to the past issues of The Back Fence 2009
Welcome to the Back Fence. This is my corner for chit-chat and all
the gossip that’s fit to print, something like the little
weekly column I once wrote for a local newspaper.
writing my final column, my Swan Song, so to speak, many of my readers
have come up to me and thanked me for my news about Bay City and
the folks who live in it. Here, I propose to continue trying to
keep you informed, just not in print. Look for my Back Fence every
week or so, though at this formative stage in my new publishing
venture, I can’t say which day a new Back Fence will appear.
has been a busy summer, and it’s hard to believe that it’s
over. As I’ve said more than once, we need to have summers
with more weekends.
and I were really flummoxed when we read our most recent water bill.
Would you believe, we used more than 14,000 gallons last month?
And we don’t even have a swimming pool. At least, not that
either of us know about. Our water bill had been creeping up each
month, but neither of us gave it much thought. Just forked over
the cash without question while the City smiled all the way to the
know, Sharline and I had marveled at that one spot of vibrant, lush,
green grass in our back yard, especially since we never water our
lawn — or what passes as our lawn. Well, since that was precisely
the spot Joe, my son-in-law, and I had repaired a leak five years
ago, I figured that was a pretty good spot to look for another leak.
I dug down a little bit, and found the pea gravel in the old hole
with was pretty wet.
Plumbing to the rescue! They arrived at precisely the time they
said they would, and finished the job in just 30 minutes. When the
plumbers dug down a bit, they were greeted by Old Faithful, sans
steam. Once the water valves on both ends were secured, the repair
went off without a hitch. When Joe and I made a similar repair five
years ago, it took us almost the entire day. But we enjoyed each
other’s company between cuss words.
and I were becoming quite concerned, because we hadn’t seen
our usual deer for several weeks. It seemed as though they had abandoned
us. Perhaps the blackberries were bigger and riper elsewhere. But,
happily, several days ago when I came home from the store, I was
greeted by a very handsome buck and his doe. And they were certainly
scarfing down on our blackberries. Eat heartily, little friends,
but remember, when you leave your calling cards, leave them somewhere
else. We don’t want all those fertilized berry seeds lurking
like a time bomb in our front yard.
best wishes to Judy Wadley, Bay City’s Postmaster, on her
recent birthday. I learned is was her birthday when I found Vicki
sitting in for her Thursday, Sept. 3. Vicki said Judy and Glen were
off celebrating. By coincidence, Sept. 3 also happens to be my brother’s
birthday. Seems he experienced a low blood sugar episode while driving
his son, Timothy, to dinner in Stanardsville, VA. So, right now,
he’s sporting a neck brace and resting comfortably at a rehabilitation
center. Happily, his broken neck vertebrae didn’t produce
any neurological injuries.
I have written previously, we’re looking forward to celebrating
our Bay City centennial in 2010. It will probably be in September
or early October. The county clerk, on Sept. 2, 1910, tallied the
vote count and declared that the voters in Bay City, all 48 of them,
had agreed to incorporate. The city charter was formally adopted
Dec. 22 that year.
September 25, about 2 p.m., Helen Wright will call the first meeting
of the Centennial Celebration Committee to order at City Hall. She
has a ton of ideas for the celebration, so we’ll be hitting
the ground running.
One more thing. Judy, our birthday girl, Mark Taylor and I are working
on getting an Information Kiosk built along the north property line
in the post office parking lot. If we’re successful, Bay City
residents will once again have a place to put up their notices about
lost dogs, cats and kids. I’ll keep you posted.
about it for this week. I’ve gone way beyond the 440 words
I was allowed in my former journalistic career. See you next week
over the Back Fence.
making progress. When the Tillamook postmaster outlawed community
notices on the windows of the post office, it took away a place
for Bay City residents to post information about craft sales,
lost pets, missing kids, bake sales, or whatever.
a plan evolved from a conversation between Judy Wadley, our
local postmaster, and Linda Vining, president of the Bay City
Boosters. Then, along came Mark Taylor, Bay City’s factotum
and master of all trades — sort of. How about putting
a community information kiosk at the edge of the post office
parking lot? The more they kicked it around, the better it sounded.
Sept. 15, the City Council gave its blessing to the idea of
putting up an information kiosk, subject to the City Attorney’s
determination whether it will be necessary to obtain a setback
variance from the Planning Commission. And, should that be necessary,
the Council agreed to waive the application fee. Of course,
Judy and I would have to recuse ourselves from deliberating
on the variance, since we’re both on the Commission.
any event, I see a community information and news kiosk in Bay
City’s future. It will be located next to the sidewalk
and against the fence along the north property line. There will
be a roof to keep some of the raindrops off. Mark will donate
his labor to build the kiosk, and we’ll get some donations
to buy the materials. The bulletin board will be protected by
two locking glass doors, to which Postmaster Judy will have
the key. Anyone posting a notice would have to get the key from
have a policy on how long a notice may remain posted, probably
two weeks or the day following an advertised event. I’ll
monitor the bulletin board for new notices and date them. And,
I’ll post some one-liners trumpeting the latest Bay City
news. And, of course, you can get the full story right here.
like to welcome Barbara Phelps as Bay City’s new Fencepost
writer. She came into the newspaper office and volunteered to
write Fencepost and cover the Council meetings. Good luck on
your new venture, Barbara. You’ll find it interesting
speaking of enjoyable, congratulations to Chuck Bartholet on
that lunker 30-pound Chinook salmon he caught Saturday at the
Ghost Hole. He said he was going to smoke it. Linda Vining said
her husband, Pat, has done well fishing in the bay, but he fishes
on the far side. However, she told me, Pat got skunked Sunday.
That’s because it was the 13th, Pat.
looks as if one of the unfinished houses on Portland Ave. may
soon be sold. Sharline and I will certainly be glad to see those
unfinished houses completed and occupied. Those empty buildings
are little more than an attractive nuisance right now. They
are the sad product of our recent economic downturn, when credit
tightened and construction came to a screeching halt.
hope things pick up soon and we start getting some bucks flowing
and people working. I fear for our City finances this fall,
when the tax revenues come in. Our tax receipts may be a bit
skinny this year, with people out of work and unable to pay
their property taxes. The City can’t spend money it doesn’t
receive, no matter how carefully crafted its budget might be.
Keep your fingers crossed.
that’s it. See you next week over the Back Fence.
fools these mortals be,” mused Puck in Shakespeare’s
Midsummer Night’s Dream. And that guy was right on the money.
In our modern society, even the most simple, well-intentioned deeds
are fraught with all sorts of hidden bureaucratic perils. And we
do it to ourselves. And, to my eternal shame, as a member of the
Planning Commission, I’m a part of it.
started as a simple plan to put up a community information kiosk
next to the post office has become ensnarled in a red tape Gordian
Knot. The City Council was very supportive of having a venue for
the kiosk where many in Bay City come almost daily to collect their
mail, buy stamps, or visit with Judy Wadley, our postmaster. We
thought we had the consent of the property owners involved —
David Seed for the property to the North, and Brian Clark for the
post office property — as well as a site plan and a conceptual
drawing of the kiosk.
City Council OK’d the idea, subject to the city attorney’s
determination whether we had to go to the Planning Commission for
a setback variance. And, as I fully expected, Lois Albright, our
city attorney, ruled that the ordinance required a variance and
therefore a hearing before the Planning Commission. But the City
had greased the skids for us in waiving the required fee.
far, so good. Minor complication, but nothing insurmountable. All
I had to do was fill out the request for the setback variance and
get the post office building property owner to sign it. Well, it
turns out that Brian doesn’t own the 10-foot strip along the
property line with the Seed property to the North, where the kiosk
is to be built. Brian’s property description includes only
the South 40 feet of Lot 12 in Block 4; lot 12 is 50 feet wide.
who owns that 10-foot strip? Good question. The tax records show
Rhonda Lane, Norman Rucka and David Rucka as the owners of the strip.
I understand that Rhonda is deceased, so it would appear that the
two Ruckas each own half. Maybe.
challenge, impossible as it may seem, is to contact the Ruckas and
explain that we want to put up a community information kiosk on
their strip next to the post office, because the postmaster in Tillamook
no longer allows posting of community notices on the post office
windows. Then I must secure their permission, and, finally, get
them to sign the application for a setback variance and public hearing
before the Planning Commission. But to do that, I must first have
a phone number. Now, that will be the granddaddy of all cold calls!
Absent a phone number, I must write a very convoluted letter explaining
our plight. You know, it was much easier 100 years ago, when you
could seal a deal with a handshake.
public notice requirements make it impossible, now, to get a hearing
earlier than the November meeting. We can’t make the newspaper
deadline to publish notice of an October hearing 20 days in advance.
We might possibly have made that deadline had Brian actually owned
that strip, as we all thought he did.
Before I forget it, the Bay City Boosters begin their new business
year Friday, Sept. 25. Potluck goes down at 11:30 a.m. The meeting
starts when we’ve all eaten our fill. Everyone is welcome.
the Boosters meeting, at 2 p.m., there’ll be a meeting of
area business owners and others interested in planning the Bay City
Centennial Celebration, set for late summer or early autumn in 2010.
Coincidentally, the Port of Garibaldi, originally the Port of Bay
City, also celebrates its centennial next year. Who knows, maybe
we’ll do a couple of things together.
that’s it. See you next week over the Back Fence.
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