on the front of the Coastal Living section.

Grace just turned 100 years old and looked as attractive as ever.

They had two children, although they lost their son when he was three. Their daughter Joyce was born in 1934 and had five daughters that Grace still sees on a regular basis.

I didn't realize that Joyce was also gone, but the article says the Grace has outlived all nine siblings, her husband and her children.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 08, 2013

I was sorry to learn that Jan Freitag, a long-time member of our community who worked in Fred Carleton's law office for many years, died late last week. She had spent quite a bit of time at OHSU in Portland, where she was finally diagnosed with Lupus.

But she took a turn for the worse earlier in the week, and was reportedly lifeflighted to RiverBend Hospital where it was learned that she had been suffering from cancer, and although I do not know the details, she died a short time later.

She and her late husband are part of a large extended family, including her son, James Freitag, who is the vice principal at Bandon High School.

*           *           *

A lot of us were wondering if a disastrous fire at Milk-E-Way Feed and Trucking Store on Fairview Road outside of Coquille, which struck shortly before midnight Saturday night, would impact the new creamery's source of milk. The Scolari family owns both the Feed Store and the Milk-E-Way Dairy, the single source of the creamery's milk.

The first report in the sheriff's log was a call from ADT Security reporting a burglary alarm at the business; "advised them business is on fire. Will be sending deputy to make sure burglar didn't set it on fire."

It is now believed that devices used to warm baby chicks may have caused the fire, and it does not appear that there was a burglary.

I immediately called City Manager Matt Winkel, who hadn't heard about it, but he called Daniel Graham, who said that the creamery had received a large shipment of milk Sunday morning, which indicated that they were not affected. He had apparently not heard about the fire either.

*           *           *

As I am working my way through my mother's estate, I discovered that she had 20,000 reward points on an Umpqua Bank credit card. No problem, I thought, since I have redeemed my credit card rewards. . . at both Bank of America and Chase.

Thirty minutes later after a lengthy phone call, I believe I finally got them credited to the trust account, but it wasn't easy. Compared to the ease of redeeming points at Bank of America or Chase, it was a one compared to a 10. Not only could you not sign up at the online banking site, but after setting up a new account, you had to go through a lengthy security process which ended with me having to select an animal sound to identify the account. I could not believe what they put me through to redeem 20,000 worth of points. Along the way, I determined that if I ever managed to work my way through the website, it would be 8 to 10 weeks before the cash arrived in the bank account. When I finally negotiated the website, the timeline had changed to "four to six weeks" . . . compared to the four to six minutes that it takes to convert reward points at either Bank of America or Chase.

In fact, with either of those cards, by the time you have converted the points, the money is practically in your account, or at least it's there the next business day.

It is obvious that mother lost a lot of money along the way by not realizing that she could convert reward points into cash, but it's just as well she didn't try, because it would have been impossible for her to answer all the ridiculous questions to get what was rightfully hers.

Oh yes, the guy on the phone told me that the bank account number had to be 10 digits, and if it weren't, you had to add zeros in front of the number. Of course, the website never mentioned anything like that, it just kept kicking it back and saying that was not the correct bank account (until I added two zeros). It is obvious that most people probably give up before they redeem their rewards . . . and I'm pretty sure that is what the bank is "banking" on.

I guess if I didn't bank at more than one bank, I would never have known the difference . . . but I do.

*           *           *

Talk about strange, but wonderful, weather . . . we've been having it all lately. After Saturday's official temperature reached the mid-80s (and Fire Chief Lanny Boston's wife, Mary, recorded 100 degrees on their deck), Sunday was very warm . . . in the morning.

As soon as I got out of church, and saw how hot it was and how little wind, I called my friend in Powers who loves to walk on the beach when it's nice and told her to get down here.

Thank heavens, she was busy because she would have throttled me when she arrived to find fog on the beach and a strange, very strong wind blowing . . . probably from the west or the east, I'm not sure which. I know it wasn't the regular summer north wind nor was it a south wind of winter. But blow, it did.

I arrived home around noon to find my flowers in complete disarray. I'd just purchased a huge basket of yellow snapdragons from Hennicks. It was turned over on the deck, with broken shoots of flowers lying all around. The cushion from the recliner had blown over the edge . . .and pretty well finished off what was left of my tulips.

Four peony buds, which were just about ready to bloom, were swaying in the wind and I immediately rushed them to safety. It's now nearly 7 p.m. and the wind has not let it.

The weather report looks good all week, which is good because the grand opening of the new creamery is set for Wednesday, with ribbon cutting at 1, followed by tours of the new facility.

Hopefully this freak wind is not part of the forecast . . . or I may have to stay home just to protect my flowers.

*           *           *

Two of my sisters, several of their friends and I went to dinner at Edgewaters last Saturday night. The menu featured three steaks, including a rib eye, a New York and an 8 oz. tenderloin (which, I believe, is another name for filet mignon). At any rate, the server told us that the tenderloin wasn't available because of the high price of that cut. But one of our group really wanted it . . . . until the server came back and said it would be $49, which was much higher than the menu price.

She quickly changed her mind.

I was a bit surprised since I went to Price 'n Pride the next day and saw their bacon-wrapped tenderloins, packaged in twos, for about $12.

I'm not sure where the restaurant gets their meat, but I am sure they aren't selling many tenderloins at that price.

Their meat is excellent, however, and the New York steaks were fine.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

May 01, 2013

While reading the business section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that a friend recently brought to me, I noticed an interesting article about the CEO of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, who wanted to ban cameras at his civil trial.

He contends that video and still images of his testimony would threaten his security.

But here's what I found even more interesting: renowned Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz was hired by Adelson to argue against cameras in the courtroom.

The article adds: "The famous lawyer has spent more than four decades arguing to open judicial proceedings to both television and still cameras, but in Adelson's employ, he landed on the other side of that battle."

He may be famous but he seems to be pretty much without scruples. It's obvious that money talks, but if I were the decision maker in that case, I wouldn't put too much stock in the argument of a man who'd spent the last forty years arguing in favor of an issue he's now arguing against.

*           *           *

I have recently put the utilities at my Powers house back in my name, which was just as well because as the property owner I was responsible for the $325 water and sewer bill that the deadbeats didn't pay.

But anyone who might argue that the water and sewer bill is high in Bandon has never paid for similar services in Powers, where the basic service for water and sewer (without using a drop of water) is $81.20 a month. In Bandon, for the first 2,000 gallons of water, a similar bill would be about $39 . . . and believe me, as one who pays both bills, that's quite a difference.

The sad part is that Powers is under a mandate to build a new sewage treatment plant, and once that's built, the bill is expected to increase from $20 to $40 a month. It's not something that anyone is looking forward to.

Coquille just finished its new treatment plant, while both Powers and Myrtle Point are under a mandate to build new plants.

Over the years, Bandon has taken care of its infrastructure a little bit at a time.

And it's paid off big time for our customers.

*           *           *

Having had such a bad experience at my rental house in Powers, I pay more attention to landlord/tenant issues that I read about . . . especially in the police report.

And I'm surprised that most of them seem to "come down" on the side of the guy who hasn't paid his rent. And that's pretty hard to figure out.

A woman called the police from a Coos Bay address last week to say that she feels she is being harassed by her landlord who keeps sending her eviction notices "and shows up unannounced and yells at her to answer the door." It adds that the woman was contacted and was advised of the landlord/tenant laws . . . and was told "to call when the subject is actually in the process of trespassing."

It's hard to understand a law that calls it trespassing when the owner of the property tries to get the tenant to pay their rent, particularly if he keeps sending her eviction notices.

It sounds like it's virtually impossible to evict someone. I guess I should be happy that although my "renters" smashed out 14 windows on their way out, they finally did vacate the property even though they never bothered to tell me.

This is not a business for the faint of heart . . .

*           *           *

Mother's service was yesterday at St. John's Episcopal Church, where she played the organ for over 50 years. The church was full, and it was good to see some former Bandonites join the group of locals who were in attendance. Jill and Jane Chappell, who lived next door to us when we were growing up, were there, as were my ex-husband and his wife, Bill and Audrey Harris of Corvallis. He wasn't sure where the service was going to be, and I reminded him that it was at the church where we had been married almost 50 years ago. Then he remembered.

Although Bill and I were only together five years, and he and Audrey have been married for over 40 years, it still seems like he's a member of the family, and I was glad they were able to be there. Bill, who retired from the Oregon State Police some years ago, has had a lot of health issues: cancer, open heart surgery and Meniere's disease, but he's in good health now. After retiring from OSP, he worked with the campus police at Oregon State University and among the cases he worked on was the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. It's always fascinating to hear Bill's stories . . .

*           *           *

I am beginning to figure out that I am too old for strenuous yard work . . . but someone has to do it, and right now it's me.

My partner spread fertilizer liberally over the lawn just before he left for California, and, believe me, it worked. Coupled with some good rains and a lot of sun, the lawn took off in a big way.

Since I'm not strong enough to pull the cord on the big lawnmower, I purchased an electric last year, which starts every time you plug it in. That's a big plus for me.

But dragging around a long cord is a definite minus . . . and pretty much a hazard.

The last time I mowed, he decided I didn't have the mower set low enough, but when the grass is already four inches tall, the last thing I want to do is cut it "down to the quick." I've done that before, and the resulting brown spots are not attractive.

Besides I read somewhere that it harms the lawn to cut it too low, so at least I have science on my side.

Along with a sore back . . .

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