As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 29, 2010

It took officers from four police agencies to handle the crowd of 400 mostly University of Oregon students who gathered in the streets between 13th Avenue and Ferry Street Friday night …. one short day after most of them had arrived on campus for the fall term.

It’s hard to imagine a university with a worst reputation than the U of O for student drunkeness.

I happened to be in Eugene over the weekend and from the hotel where I was staying I could hear siren after siren as police officers, in riot gear, responded to the scene of the huge party.

More than 50 officers used tear gas to break up the party. The Register-Guard said the crowd grew rather than dispersed about 11:30 p.m. once police arrived on the scene.

I simply can’t imagine living anywhere near the university, and if I were the parent of one of those students, they would most certainly be paying their own way through college.

When officers requested that they disperse, their answer was to chant obscenities, throw bottles and projectiles at the officers and break out car windows.

These kinds of event at the University have, sadly, become more and more frequent.

But you would have thought they could have at least waited until their parents left town.

*           *           *

Several people have asked me in recent weeks how they could contribute to the fireworks fund. And now I have an answer.

Penny Allen, representing the Bandon Rotary Club, appeared at the last city council meeting to see if the council would guarantee the amount needed to purchase next year’s fireworks display (approximately $13,000) if they weren’t able to raise all the money.

The majority of the council was hesitant to do that but all of us were willing to pledge at least $100 to the fireworks fund, and help the service clubs (Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis) raise the money.

The night after last summer’s spectacular display, some friends of mine from Bridge called to ask how they could contribute, and they ended up sending me a check for $50, which I took to the bank.

Although we couldn’t guarantee any money, the city has agreed to set up the checking account and also be the repository for the pledges that will be coming in.

Joseph Bain, owner of Bain Insurance, was the first to get his pledge in ‑ $250 – which, along with the $1,000 pledge from Rotary, and a promise of around $500 to $600 from the chamber and other assistance from the Kiwanis and Lions, we are hoping that we will be able to raise the money.

So, if you would like to donate to the 2011 fireworks fund, you can submit an e-mail pledge to or send a check to the city, payable to “City of Bandon Fireworks,” at P.O. Box 67, Bandon, OR 97411.

Last summer’s spectacular display was one of the best we’ve ever seen here and no one wants them to disappear. We appreciate anything that anyone can contribute. I am sure we can reach our goal …

*           *           *

Oregon’s top two candidates for governor – along with two lesser known candidates – were in Eugene Saturday to address city councilors, mayors and city managers at the annual League of Oregon Cities conference.

The back of the room was filled with TV cameras, photographers and reporters, and security was tight – although I am not sure why.

The joint appearance of the candidates was expected to take at least an hour and a half and we were warned that if any of us had to leave the conference hall for any reason (you can pretty much guess what that might be), we would not be allowed back in. It felt a little bit like being in a two-hour lockdown situation.

After we ate lunch, they said we would have a five-minute “recess,” but warned us that if anyone left and wasn’t back inside the room by the time the “debate” started, we’d be out in the cold.

I won’t get into the merits of the “debate,” since the candidates had been given the questions at least a month in advance, so they had plenty of time to prepare their remarks.

I would have preferred to have questions thrown at them like you would find in a real debate, so we could see how well they would handle it. But that wasn’t the case.

The most interesting speech of the conference came from sitting Governor Ted Kulongoski, who “laid it on the line,” as to what cities and school districts can expect from the ever burgeoning debt that will be burying government entities as we try to shore up the Public Employees Retirement System.

He was so impressive that even my arch conservative friend, Brian Vick, wanted to get a copy of his speech.

*           *           *

It’s hard to fathom that a small city like Bell, Calif., could have even had the kind of money that was misappropriated by its officials; we’re talking $5.5 million. Eight current and former Bell city leaders were arrested on charges of misappropriating that amount of money from the small, working-class community as prosecutors accused them of treating the city’s coffers as their own personal bank.

The group of arrestees was led by city manager Robert Rizzo, whose annual salary and benefits package was more than $1.5 million.

It’s hard to believe – but true.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 22, 2010

It’s always fun to listen to other people talk about Bandon. You know, those of us who don’t live here and don’t take everything we have here for granted. In church Sunday we had two couples who were visiting Bandon. One couple had recently purchased a home at Bandon Commons and the other couple said they love it here and would spend more time here if their children and grandchildren weren’t “back home.”

And both couples had arrived just in time for the big rain, which hit Thursday. I told them how wonderful the weather was for Cranberry Festival, and I could tell by the longing in their eyes, that they would have loved to have been here. Maybe next year.

*           *           *

I’m not sure why, but it appears that the Phoenix Grill is closed, at least that’s what some friends of mine said when they tried to go to dinner there Friday night. I checked again on Sunday, and it was still closed. I do know they’ve been having problems “making ends meet,” and were often out of things on the menu. It is such a beautiful spot, with one of the most fabulous views around, and I really hoped that they would be able to keep it open.

They also kept their lounge open later than the traditional 9 o’clock, which is the magic hour for many of our local establishments to close. It was fun, on occasion, to stop in after a meeting, but I guess that’s probably not going to happen any more.

*           *           *

It may have been raining Saturday morning, but the faithful customers and vendors were on hand for the last Little Farmers Market of the season. Fresh produce isn’t something you can really “stock up on,” but I did see people buying a little extra, hoping to make it last a little longer than usual.

I show up pretty (actually very) regularly, as does my sister Molly, and we are going to miss the great fresh fruits and vegetables, chanterelle mushrooms, scone mix and cheese cake that was available.

Where else could you get a good-sized package of fresh picked huckleberries for $3.50? If you’ve ever tried to pick them you know how tiny they are and how hard they are to pick. We can thank Annie and Ed Norton for those.

A big thank you goes to Nancy Evans for making the marketplace available. We love it.

*           *           *

As a child I have many memories of lying on the beach, covered with sand, watching my mom and my siblings wading in the ocean. (To this day, I’m not a big fan of water, unless it’s a hot tub or a heated swimming pool).

But when I read last week that two young children – in separate accidents – had been killed by vehicles on Florida beaches, I shuddered. It seems that officials are torn between outlawing cars on the beach and preserving a deep-rooted ritual that helped form the Daytona 500 stock car race.

Apparently only some beaches are open to vehicles, and they pay a $5 toll for access, and there is a 10-mile-an-hour speed limit. But as we all know, speed limits mean almost nothing to certain people, and beachgoers have to cross the traffic lanes to get to the water.

One of the little four-year-olds that was killed tried to follow his father down to the water to wash off his hands, but instead he was run down by a vehicle.

Apparently elected officials are pretty much coming down on the side of allowing the vehicles to continue to be on the beaches.

And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

*           *           *

Everyone is entitled to one or two little quirks … and mine is proofreading other newspapers. Some would probably say I should start with my own paper (the Myrtle Point Herald), but believe me we make about one-tenth the mistakes that I find in other papers. And the Brookings Harbor Pilot pretty much leads the way.

That’s why I was surprised last week to see the editor paying tribute to the proof reader who was leaving town … I think for another job. A year or so ago, I was reading one of his editorial columns … and found 14 mistakes in it. And most of them were spelling or punctuation errors. I sent him a letter, and the proofreader called me to say how “hurt” she was by my criticism. No matter how great a paper is, if it is filled with mistakes, it takes it down a notch or two.

At any rate, the editor said he didn’t know what he would do without her, and he mentioned several (pretty elementary) things that he continually gets wrong, like knowing when to use its and it’s.

The Port Orford News regularly spelled the name of their mayor, Jim Auborn, wrong, but they always spelled the name of his wife, Karen Auborn, correctly. Now try to figure that out. Either you know how to spell Auborn or you don’t, so I wrote to the publisher. He didn’t respond, but he never made that mistake again.

Geri Procetto, my proofreader, friend and fellow councilor, is probably breaking out in laughter about this time because she often finds a typo or a misplaced comma in my column … but that’s why you have friends, who spent years as a court reporter.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 15, 2010

Boy did the weather man ever smile on Bandon for the Cranberry Festival. I think this is the first real “summer” weekend we’ve had in a long time . . . the fog didn’t even come in until late afternoon Sunday and by the time the festival had pretty much wound down. I’d say it was a tremendous success judging from the amount of people (and cars) that were in town.

The parade was one of the best ever, and it was especially poignant with the many tributes to those who died on 9-11. Friends of ours were here from Sandy, and they said that 60,000 people come to the Sandy Mountain Days parade, which couldn’t compare to Bandon’s parade.

The festival couldn’t happen each year without the tremendous volunteer effort of the chamber of commerce. Special thanks go to Colleen Showalter, who stepped forward to chair the festival this year, and did a great job.

*           *           *

If you haven’t been into the Continuum Building lately, you’ll be surprised at how vibrant the shops are. The latest to move into the building, just off the Pedway, is Gypsy Wagon. You won’t believe what Lisa Rios, the new owner, has done in that small shop. It’s like being transported into another world when you walk through the door. It’s colorful, beautiful and filled with exotic merchandise.

The shop is a great complement to Cest’ Vert, which is located next door on the Pedway. Clyde and Colleen have filled their shop with mostly made in Oregon products, and were featured recently in a three-page spread in Oregon Coast magazine, which has given their shop a tremendous boost.

I love nice soap, and I bought several bars from Cest’ Vert, and it was absolutely wonderful. I don’t always spend $7 for a bar of soap, but when it’s that fragrant and foamy, I’ll definitely go back for more.

They are also carrying Vincent’s cranberry and cranberry-blueberry juice, which I love.

I love nothing better than shopping in Bandon, and hope that others will do the same, particularly since it’s not that long until Christmas.

*           *           *

My friend Susan from Pennsylvania keeps me laughing with the e-mails that she forwards on to me. The latest was titled “older than dirt,” and yes, that definitely applies to me.

One really hit home for me: “Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did.”

How true. I remember the time that I spent a couple of hours at the table moving mashed parsnips around on my plate, hoping that they would either evaporate or fall on the floor for the cat to eat. Eventually, I did manage to get them down, but to this day, I have never eaten another parsnip – mashed or any other way. And, believe it or not, I’m not a finicky eater.

Here’s another: “My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and had only one speed (slow).”

“The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen to make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line.”

I feel sorry for the younger generation … who will never experience many of the things that people my age remember all too well.

*           *           *

The difference between the earthquake that hit Haiti and the one that rocked New Zealand two weeks ago were the number of injuries and deaths that were recorded. Although a number of buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand, were smashed and a new 11-foot wide fault opened in the earth, there were only two injuries – and no deaths – reported.

The reason: many of New Zealand’s buildings were earthquake strengthened 10 years ago, and could withstand the 7.1-magnitude quake, which was about the same size as the one which hit Haiti.

I do know that schools will eventually be required to be retrofit to greater earthquake standards, but I don’t think there is “anything in the works” for homes and commercial businesses.

Certainly the state can learn a valuable lesson from the New Zealand quake when it comes to developing new earthquake standards.

*           *           *

I’ve read a lot about the problem of panhandling in downtown Portland, but a woman from Rhode Island said it best last week in a letter to the Oregonian. She pointed out that she and her husband had traveled to at least 10 cities this summer before spending a long weekend in Portland.

She reeled off the wonderful things they saw and did, but added: “All of this was tempered by what ultimately defined our visit: the vast and disturbing homeless population and aggressive begging problem in Portland.”

She said everywhere they went they were berated and harassed by beggars.

“Through all our travels, Portland was the only place that we encountered this problem to this magnitude. I would rather pay sales tax and contribute to the city than experience the in-your-face social problems of Portland. Many of the people begging were young and seemingly disenfranchised or suffering from substance abuse or mental health issues,” said the writer.

I just hope that Portland city officials read that letter.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 08, 2010

We don’t have many opportunities to “dress up” in Bandon, and a lot of us panic because we’re not sure what we’ll wear. But it was great to see so many people “dolled up” for the big 10th anniversary party of the Sprague Community Theater last Wednesday night. The evening started off with a few speeches … and “yours truly” found herself on the stage first, but I guess it was better than last as you don’t have to prolong the agony of wondering what you’re going to say, and how it will come across to the audience.

I quickly learned that with a spotlight shining on you, you can’t even see anyone in the audience. It’s like you’re talking to yourself. After the speeches, there was a 45-minute intermission so people could enjoy some tasty food and champagne, followed by presentations by each of the users of the Sprague Theater, ranging from Bandon Playhouse to Bandon Showcase, New Artists Productions, MarLo Dance Studio and the Bandon High School speech team.

It went on a little longer than expected, but for those of us who stayed for the entire program, it was truly a wonderful event.

Most communities our size have nothing that can compare to the Sprague Theater, let alone a fabulous library and a newly remodeled Barn/community center all in one location.

In my closing remarks, I said that my greatest wish for the theater would be that it was packed to capacity for every event.

I know there are people in the community who have never been to the Sprague, and they truly don’t know what they’re missing.

*           *           *

I’ve never been known for my culinary skills, and I pretty much demonstrated that Saturday night when I decided to cook a nice piece of salmon, purchased from Bandon Pacific Seafood, which (sadly) closed for good the next day.

I had purchased a new set of measuring spoons recently, as an after-thought when I was buying some makeup at Macy’s. It was the usual set of four or five spoons, with the largest one being the tablespoon (well, so I thought). As I was carefully measuring out the ingredients for my marinade, I wondered why the tablespoon had the words “2 teaspoons” stamped on the front of it, but I didn’t give it much thought. Later that evening, after burning the skin of the fish in a non-stick skillet, which probably had nothing to do with the amount of marinade, I wondered aloud if a tablespoon really was 2 teaspoons. I quickly learned that a tablespoon is actually 3 teaspoons, which could account for the flavor, which was not quite right. But, who knows, it could have been the smoke from the frying pan that changed the flavor.

At any rate, I will know better next time. My guess is that those measuring spoons came from China, and tomorrow I will head straight down to Ed and Beth’s at Bandon Mercantile and buy a legitimate set of measuring spoons.

Who would have thought …..?

I might keep them around just in case the next recipe calls for two-thirds of a tablespoon, but that’s pretty unlikely.

*           *           *

I have been putting plenty of bird seed and suet out for the birds lately, but it’s the two chipmunks that I really love to watch. The other day I was sitting quietly on a bench and about that time one of the little chipmunks came racing down the deck and got right to my foot when he suddenly looked up and realized there was a person connected to the shoe. He ran the 100-yard-dash in nine seconds flat.

I have a long lens on my digital camera (the equivalent of a 640 mm lens), and I have taken so many great pictures of birds and chipmunks from inside the house.

Now if I could just get one of my two printers to work. Well, actually they both work, but the pictures from one come out with a blue cast and the other prints magenta-colored people.

I’m either going to have to buy a new printer, or figure out how to clean the ones I have. I have hit the “clean” button many times on both printers, but I can’t seem to fix the problem.

I really want to share my pictures, but no one wants to see magenta chipmunks … or at least I don’t.

*           *           *

Earlier I mentioned Bandon Pacific Seafood, which closed on Sept. 4. What a shame. Everyone in my family absolutely loves their fresh seafood, and I am just hoping that someone (with a fishing boat) will decide to open a shop there. Seafood from the grocery store simply is not the same, and Graydon Stinnett and his crew have spoiled us over the years with their really fresh fish.

I miss them already ….

*           *           *

It was great to see that former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who owns a home in Bandon, has been appointed to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council by Governor Ted Kulongoski.

The Portland-based council was created by the federal Northwest Power and Conservation Act in 1980 to balance environmental protection with energy development.

Bill was a worthy choice for that position.

*           *           *

We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate this weekend for the annual Bandon Cranberry Festival. There are a lot of big events planned, and it’s always the highlight of the year for those of us who love festivals.

The weather has been so “hit and miss” this summer. We’ve had a lot of foggy, misty days, then last week we had two of the most glorious days we’ve had all year.

So let’s hope that the weatherman smiles on us Saturday.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 01, 2010

I’ve learned of a few more incidents involving Register-Guard boxes in the last week … and one could definitely be described as theft. Well both of them could, but the victim was the R-G box (carrier) in the first instance … and the “potential” reader in the second case.

A friend of mine was going into the post office one day last week when she observed a woman standing in front of the R-G box concerned because she had just lost her quarter(s) in the box, and the coin return wasn’t working. My friend showed her how to tip the box up, and her quarters came rolling out. But a few minutes later, after getting her mail, my friend noticed that the woman was still tilting the box … and she had already gotten nine quarters out of the box. It was like she’d hit the jackpot. My friend said she wasn’t sure what the woman intended to do with all those quarters, but I doubt that she planned to buy newspapers with them.

I forwarded her e-mail to the police chief … and said “now that really is theft,” referring to the “uproar” after I took two papers after paying for four.

A second incident occurred at that box in front of The Minute Café, which I wrote about several weeks ago. My pal Jason Tree, who has a shop next door, heard a man swearing, and he went out to see what had happened. The man had already put $3 in the box in an attempt to get a paper, but again the coin return was malfunctioning .. and he walked away with no paper, no quarters … and no sense of humor.

*           *           *

I’m not sure what is going on in the Edna Lane area outside of Bandon, but there appears to be a pretty serious feud between neighbors. There have been numerous calls to the sheriff’s office, and a 53-year-old man called the SO shortly before 8:30 a.m. Saturday to say that his neighbor “had shot toward him.” The deputy seized a Bulldog .44 caliber handgun, and referred the neighbor to the District Attorney for menacing and unlawful use of a weapon. The last sentence on the log entry says: “The (family name) said they will purchase new gun today.” I have chosen not to name the person who is being referred to the DA because I am not sure if it is the father or the son.

I’m not sure how this is going to end, or what has caused this long-standing problem, but it seems to be escalating – and that’s not good.

*           *           *

My neighbor, here on Harlem Avenue, asked me if I’d heard gunshots Friday night around 8:30 p.m. (or it could have been 9:30). He said several police cars were in the area, but it wasn’t until after I went in the house did I remember that as we were headed home from dinner, we saw that someone was shooting off some pretty big fireworks in the sky near Harvard Street Apartments, and my boyfriend said there was more than one, so my guess is that’s what people heard – and not gunshots.

*           *           *

I’ve noticed that there have been several burglaries in our area in recent weeks, and it might be wise for people to take a little extra precaution about locking their house and their vehicles.

In an incident, which took place at the dock at Bullards Beach State Park, Friday, it appears that the fisherman actually left his fishing bag on the dock at the boat launch, and it was gone when he returned. In this day and age, I can’t imagine leaving anything unattended in a public place and then expecting it to be there when you return. Not only did the box contain various fishing equipment and a Leatherman tool, but the guy’s fishing licenses were in there, as well. It’s my guess that he didn’t leave it behind on purpose; he must have simply gone off without it. At any rate it was gone when he got back.

*           *           *

It must have been a full moon Friday night . . . judging from the number of bar fights in the county. The first call came in shortly before midnight when the Coquille police requested cover for an officer trying to break up a “large fight at the Broiler.” One person was taken to jail.

Less than an hour later, about 20 minutes after midnight, Coquille again requested cover at what I am assuming was the same bar. Police closed down the bar and removed approximately 30 people from the premises. About a half an hour later, Myrtle Point police requested assistance for a fight on Maple Street, involving eight or nine people.

Sounds like the Coquille group might have headed over to Myrtle Point after the bar in Coquille was closed down.

Glad they didn’t head to Bandon …..

previous columns by mary schamehorn