As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

November 24, 2010

More and more people tell me that they look at the county sheriff’s report pretty much on a daily basis like I do. Unfortunately, much of what appears in the report is simply the info that is given to the dispatch center when someone calls the police. It’s hard to put too much stock in an item, like, for example, when a 37-year-old man says he wants to file harassment charges against Chief Bob Webb. The man was referred to the Bandon City Manager (Matt Winkel), who basically oversees the police department, per city charter. Both Matt and Bob are pretty good at dealing with all types of people, so I would guess that Matt was able to smooth things over for whatever was bothering the guy. There’s almost always more to the story than appears in the short police items, or in the weekly Bandon police report that appears in Western World each week. Usually the person who types up the report knows the name of the person arrested or the complainant, but depending on the policy of the paper, the names of those arrested don’t always make it into the paper.

In the Myrtle Point Herald, where I am editor, we do put in the names of everyone cited or arrested, unless it is a juvenile – and that is not my preference, but rather my boss’ decision. I pretty much believe that if a person is old enough to commit the “crime,” even if it’s only being a minor in possession of alcohol, their name should appear in the paper. But obviously not everyone agrees and hence the differences in the way papers handle police reports.

Last week I wrote about the 35-year-old Coos Bay area man who says he has a spiritual connection to various movie stars. This week he called at 7:30 in the morning to say he “has a feeling that Victora Siminova (that’s the way it was spelled and I have no idea who that is) has a spinal injury.” And again he said he has a “spiritual connection to her.” The dispatcher did her job – she logged the information and probably went on to more important things. In fact, a few minutes later, someone called to say that a sheep had been stuck in the mud for two days, and dispatch contacted the owner … a Myrtle Point woman who advised she would respond. Such is the life of a dispatcher, who gets a whole range of calls on any given day.

P. S. I did try to Google Victoria Siminova … and all I ended up with was Victoria’s Secret and a Russian computer programmer named Natalya Siminova.

*           *           *

An elderly man has called me twice to say that he has had a difficult time getting to use one of the seven public computers at the Bandon Library. It seems that people are required to sign up, but he says no one monitors how long they remain on a computer, and he doesn’t want to have to argue with the person on the computer. He’s been told by library staff that they don’t have time to monitor the computers, which is understandable.

I contacted Matt and, as usual, he has managed to solve the problem. The library computers will be programmed so that users can log on using their library card number. They will then be able to use the computer for one hour a day, after which the computer will automatically shut down. That will allow someone else to use it. If nobody is waiting or scheduled to use the computer and someone wants to continue using it for a longer time, the library staff will be able to re-log that user back on for a longer period.

The man (William Shaw) doesn’t have a phone and he apparently doesn’t live in the city because I couldn’t find his address on the voter list, but I hope to be able to contact him to tell him that he won’t have to worry in the future.

He can sign up and be pretty much assured that he will get his turn at the computer – which is only fair.

*           *           *

Friday night I watched the NBC documentary on Prince Charles titled “The Man Who Would Be King,” and the special which followed, “Harmony,” based on his book. It was an extremely enlightening view of the man, whose life – like so many public figures – has been reduced to sound bites and front page articles in rags like the National Enquirer.

Over and over he emphasized the important relationship between man and the planet, and his book is aimed at drawing attention to the issues facing our planet. He is a strong advocate for all things organic, which is a move that is spreading across the country as more and more people are concerned about what they eat – and how far it travels before it reaches their table. I came away with a huge respect for the “man who would be king.”

*           *           *

A couple of weeks ago Jason and I were sitting in his pickup at the port dock enjoying our coffee and watching the seals in the harbor when I noticed that one of the piling on the far side of the river looked a bit different than the others. I grabbed the binoculars and, sure enough, someone had painted it University of Oregon green, complete with a large yellow O.

I’m not sure what it took to accomplish the job, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

I just wonder how long it will be before some die-hard Beaver fan hops in his motorboat and heads out to the piling with his black and orange paint ‑ particularly now that Oregon State has dismantled the University of Southern California Trojans.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

November 17, 2010

It was so sad to learn that my long-time friend Fred Richert had died shortly after midnight Friday night of a heart attack at his home on Windhurst Road. Fred and I go back a long ways, having attended school together. In later years, he would always refer to me as “the old lady” after he learned that I was actually a little more than a month older than he. Fred and his wife, Pat, have been long-time cranberry growers and he’s been a mainstay on the Bandon Fire Department for many, many years. At this time I don’t know about the service, but I think it will be at the fire station south of town. Fred was a great guy and he will be missed.

*           *           *

People are still reaping the benefits of the wonderful all-school reunion for Bandon High School graduates that was held in early August at the high school gym. I believe there were over 500 people there, including people that I hadn’t seen since we graduated from high school over 50 years ago. It was especially fun to bond with those who graduated a few years after us (and in some cases quite a few years earlier). At this age, it doesn’t seem to matter … we all celebrated the fact that we had graduated from Bandon High School.

Several BHS graduates assembled in early November for a breakfast in the Portland area, and it was so incredibly successful that people decided they wanted to do it again. They are hoping to draw a lot of attention to their winter breakfast, which is set for Saturday, Jan. 29, at 10:30 a.m. (weather permitting) at Francis Xavier’s Restaurant, located at 1933 NE 181st (at NE 181st and Halsey) in Portland. People are advised to take the 181st St. exit off I-5 east.

The sponsors, who include Sharon Ward Moy (Class of 1966) and Harv (Skip) Longancker (Class of 1966) are asking that those who plan to attend let them know by Jan. 25. Sharon can be reached at or Skip can be reached at

For the convenience of those who may plan to drive to Portland to join the “Bandon Breakfast Bunch” they’ve listed several motels near the restaurant, which include Four Points by Sheraton ((503) 491-1818, Days Inn (503) 618-8400 or Rodeway Inn (503) 492-4000.

Of course, spouses and significant others are invited to join the group. It sounds like fun, and I’d love to be in Portland to see everyone.

*           *           *

Bandon is extremely fortunate to have an assisted living facility the caliber of Heritage Place, which celebrated its 16th birthday with a party for the community Friday night. Many of the residents joined family and community members to feast on great food, a wonderful orange cake, champagne and various other spirits. I’ve talked to a lot of people who live there, and they all sing the same tune: they love it there.

I hope it’s still there when I can no longer live alone. It’s the kind of place I could see myself living in. I visited with a beautiful woman named Marie Douglass, who is over 100 years old, and although most members of her family are gone, she says the other residents of Heritage Place are her family – and I can see that others feel the same way.

*           *           *

I never tire of reading the Sheriff’s office police log, and I just had to print out one that appeared there on Nov. 12. It says that the reporting party, a 35-year-old man who lives on the West Fork of the Millicoma River, is “spiritually connected to Jessica Lange, the famous actress. Fears she is having a heart attack. Sandra Bullock is fine though.” The information was logged … “unknown location of Jessica Lange.”

I admire the dispatchers at the 9-1-1 center. They have to be very diplomatic to deal with callers like this.

*           *           *

Peggy Noonan, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, made her point in an article last weekend titled “Americans Vote for Maturity.”

“Obama gets a rebuke, but so do Republicans who seem unqualified,” said Noonan.

She closes by saying: “Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

“Americans don’t want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They’ll vote no on that."

“It’s not just the message, it’s the messenger.”


As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

November 10, 2010

This was an interesting election, to say the least. I certainly do appreciate the 640 people who supported me, and would very much love to hear from some of those who didn’t. I’ve heard that people don’t feel that I have been accessible enough, although from the number of emails, etc., that I receive, it’s hard to understand that. But for anyone who would like to contact me about anything to do with City business, they can call me on my cell phone at 541-404-7291, at home (my new Comspan number, 541-329-0197), by email at or at City Hall by calling 541-347-2437 and leaving a message for me to call. Or they can write to me at P. O. Box 521, Bandon, OR 97411. You’re welcome to write an unsigned letter to me and let me know what you feel I could do better in my position as mayor. I’m definitely open to suggestions, as long as they are sincere and not too hateful.

*           *           *

I received a very informative email recently warning people of all the pitfalls that can befall you when you receive an e-mail that someone asks you to forward to everyone on your email list. Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and “cookie” tracking information for telemarketers and spammers – to validate active email accounts for their own profit.

Do yourself a favor and stop adding your name(s) to those types of listings regardless of how inviting they might sound. Or make you feel guilty if you don’t! It’s all about getting email addresses and nothing more. And don’t blame your friends, they may think it’s a legitimate request when they ask you to pass something on. But chances are pretty good that it’s not.

*           *           *

True, Peggy Noonan (opinion writer for the Wall Street Journal) wasn’t talking about Oregon in her article, “Revolt of the Accountants,” but what she had to say about states’ dependency on gambling certainly hit home for us Oregonians.

Here’s what Noonan had to say, and please bear with me, it’s a bit long: “People, as we know, are imperfect. Governments, composed top to bottom of imperfect people wielding power, are very imperfect. There are a million examples, big and small, of how governments can damage the actual nature and character of the citizenry, and only because there was just a commercial on TV telling me to gamble will I mention the famous case of the state lotteries. Give government the right to reap revenues from the public desire to gamble, and you’ll soon have government doing something your humble local bookie never had the temerity to try: convince the people that gambling is a moral good. They promote it insistently on local television, undermining any remaining reserve among our citizens not to play the numbers, not to develop what can become an addiction. Our state government daily promotes what for 2,000 years was understood to be a vice. No bookie ever committed a crime that big.”

I hope someone at the state lottery commission read her article.

And if anyone doesn’t think gambling is a huge problem in our state please read the account of the former Wells Fargo assistant manager at the Coos Bay branch who is wanted in connection with the theft of $1.2 million to support her gambling habit.

The irony of this is that I am still smarting from the hassle that Wells Fargo put me through earlier this year to borrow $105,000 with a credit rating of 813 and one-third down. It appears they’d better spend a little more time scrutinizing employees like this woman, who allegedly stole from many Wells Fargo customers.

*           *           *

It’s not news that the Obama mortgage-aid program is pretty much a failure. According to AOL News, many borrowers have complained that the government program is a bureaucratic nightmare. They say banks often lose their documents and then claim borrowers did not send back the necessary paperwork.

I can certainly vouch for that as it has happened to a friend of mine who has been trying to navigate that maze … and those are the exact things that have happened to her. The banking industry said borrowers weren’t sending back their paperwork Based on my limited knowledge, and a recent experience with Wells Fargo Bank, my guess is the fault doesn’t lie with the beleaguered homeowner … but with the bank.

Many people who are struggling to pay their mortgages could be assisted by having their interest rate lowered (to the current sub-5 percent rate) and the length of their mortgage extended.

*           *           *

I haven’t heard much about this locally, but am not surprised to read it “first” in the Wall Street Journal. I’ve kept the article, titled “Why We Need More Par-Three Courses,” since mid-July, but it’s still news. In the sports section, the writer says that Mike Keiser, “who commissions everything at the Bandon Dunes complex in Oregon as a golf purist’s fantasy, is building a fifth course to add to his famous four.

“It’s something you don’t hear much about anymore – a par-three. Construction on the 12-holer, tentatively called ‘The Bandon Preserve,’ starts in February.”

Keiser is quoted as saying that “baby boomers are getting older, and the older they get, the less willing or maybe less able they are to play 36 holes in a day. But with a par-three course on the ocean as an afternoon activity or an alternative to 18 holes – people say to me, hurry up and build it,” Keiser said.

The article goes on to say why more short courses are needed; one being that beginners need a place to play while they learn.

Bandon is fortunate not only to have the four 18-hole courses at Bandon Dunes and an 18-hole course at Bandon Crossings, but, best of all, we have the Old Bandon Golf Links, the nine-hole course on Beach Loop being upgraded – daily – by Troy Russell, who leased the course several years ago from Margaret Miller and Jerry Brown. This is a nine-hole jewel and if you haven’t played there recently, you will be amazed at what Troy has accomplished out there.

*           *           *

I often wonder about the “rest of the story” when I read the daily log from the Coos County Sheriff’s Department. And I read one Sunday morning that really interested me. It’s titled “Phone harassment,” and it occurred at 2:04 a.m. on Nov. 6. The phone number came back to the Bandon School District. Apparently the dispatcher made contact with the “principal, who will have someone go check on it. Resolved for now.”

It would certainly be nice to know who was making harassing phone calls from a school district phone at 2 o’clock in the morning. Hopefully the administration will get to the bottom of this one.

I would guess this would be cause for police action … or, at the very least, firing.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

November 03, 2010

It was so sad to learn that long-time Bandon True Value employee Etta Yuds had died (Thursday night) after suffering from pancreatic cancer. Etta was best known to most of us as “the True Value paint lady,” although she was extremely helpful anywhere you found her in the store. Etta was 62. A fellow employee and good friend who spent most of Etta’s last day with her at Westwind Court, where she’d been for less than a week, told me that shortly before her death Etta had donated her long hair to Locks of Love and her body to science to try to find a cure for that terribly painful type of cancer.

I found out about her illness on Thursday morning and immediately went into the store to leave Etta a note as Trish and Phil had put out a picture of her, along with a small notepad, and the messages were being delivered to her.

Etta knew that I was buying a lot of suet for the birds and I happened to mention how messy it was, especially when the suet got warm. Etta suggested I keep it in the freezer. Wow, did that ever work. I will think of Etta every time I open a new (now no longer messy) package of suet. She was a great lady and will be missed. She was especially thankful for all the help she received from South Coast Hospice, and if anyone plans to donate in her memory, that would be a worthwhile charity and one that we know she would appreciate.

*           *           *

I remember hearing on the scanner several weeks ago that someone had tried to burglarize a house outside of Bandon and the police were in hot pursuit. The guy (Roy Shinall, 40) was apprehended, and there was a short account of it in the paper. But it was a much more interesting story than we originally knew.

Brett Johnson, who has a beautiful home south of Bandon, came home about 3:30 in the afternoon to see a pickup in his driveway, which is pretty well hidden from the highway. He didn’t recognize the pickup and didn’t see anyone around … until he went inside the house. The first thing he noticed was that his big flat screen TV had been pulled off the wall, and about that time he saw this guy coming out of his bedroom, with another TV under his arm.

The guy put his hands up in the air and said something to the effect that he must have made a mistake, turned around and walked out the door, got into his pickup and drove off. But not before Brett got the license number. An animal control officer followed him to Langlois, where he was later arrested by a Bandon police officer who had been called in on the chase.

Brett doesn’t know all the particulars but apparently the guy had just been released from prison in Marion County (Salem). It seemed like he knew where he was going and Brett believes he had a list in his pickup of other intended victims. Brett’s not sure if someone had been to his home and told the guy about it, but it seems that the guy got into his pickup in Salem and drove straight to Brett’s home south of Bandon.

Brett’s pretty lucky the guy didn’t have a gun … or vice versa, but who would imagine that a person would be so brazen as to burglarize a guy’s house in broad daylight.

Not a comforting thought ….

*           *           *

In my article about missing the fish store in the big blue building, I should have mentioned that Margaret and Steve Pounder, who own Bandon Seafood, also have a great selection of fresh fish. I always think of their place as having the greatest fish and chips in the county, where people gather at the tables in front of the store in good weather (and not so good) to enjoy their fish. I understand they have really ramped up their selection of fish, and according to one source, they obtain it through the same fish company where Graydon got his fish.

So the next time you want fresh fish, give the Pounders a try before you drive to Charleston … and definitely before you head to the frozen food (or even the “fresh” food) section of your favorite grocery store.

*           *           *

There have been so many changes of late in Old Town that I can’t keep up with them. The latest, which occurred several weeks ago, was the moving of Benjamin’s Attic from up on the hill near the shopping center to the neat building in Old Town, on Baltimore Avenue, which formerly housed Ilse’s Gypsy Wagon. Lisa Rios is the new owner of Gypsy Wagon and she’s moved across the street to one of the back shops in the Continuum Building. She’s transformed it into a colorful sea of beautiful garments, wall hangings, pillows, soaps, scarves, etc. If you want color and style, at a reasonable price, to spruce up your home, this is the store.

*           *           *

Forgive me if I pass on something I’ve read in the sheriff’s office log – and it’s not what actually happened. A recent log entry reports on a dead animal. “Reporting party followed trail from Bandon Dunes to the beach then north approximately 2-3 miles loc (located) a dead elephant. Info to 515 (an officer).” That’s the God’s honest truth. It said the reporting party, a 31-year-old woman (or maybe it was a man as the first name was Shannon) located a dead elephant on the beach. My guess is that someone mentioned Elephant Rock, but that certainly isn’t in the area of Bandon Trails. I never heard a word about this so maybe I am the only person that reads the police report. Later I learned that it may have been the carcass of a whale, which makes a bit more sense.

Believe me, you never know what you’ll find (on the beach or in the report).

*           *           *

I know newspapers are having a hard time in this economy (and with so many people getting their “news” on the Internet), but the wrap-around ad on the front page of The Oregonian two weeks ago was extremely misleading … and pretty irresponsible. In huge letters it said: “Why Oregonians are Voting Yes on 75. It creates 5,000 local jobs. No cost to taxpayers. Provides $75 million each year to schools. Creates an additional $653 million annually to Oregon businesses. Good for ALL of us.”

You had to turn the page over to determine that they were talking about a casino that was to be built in the Portland area. Since the election won’t be over until Tuesday, I don’t know if it passed or not … but it certainly did not get my vote. And I can tell you that gambling is definitely not “good for ALL of us.” All one has to do is read the papers to see the number of middle-age women who have embezzled millions across this great state of ours … to feed a gambling addiction. Someone is spending a fortune to get this measure passed. Interestingly enough, last week’s Oregonian had a similar wrap-around ad covering half the front page … but this time the word casino was clearly identified. Hopefully it was a backlash from their readers that changed their mind about “fair and balanced” advertising. Oh yes, that’s supposed to be news, right? Actually it’s pretty much neither these days.

previous columns by mary schamehorn