As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 26, 2012

Wow! My opponent, Mike Claassen, is certainly trying hard to get his flawed message across to the voters. Not only was his letter to the editor in the Western World and the World, but last week it appeared in the Coquille Sentinel. Not sure how many voters in Coquille will be casting their vote for Bandon mayor, but maybe a few Bandon people read that paper. I was not surprised that he didn't send it to the county's fourth newspaper, the Herald of Myrtle Point, since I am the editor. But we probably would have run it, and it would have been easy for me to respond.

I have printed up a bunch of "We support Mary Schamehorn for Mayor" 8 1/2 x 11 cards for people to put in their car windows. Anyone who would like one or more can contact me by email at or call me at 541-404-7291.

*           *           *

I think I figured out my problem with Internet Explorer. As I think I mentioned last week it was taking anywhere from 45 to 85 seconds to open, and that was way too long since I recently purchased a much faster Acer 5 core (whatever that means) computer. I finally had Comspan remotely look at my connection, and they said it was fine; in fact, it was faster than a lot of their customers.

The guy who called me from their Roseburg office said I might consider downloading Firefox as my web browser ... and it made all the difference in the world. Instead of taking 60 seconds to open, it takes less than six.

I am sure I will figure out that there is a downside to using Firefox, but right now I don't know what it is. They say "ignorance is bliss" and so far I'm happy with its performance.

My email on the other hand is a different story. I use Windows Live Mail, and lately it's been giving me a lot of problems. Not only am I not able to embed a picture, or my column, in the body of the email, but my friend sent me pictures embedded in an email, and when I tried to reply, it wouldn't let me. The first couple of times it said I didn't have enough memory; now it says "the message could not be sent. A problem has occurred. Please try again." No kidding. I can figure out I have a problem. I just don't know what it is.

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There are so many scams going around, that I don't know where to start. An older lady from Myrtle Point called me last week to say that she'd gotten two calls from a foreign sounding man, pretending to be from the Social Security Administration. He told her that they were sending out new Medicare cards. He asked her if she banked at Umpqua Bank; she said she did. He asked if the bank number that he gave her was correct; it was.

But then he asked her for her checking account number. That she did not give him; instead she hung up. But he called back, and again the next day. She called the SSA, the sheriff's office, and the MP Police and was advised to contact the paper to let people know about the latest scam.

Considering the number of elderly people who are still falling for the grandparent scam, in spite of many warnings, I am pretty sure that someone will give out their bank account number without thinking.

The elderly are usually targeted by phone since most of them don't use email. But for some reason, it's even more convincing when someone calls you often in the middle of the night and professes to be your grandchild, who needs financial help immediately.

I talked recently to the neat lady who works behind the service desk at Ray's, and she said she has talked quite a few people out of wiring money to their "grandchildren" without talking first to their son or daughter to find out if the request is legitimate. So far, it hasn't been.

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I talked Sunday with a couple from the tri-cities area of Washington, who were on a tour bus which stopped for a few hours in Bandon, en route from Crescent City to Eugene. They asked me how long we'd had such gorgeous weather. I smiled and held up three fingers, explaining that we'd had nothing but fog for quite a few days before it finally burst forth on Friday. She was happy that they'd picked the weekend to stop in Bandon and said how much she liked Old Town and the neat shops.

It always makes me feel good when someone praises our shops ...

They weren't the only group stopping in Bandon. I understand there was a group of maybe 25 photographers who spent several days here. My friend, who was walking his dog on the beach, came upon a big group, with tripods, taking pictures of our beautiful beach.

That may account for the influx of people who seemed to be in town over the weekend. Whatever the reason, let's hope they keep coming.

*           *           *

My mom, my sister Molly and I were coming out of Pacific Blues Sunday afternoon when I noticed a big van headed the wrong way on Second Street. I went out into the street and motioned for them to turn into the Minute Cafe parking lot. I turned around just in time to see a Utah vehicle coming toward me. He rudely suggested that I get out of the middle of the street.

I replied that I was trying to keep him from getting hit head on.

But under my breath, I muttered a slightly different message. That I won't share ....

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 19, 2012

I think I finally figured out how to run a campaign: have your opponent write an arrogant letter against you. You would be amazed at the people who stopped me on the street after his letter appeared in Western World two weeks ago (and again in the World on Saturday). They urged me to respond. And I did. Unfortunately some people saw only my response and wasn't sure what I was responding to. Hopefully they saw the letter in the World so they will know.

People that I wasn't sure would vote for me have come forward to pledge their support. I think the final blow for many was his apparent attempt at trying to take credit for the cheese factory.

Let's see? Who was the mayor when the deal was signed? Was it Mike Claassen? I don't think so.

I'm not sure if he plans to continue his letter-writing campaign, but, if so, I'm ready.

I personally would never have written a letter like that; but I'm certainly not going to sit back and not respond.

Surely he knows me better than that.

P. S. I will be forming a PAC so that I can accept campaign contributions; if any of my readers would be willing to contribute, checks can be sent in my name to P. O. Box 521, Bandon, OR. I am also putting together a list of supporters, some of whom don't live inside the city limits, but they either work here or shop here and are willing to have their names appear in my support ad.

*           *           *

My ongoing saga of dealing with my Powers renters took a turn for the worse Friday. A friend and I went to Powers where we were joined by the police chief to go over to the property and serve them with an eviction notice.

We finally managed to get inside the fenced-off property. We knew they were inside the house because their vehicle was in the yard but, of course, they wouldn't come to the door. Everything was locked up tight.

Fortunately I had made three copies of the eviction notice, so we put one through the front door, another on the windshield of their vehicle and the police chief took the third one to personally hand to them as soon as he sees them this week.

I'm not sure what the next step is, but I don't think it's going to be fun.

The neighbors have told me they are so fearful of these people and their friends that they call each other when they are going to be gone for fear of what will happen to their homes.

I have apologized over and over again to the neighbors and have promised them that if I ever get these people out of the house, I will immediately put the property up for sale.

Even though the property is pretty much a mess, the river-front acre (260 feet of river frontage) seems to have survived quite well and that is where the value is, so that is what I will sell.

*           *           *

Having read of another successful grandparent scam this time in Lakeside, I commented favorably to the woman at the service desk at Ray's when I saw that they would not wire money after 8 p.m. (or maybe it was 8:30), nor would they wire money to Nigeria.

The elderly person in Lakeside wired $1,700 to Lima, Peru, to someone she thought was her grandson. It was after the scammers called her back the next day asking for more money did she finally figure out it was a scam.

The lady at Ray's said that she has begged people, who have come in wanting to wire money to their "grandchild," to please call their son or daughter and find out if their grandchild really is in need of help. She said she is thankful that she has been able to persuade people to call a family member BEFORE they wire money to someone they don't know.

But not everyone will make the effort to save a person from himself. They just bite their tongue and handle the transaction.

It's hard to believe with all the publicity that has surrounded the "grandparent scam" that people would still send money . . . based on a simple phone call.

But, sadly, they do.

If you want to do your elderly parent, neighbor or friend a big favor ... remind them NEVER to send money to someone who has contacted them over the phone, or to give out any personal information.

*           *           *

There have been quite a few burglaries in the Auction Barn Road - Two Mile area lately and people need to be extremely diligent about noticing people who may be hanging around in the area casing properties.

A garage was broken into over Labor Day weekend on Auction Barn Road, and someone stole a diesel generator, a gas generator, a gas powered compressor, an Echo gas weed eater with attachments, and a Stihl chain saw with a 24-inch bar.

The next call on the sheriff's department log came from someone on Two Mile Lane who had noticed a suspicious vehicle sitting along the road and then pulling into a neighbor's driveway. They called police because they were "concerned due to problems with burglaries and thefts in the past."

Sometimes people hesitate to call the police, but it's definitely better to err on the side of caution than to wait and find out your neighbor has been burglarized ... and you did nothing to stop it.

*           *           *

My friend Mary Anker was wearing a neat black top the other day when I saw her at the Cranberry Festival marketplace. I wondered what "foreman" meant until she turned around and showed me the back of her shirt, which read "Twelve Angry Jurors."

She told me she is in the play, which opened Sept. 14, and will continue this weekend (Sept. 21-23) at the Sprague Theater. It's a production of Don VanDyke and his WATTCH group and is an adaptation of "12 Angry Men."

I definitely plan to attend this weekend. People can call 329-0101 for more information.

I almost went Sunday, but it was so beautiful out, and since I know it won't last much longer, I couldn't bear to be inside on such a perfect day.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 12, 2012

Thanks to all my readers who told me what I was doing wrong when I wasn't allowed to correct a word, without the computer deleting the letter in front of it. I realize now that I have been accidentally hitting the "insert" key, when I was actually trying to backspace. Now when it happens, I immediately hit the insert key again, and everything is back to "normal."

It's been only a little more than a month since I purchased my new Acer computer, but I have been having a few problems. Often when I click on Internet Explorer, it takes over 60 seconds before anything happens. The next time, things happen almost instantly.

It often says that the "Google homepage is not responding," and I have to start over to get anything to happen. I think I need to contact my favorite computer guy, Takashi Haruna, and see what's going on.

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It is Sunday afternoon as I write my column and all I can say is "what a difference 24 hours make." We went from one of the coldest days of the summer to one of the warmest. Unfortunately the cold one was Saturday, which made watching the Cranberry Festival parade a bit uncomfortable. People still turned out in droves for the festival, but everywhere I went they were talking about the weather.

Then about 5 o'clock on Saturday, the sun came out... but it was a little late for that day's activities. I got up in the middle of the night and saw that the stars were out ... instead of the fog, and I knew Sunday was going to be great. And I was right.

People who were manning booths were actually complaining about the heat Sunday, but it was a welcome relief and was such a stark contrast from the previous day.

I'm ready for a long stretch of Indian Summer weather.

Lots of people were in town this weekend for the Cranberry Festival and the 50-year class reunion of BHS class of 1962.

Chairmen of the reunion, Bonnie Cochran Stephens and Kathy Lakey Phillips, worked hard to make the reunion a success, and I understand that 25 members of the class, along with spouses and other guests, enjoyed a dinner Saturday night at the big meeting yurt at Bullards Beach State Park.

I went out while they were setting up for the evening and saw several class members that I hadn't seen for many years. True, I was five years ahead of them, but in a small school like Bandon (where we were all in the same building from seventh through twelfth grades), we always knew everyone behind and ahead of us.

It was a fun weekend.

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I will be interested to hear from the Old Town merchants to see how they did with the placement of about a dozen booths in the middle of Second Street. I've heard several opinions about the placement of the booths. Some of the vendors felt they were spread too far apart, and it might make people think that quite a few of them had already left. But that wasn't the case.

Another friend thought it was a good idea because it allowed people to see the windows and storefronts of the businesses in Old Town.

I know the parking is a problem when you shut off so many streets, but it pretty much becomes necessary when most of the festival is staged in the heart of Old Town.

*           *           *

We've been asked when to expect construction to begin on the new cheese factory. Matt said the developers had actually planned to fence off the site the week before the festival, but knowing what a problem parking might be, he persuaded them to wait so the lot could be used for festival parking. That was a good idea.

My guess is that we will see construction begin very soon.

Everyone is pretty excited about a new cheese factory.

*           *           *

I've had quite a few comments about the problems I've experienced with renters at my Powers property. I sent a certified letter to my renter on Aug. 31, and paid for online tracking, which was to allow me to tell when he picked up the letter. But it didn't tell me anything. Even with help from my Bandon postmaster friend Dave Robinson, who ended up calling the Powers PO twice, it appears that not only did he not pick up the certified letter, but he hasn't been picking up his mail at all.

I decided to call my friend, Powers Police Chief Rhett Davis, and just as I called him, he was getting a call from my neighbor saying my renters hadn't been there "in days," and she thinks one of their dogs was locked inside the house and the other was roaming the property. Rhett said he would go over and see what he could determine. That was Friday afternoon and so far I haven't heard from him ... which is probably not a good sign.

Oh yes, I mentioned that the first time they had their water shut off, they had used 45,000 gallons (4,000 is normal even with watering plants), and as property owner I had received a bill for over $400. But they went down to City Hall and paid it, even though they never bothered to pay their rent.

Guess what, the next time the city read the bill, they had used ANOTHER 65,000 gallons of water. You might think they had a leak, but the guy who read the water meter the first time, said the needle wasn't moving, which indicates it is not a leak.

That is the equivalent of three swimming pools full of water that was used in a 30-day period.

I can only guess what we will find when we finally do get onto the property. But I try not to think about it ....

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

September 05, 2012

It's bad enough that Coos and Curry counties both have their annual fairs on the same weekend, but there are several conflicts right in our area with the Bandon Cranberry Festival, which is this weekend.

Robert Jump, an on-line editor from Coquille, is sponsoring a big barbecue contest on Saturday, and it seems that is also the date of the very popular Gold Beach Brew and Art Festival. I've gone to that in years past, and it was a fun event.

You would think that groups would check with each other before they plan their major fundraisers ... on the same weekend.

Hey, there are 51 other weeks on the calendar.

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In the September issue, Golf Digest listed their top 50 public golf courses in the United States. And guess what, four of the top six were in Bandon (Old Macdonald, Bandon Preserve, Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes) with Bandon Trails coming in at 27th.

Pebble Beach Golf Links was still No.1, but who's complaining . . .

About the Preserve the writer said: "The new 13-hole par-3 course at the No. 1 U.S. golf resort might become the most popular. Most holes have ocean views, and it can be played in less than 90 minutes."

About Bandon Dunes: "The resort's original 18. Catch the end of the back nine at sunset and you might decide to extend your stay a day, a week or a month."

That's what we like to hear ....

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The night before the groundbreaking for the new cheese factory, it was raining pretty hard. In a panic, I called Matt at home and said: "what's the alternative if it rains." He laughed and assured me it wasn't going to rain.

And he was right, the weather couldn't have been nicer. Bright sun and hardly any wind. So many people are happy to see construction actually starting (well, maybe the pile of rocks we dug with the golden shovels doesn't qualify), but we know it will be happening soon.

Members of the Drobot family, including the owner, Greg, were on hand for the festivities. The city owes them a debt of gratitude for undertaking this huge project, and they acknowledge that it would not have happened without the Urban Renewal dollars the City was able to use to buy the property and pay for the infrastructure.

This is a good example of the perfect public/private partnership.

And we all benefit . . . .

*           *           *

In last week's column, I talked about jurors being picked off the street for a trial in Judge Mike Gillespie's courtroom.

I have now learned quite a bit more about what happened ... and it's not pretty. A friend of mine, who had knowledge of the incident, emailed me with, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

Here's what he had to say: "Last week during a marital rape trial in the Coos County court, the jury pool was deemed to be thin.

"The judge, Michael Gillespie, then asked the bailiff to round up jurors. Four jury seekers then hit downtown Coquille looking for viable candidates. Residents were shanghaied into serving. While this sounds beyond belief, read on...

"During the seating of the jury, each prospective juror was interrogated as to their past and how their lives were affected by abuse.

"The most personal information was explored and many candidates were humiliated by the past and the exposing of their own dark moments. Hapless 'volunteers' were reduced to sobbing and crying in front of the filled courtroom.

"The jury was seated.

"The accused was deemed innocent.

"Justice, at any cost."

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* * I am having a lot of problems with my new computer, but the latest is one that surfaced a couple of times with my old one, too, and if I remember correctly, one of my readers knew what the problem was. When I am typing an item and notice that I have omitted a letter or want to make a change of any kind, each time that I add a letter, it deletes the letter in front of it ... and so on.

I have had to redo entire paragraphs and I don't want to keep doing that. So if you know what I am doing wrong, or not doing right, please let me know.

It is pretty frustrating to do something over and over again to get it right.

Since I learned on an IMac, it may have something to do with a right click, which I seldom use.

previous columns by mary schamehorn