As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 28, 2011

I just got back from Bandon’s Museum, where they observed the 75th anniversary of the Bandon Fire of 1936. I thought I pretty much knew all there was to know about the Fire, since both sides of my families lost everything, and I had heard many stories and read all the old papers while growing up. In fact my grandfather owned the Western World at the time of the fire (and for a total of 50 years), so he was instrumental in helping to rebuild the town.

But I’d always heard that Sparky Adams (who was at the museum Sunday for the event) was born on the beach … or maybe on one of the ships in the harbor. Not so. Museum board member Carol Acklin read a very interesting account of the fire written by Sparky’s mother. If anyone should know what happened that night, it would be her.

He was the fourth child of the Adams family, and realizing that she was about to give birth, Mrs. Adams came into town to a friend’s house, where she had planned to give birth. But it was only a few hours after the birth that it appeared that the house would soon be consumed by fire, so they all agreed that since the Westlund Hotel had a fireproof roof, they would take Mrs. Adams on a stretcher, and the baby in a basket, to the hotel. Unlike modern times, where mothers are up and around soon after birth, new mothers were required to stay down for quite a while; thus Mrs. Adams made her long trip from place to place on a stretcher. They had no more than gotten to the Westlund Hotel when someone looked out the window and realized the fire was headed right for them (and the fireproof hotel was soon destroyed by fire). It was soon after that the baby and mother got separated; the baby was taken to one ship and the mother to another, but about 14 hours after giving birth, the two were reunited. They joked for years that it’s pretty unusual for a baby to be in nine different places (home, car, bus, two different boats, a hotel, etc.) in the first 14 hours of birth.

And her tale of being lowered into a Coast Guard boat and then raised onto the steamer Rose – while on a stretcher - gave me the shivers. Several times she actually thought they would go over the edge before she made it to safety.

Sparky, of course, doesn’t remember anything about the fire, and for years no one in Bandon knew where he was. The museum folks had been trying to find him, and finally, nine years ago, they discovered that he was living in Roseburg. And he’s pretty much spent his birthday in Bandon since that time … attending the anniversary party at the museum and getting to talk with the survivors.

*           *           *

Every time I have a problem with my computer one of my faithful readers has been able to help me out. But this time, it may be even bigger than even their knowledge. I have an Epson Stylus RX500 printer, which also copies and scans. I use it constantly. But the last time I was changing out one of the six ink cartridges, it had a hard time charging … but it finally stopped making the grinding sound which indicates it’s charging, and it was ready for use again.

But now, every time I try to use it, a yellow warning sign flashes and it says: “Parts inside your printer are near the end of their service life. See your printer documentation.”

So far, it continues to work just fine with the exception of this aggravating warning every time I hit “print.”

I looked in the book that came with the printer and can find nothing about its parts wearing out.

But would they really want you to know that when you buy it?

I don’t think so.

Any ideas out there guys (or gals)?

*           *           *

The search for missing Cycle Oregon volunteer Mark Bosworth of Portland is officially over for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, but not for family members who are doing everything they can to find their missing husband and father. A lot more information is coming out about his condition during the week that he spent with Cycle Oregon, helping out as he has done for many years.

The fear is that the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he has twice battled, has struck him again, and possibly has gone to his brain. In the days before he went to Cycle Oregon, his family said that at times he thought he was in Canada, although he was physically in Oregon. Another time he thought he was in New York.

While on the Cycle Oregon trip, he didn’t know where his tent was. But he refused help from his friends, insisting that he was “just fine.” It has come out, in an Oregonian article, that he fell asleep in a pizza delivery car in Bandon (I think up at the shopping center) until its owner woke him up.

There were so many signs that something wasn’t right with this normally very stable (according to family members) man, who has worked for Portland Metro for over 20 years and is highly regarded by all who know him.

When he left the campsite in Riddle last Friday night, he did not have his bicycle or his wallet, so if he has left Douglas County, he has probably hitchhiked. Posters put out by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office contain several pictures of Mr. Bosworth, who is 54 years old with gray hair, blue eyes, 6-0 tall and weighing 180 pounds.

I saw an item in the Coos County sheriff’s office report Saturday which said: “Winter Lake. Suspicious subject. Counter contact possibly missing person from Eugene. Ref: UTL (unable to locate).”

Obviously they were talking about a missing person from Riddle (who lives in Portland), and I don’t know how long from the time someone reported seeing a man near Winter Lake Road (a small road east of Highway 42 between Coquille and Myrtle Point) before a deputy went to the scene and could not find him.

The family has a web site ( and an email address (, so I sent that information to them Sunday and the spokesman said they would definitely check it out.

Because of his confused state of mind, he may well have decided to come back to one of the communities where he had spent time in the past week … or he could be anywhere.

If you see someone walking along the highway or hitchhiking, wearing black athletic pants, a gray Cycle Oregon sweatshirt, dark thermals and a yellow Oregon Cycling, please call the authorities at once.

He may look pretty disheveled by now and be incoherent, but his family is desperate for any information about him.

The company where his wife works has offered a $10,000 reward for information that directly results in locating Mark Bosworth.

I just pray that he will be found soon … and unharmed.

*           *           *

The last Little Farmers Market for this season was Saturday, and there was the usual great assortment of fresh fruits and produce, as well as breads, fresh cut flowers and other delicacies.

This week Nancy had both fresh raspberries and fresh strawberries from Valley Flora in Langlois, and they were some of the sweetest and best that I’ve found all summer.

Where else could you get beautiful organic berries, picked fresh less than 15 miles away for a price that you can afford? I also bought two four-cup containers of beautiful, cleaned huckleberries, which I will freeze and use all winter on my yogurt.

I never miss the market if I’m in town, and if I’m not, I try to get one of my sisters to shop for me.

It’s a real treat.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 21, 2011

Everywhere I went this week, both in Bandon and in Powers, I heard nothing but rave reviews for the Cycle Oregon bicyclists – all 2,200 of them and their support people – who spent two nights in Bandon and the next night in Powers on their week-long tour, which began and ended in Sutherlin.

I do know that several Bandon businesses had their best days ever when the cyclists were in town Tuesday and Wednesday, and in Powers, one restaurant owner said his crew spent four hours doing nothing but dishing up ice cream cones.

One of the biggest impacts, I think, will be the amount of people who will return to Bandon with their families to vacation. People loved Bandon and were thrilled by the way they were treated and I am sure that will result in many people coming back to our community.

Julie Miller and her crew deserve a huge vote of thanks for their hard work in hosting and preparing for this big group, who set up headquarters in City Park.

There was only one small glitch – for the first time in the 24-year history of Cycle Oregon, one of the bicycles was stolen … out of Bandon City Park. The $4,000 bike was taken somewhere around 3 in the morning, (I think it was early Thursday morning), but Bandon Police Chief Bob Webb found the bike in Langlois and returned it to the grateful rider within a few brief hours.

I am not sure if an arrest was made, or all the details, but I do know that we are very thankful to Chief Webb for acting so quickly to get the bike back. That is one “first” that I would just as soon had not happened in Bandon. But all’s well that ends well.

I have learned, but not officially, that a “wide load” sign may have hit one of the cyclists in the elbow as she was riding along the Powers Highway. I understand she wasn’t badly injured, but it could have been a lot worse.

I don’t think anyone realized what a wonderful event it was going to be, and we only wish that Cycle Oregon could put us on their permanent route, but we know that isn’t possible.

But Cycle Oregon, coupled with a wonderfully successful Cranberry Festival, provided a big boost for Bandon businesses, and showcased our beautiful community.

Just as I was through writing my column, the news came out about a Portland man missing from the Cycle Oregon campsite at Riddle. The man, Mark Bosworth, 54, was a crew volunteer, and he was last seen at 11 p.m. Friday night returning to his tent at the Riddle High School athletic fields. People said he had been exhibiting uncharacteristic behavior and had acted confused and sometimes didn’t make sense when he spoke. His wife said she is concerned that something is medically wrong with him.

I hope that by the time you read this, he will have been found.

*           *           *

What started out as a day trip from Roseburg to the Cranberry Festival ended in an overnight stay behind locked gates for an Alabama couple – who put way too much trust in their GPS.

After spending a few hours at the festival, I guess they decided that instead of returning to Roseburg (where they were visiting friends) the same way they’d come, they would try a different route, guided by their GPS. They headed south and went up Elk River, believing that route would eventually get them back to Roseburg, via Glendale. Unfortunately, they found their way into Plum Creek (former Georgia-Pacific) timberlands, whose gates are closed at night during hunting season. The gate had been open when they went in, but they got to about a mile and a half from Powers when they encountered a locked gate. By the time they turned around and headed back the way they’d come, the gate had been locked behind them, and they were trapped. They finally were able to make phone contact, and after describing the road signs in the area, it was determined that they were on Plum Creek lands, so dispatch turned the call over to the Coos County Sheriff’s Office. After talking with the couple, the deputies learned that they had eaten, and had enough water, so they would stay in their SUV for the night. The next morning, the deputies found them with one flat tire and two more that were nearly flat.

They were thankful for the assistance, and after eating breakfast in Myrtle Point, they continued on their way back to Roseburg.

I wonder how long it will be before someone sues the makers of the GPS for getting them lost. There is no way that the GPS can replace common sense, but that seems to be the case all too often lately.

The sheriff’s office is urging people to have food, water and other supplies if they are going to leave the well-traveled highways for the back roads … particularly if GPS is their guide.

*           *           *

Most people won’t remember Gene Stearns, but even after he’d retired many years ago and he and his wife, Barbara, had moved to Bellevue, Wash., they often came to Bandon. Gene, who was in his 80s, was a big supporter of the Bandon Tigers and seldom missed a game if he was in town. But several years ago he suffered a stroke and was in a nursing home in Bellevue. Gene was my cousin, and last week I received a call from his son, Doug Stearns, telling me that his dad had suffered a massive heart attack and died.

Barbara Stearns and other family members had just spent the week in Bandon at their vacation home. Barbara is the sister of Betty MacDonald, widow of the long-time Bandon police chief, D. S. “Big Mac’ MacDonald. She now lives in Utah with her daughter, Lynn.

*           *           *

I received a letter from a skateboarder in Washington last month lamenting the fact that the city was closing down the skateboard park.

I recently obtained the Aug. 11 minutes from the city Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, and I plan to send them to the young woman, so she will have a better understanding of the rampant vandalism that has been occurring at our park. It doesn’t seem to matter what we do out there, someone is always ready to tear it up … or down.

City Planner Michelle Hampton is quoted as saying that “vandalism has escalated to the point that there is some vandalism in the park weekly. In the past week, the City crew removed the skate park equipment and is in the process of bolting down all picnic tables; baskets on the disc golf course have been vandalized several times, barbecues have been knocked over, picnic tables from the center of the park have been dragged over to the basketball court, and the basketball rims have been damaged and replaced once and have now been removed.”

It was pointed out that the damaged equipment has been expensive and time-consuming to replace; particularly the equipment in the skate park, which had reached a point where it was unsafe with bolts and cross-braces and other equipment missing, so that, due to the liability issue, the only option was to remove it.

The city manager said that if the money is found to make another investment in skate park equipment and more benches, there would need to be some assurance that it will be taken care of. The City will need to rely on the people who use the park to not vandalize it, to tell their friends not to vandalize it, and to report any vandalism to the police.

Troy Russell noted that the school district is facing the same problem, with widespread vandalism.

Several young people attended the Parks Commission meeting, and one said he felt that they were being penalized by the City in taking out the skateboard equipment. They were also interested in the fact that they could report vandalism anonymously.

Commission chairman Esther Williams assured the kids that they won’t be squealing on their friends “because those people that are destroying your property and ours are not your friends.”

Well said.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 14, 2011

I was surprised to read about a Eugene city councilor, George Clark, who had failed to file his ethics commission statement for three years. He’s the same one who brought Fox news to Eugene to cover his grandstanding as he urged the council to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Now he’s decided to run for Lane County Commissioner and I guess he figured it wouldn’t look too good if the voters learned that he hadn’t bothered to file his ethics statement for three years.

At this point, anyone who reads the Eugene Register-Guard knows about it, and the $500 fine that the ethics commission levied against him.

I have known people in the past that declined to serve on a council, commission or board because they weren’t willing to fill out the form. That’s their choice.

But it’s something all elected and appointed (like the planning commission) officials are required to fill out … and if they continue to serve, it’s not an option.

I guess Mr. Clark is finally figuring that out as he strives for higher office.

*           *           *

The 65th annual Bandon Cranberry Festival has come to a close; it was a huge success from everything that I could see. Saturday’s weather was absolutely gorgeous; in fact some said it was too hot. But the weather was a bit more “usual’ on Sunday, with fog in the morning and later a south wind, but by 4 o’clock, as everyone was packing up to leave, the bright sun appeared.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people in town for the festival, and part of it, I am sure, is due to the good job that Colleen and Clyde Showalter did on handling the publicity, along with just about everything else.

There were more events this year, including a new petting zoo-attraction for children, that was very popular.

Something that occurred Sunday afternoon upset a lot of people … particularly when they learned that it is not against the law to stand on a soap box, with a very loud amplifier, and shout out about religion.A guy was standing on the sidewalk at the west end of the Pedway, and several of the vendors, whose tents were only a short distance away, complained loudly.

Colleen and Clyde tried their best to get the guy (who turned out to be someone from Coquille) to leave, but he shouted out that they were “God haters” and a number of other equally mean things.

One vendor confronted the guy. She was particularly upset since this was the 10-year anniversary of 9-11. She said “you’re no better than Al Qaeda” after he had let everyone within earshot know where they were headed if they didn’t believe like he did. It was extremely offensive, but as we later learned, not against the law. The police finally persuaded him to move … and he did, several blocks away near the chamber office and the Century 21 office.

The vendors felt that he should have been required to pay the same fee that they had to in order to set up their tent in Old Town, but as we pointed out to them, the chamber does not allow religious or political booths, so he would not have been given a permit. And since he obviously didn’t need one, why bother?

All I can say for the guy is he lost a lot more people for his “cause” than he gained. And if that was his mission – he succeeded.

But, in spite of that, it was a wonderful festival and people seemed to really be having fun.

*           *           *

An item in a recent column about the length of time it takes to speak to a real person when calling a large company, like Chevron, generated a response by one of my readers. Robert Campbell suggested that the “next time you find yourself in a phone menu hell, try this web site first: It can usually get you to a live person more quickly.” Thanks, Bob, I will definitely try it.

*           *           *

I can certainly understand people wanting to ban plastic bags, but one Los Angeles councilor now wants to ban both single-use paper and plastic bags. While LA County, Santa Monica and other municipalities have banned plastic bags in recent years, most have allowed stores to sell paper ones for a fee. But the councilor says that paper bags are still generating litter.

Under the L.A. proposal, stores would be permitted to give away or sell only reusable tote bags, or risk a fine. An exemption would be made for small plastic bags meant to keep raw vegetables and meats separated from other groceries to prevent cross-contamination.

It’s ironic that the people who would be most affected, the California Grocers Association, actually supported a proposed statewide ban on plastic bags, which died in the Legislature last year. It was opposed by the American Chemistry Council, the lobbying group that represents the plastic bag industry.

I don’t think most communities would support the idea of banning both plastic and paper, but eventually I am sure more states will move toward the plastic bag ban.

*           *           *

I was invited to join the Class of 1976 at their 35-year reunion held over the weekend at classmate Brett Johnson’s fabulous house south of Bandon. Not only was my youngest sister, Mindy, a member of the class, but I taught photography at the high school for several years and many of my students were in that class.

Some of those “kids” I hadn’t seen since they graduated from high school, and it was definitely fun getting to talk with them again.

I was absolutely blown away by the gorgeous house that Brett built. It is rented by the night as a vacation rental dwelling for $425, and it is more than worth the price. It has four bedroom suites, a top of the line kitchen, an outdoor kitchen, a huge sunken living room, multiple decks and the most beautiful wood floors I’ve ever seen.

I knew Brett was good at photography, but I had no idea he could build something of that magnitude.

My brother-in-law is an electrician and he couldn’t stop raving about the house. It’s that stunning.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 07, 2011

I had no idea it would be so hard to be “divorced” after having been single for 29 years. I have had my Chevron gas card for nearly 50 years (48 to be exact) and for the first time ever I received two credit cards in the mail this week as mine was about to expire. I didn’t pay any attention to the names on the card, but when I turned them over to sign the back, I noticed that the three-digit PIN number, or whatever it’s called, was different. That’s strange, I thought, until I turned over the card and saw that the second card was issued to Ronald Lee Schamehorn.

Earlier in the day I had received an “important” letter from AARP also addressed to Ron. It’s been nearly 30 years since we shared the same post office box, and although I keep in touch with him and his sister at Christmastime, I haven’t seen him for years. And I doubt that he wants to share my Chevron account.

I decided to call Chevron and find out why, after all these years, they decided to send him a credit card.

After going through all the usual “press this or that,” in both English and Spanish, I finally was able to talk to a real person. I explained my predicament, and she said that he was still listed on my account. She immediately removed his name and told me just to cut up the second card. Wow, that’s easy, I thought.

I had put his card alongside the phone while making the call, but didn’t see it. I went over and got a pair of scissors out of the drawer and rather ceremoniously began cutting the card in half … until I realized with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had just cut up my own card … not Ron’s. Actually I had cut three-quarters of the way through it, but there was no way that any gas station was going to try and run it through their system.

So I started over again …. with the “press here” and “press this” until I finally got a person (not, thank heavens, the first one I had spoken with). I sheepishly told her my story and she said, “No problem, we’ll just send you another card.”

If it doesn’t come soon, I will probably be paying cash for my gas because my old card is about to expire and the other one is in two pieces.

*           *           *

It never ceases to amaze me what a useful tool the computer is. This week my boyfriend brought me papers from five or six different parts of the country, ranging from Georgia to Florida to Wyoming.

I was reading through a paper from Atlanta when I noticed an obituary for a beautiful young woman, 23 years old, and it said, in spite of her tragic death she had lived a wonderful life, etc.

I couldn’t stand it. I wondered how she died. Was it suicide? Was it murder? I had to find out. I ran to the computer and Googled her name and up came the story. And it really was a tragedy.

She had just graduated with honors from a Georgia college, and her mother had driven her to San Francisco on July 22 to start what her parents described as her “dream job in a city she loved.”

Unfortunately, she was hit in the head by the mirror on a transit bus as she crossed the street in the cross walk (almost to the other side). The bus was driven by a brand new driver, who had taken the wrong route (no buses allowed). The bus was making a sharp turn and the mirror struck the young woman, knocking her down beneath the bus.

It was a very sad story, but I would not have known what happened had it not been for the Internet.

*           *           *

Credit card companies are definitely busy trying to figure out new ways to separate you from your money, but this week was a first. I had charged $1,200 on a credit card several months ago, and the first month I paid $800, and 30 days later, I paid it off … or so I thought.

But this week I received a bill from my Bank of America Visa Signature card for $1.50. That’s right. One dollar and fifty cents, with a late payment warning. If they did not receive my payment, they could assess me a late fee of up to $35 and my APR could be increased up to the Penalty APR of 29.99 percent.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford the $1.50; it was the idea that they could assess a fee against my account when I had already paid the bill. They received my payment on July 25, and assessed the “minimum interest charge” on Aug. 12.

I immediately called them (another of those press this or that calls) and finally reached someone. What gives? I asked.

A guy tried to explain it to me. It wasn’t too clear, but he convinced me it was a legitimate fee. So I transferred the $1.50 from my bank account and cleared it up.

I wonder what they would have done had I not paid it on time.

But I didn’t want to chance it for 150 pennies.

*           *           *

We really had some gorgeous weather over Labor Day, and I’m just hoping it will hold for the Cranberry Festival this weekend and also for the two-night stay by the 2,200 bicyclists and their 800 staff people who are scheduled to stay in City Park Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 13-14.

I couldn’t believe the number of people who were walking around Old Town Sunday. It was like we’d rolled back the calendar eight or 10 years when I remember summers being so crowded that we had a parking problem.

I’m sure our merchants wish we had that problem today (and not just on one weekend a year), but it really was nice to see so many happy people enjoying our shops.

previous columns by mary schamehorn