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Welcome to the past issues of -- Over The Back Fence 2010

April 12, 2010

 

It's tax time, as if anyone didn't know it. I swear, that process gets more arduous and convoluted with each year's tax returns. Or maybe I'm just getting too old to cope with it. Probably a bit of both.

I like to joke about the hundreds of pages of relentless tax code simplification the government grinds out each year. In his column in the April 4 Oregonian, Brent Hunsberger provides some solid facts to chew on. Referring to our "ever-shifting U.S. tax code," Hunsberger states that it took, on average, 26 hours and 40 minutes to prepare the 2006 tax return, according to Internal Revenue Service figures.

Hunsberger adds that the tax code has "endured 3,250 changes since 2001," and that "the number of words in the tax code has nearly tripled." I, personally, think there must be some kind of competition to see who can dream up the dummest things to cram into the tax code.

Also in the April 4 Oregonian, Steve Duin describes his interview with former senator Bob Packwood. Packwood chaired the Senate Finance Committee which produced the 1986 Tax Reform Act, a relatively clean piece of legislation which lowered taxes dramatically and eliminated most of the loopholes. According to Duin, Packwood said he did it through a bit of subterfuge which kept the lobbyists away from the sessions where the sausage was actually being made.

But, alas, that Act was doomed to a brief shelf life. Most of the loopholes have been restored and everyone agrees that our tax policy is a mess, Duin wrote. Once the loopholes are out of the tax code, it takes no time at all for them to start trickling back in. It's like a hole in the dike --- it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and there are ever-increasing numbers of stupid calculations guys like me have to make when figuring our taxes each year.

Sharline and I use a car three or four times a year to do craft shows --- about 140 miles total. But if we try to claim mileage as a business (or medical) expense, the IRS wants a history of the car. And we're not even claiming depreciation.

And for the room where I grind this stuff out for my readers, even though I'm not claiming any depreciation for "office in home," the feds still want to know how many square feet I use to pound on my keyboard --- and how many square feet there are in my house. Sheer and utter nonsense.

Some day I'd like to see a study to determine the adverse impact on health from the stress and physical inactivity involved in preparing tax returns and complying with government paperwork requirements. Perhaps the feds will be impressed enough to cut the paperwork and simplify tax preparation in order to postpone the inevitable heart attack or stroke for another 10 years or so. That additional 10 years of productivity should squeeze us for enough to put a small dent in the national debt. Think about it, Congress!

My good friend Robin Taylor asked me again to spread the word about the VFW Auxiliary and Beta Sigma Phi Plant, Craft Sale and Flea Market on May 1 at the Bay City Community Hall. Cost for vendors is $15 per table. If you have an accumulation of stuff that's gathered dust through the years, and who doesn't, this would be the time and place to get rid of it and turn a buck or two in the process. And for those who have a hankering to pick up some odd or hard-to-find artifacts, here's your chance to go bargain hunting.

 

 

If you're interested in having a table at the plant and craft sale, you may contact Robin for more information and an application. You can reach her by phone at (503) 801-0505, or by e-mail at sparky_5_97141@yahoo.com. Sharline has two tables this year, one for her knitted items, and the other for our outdated artifacts and white elephants. As I said, cost per table is $15; checks should be made payable to Beta Sigma Phi and mailed to Robin Taylor at P.O. Box 674, Tillamook, OR 97141.

I'm happy to report that the ArtSpace Café is back in operation. The couple who had been doing the breakfasts are now doing their thing somewhere in the Valley. Trisha Kauffman told me recently that she shut the operation down for a week while she and Craig regrouped. Yesterday, April 11, the OPEN sign was out and Sharline and I decided to give it a whirl. We enjoyed a great breakfast, well prepared and promptly served. The secret: they put Quinny to work doing the breakfasts.

ArtSpace again serves breakfast and brunch six days a week, Sunday through Friday. They open for breakfast at 8 a.m.

I got a nice e-mail from Deborah Boone, our representative in the Oregon Legislature, a while back. Last year, Deb had promised to attend our Veterans Day observance at the Air Museum. But on Nov. 7, the day the observance was held, poor Deb was abed in one of our North Coast hospitals. Illness happens, and invariably at the most inconvenient times. But Deb promised me faithfully that she would schedule her 2010 illnesses to occur at times other than our Veterans Day observance, which, this year, will really be on Nov. 11. So, I am looking forward to seeing you there, Deb.

And, Deb, our program this year promises to be the best ever. Our 2010 Veterans Day program will honor our WWII veterans. That war ended 65 years ago. We'll have two guest speakers this year: Dr. Clayton Kelly Gross, who flew fighter missions over Germany, and Peggy Lutz, who has written about her wartime experiences. Dr. Gross was pictured in a recent issue of The Oregonian in an article about the Liberty Belle, a restored B-17 which soon will be visiting the Tillamook Air Museum.

And, there's something really special happening this year. Arrangements have been made to award the Oregon Medal to local veterans. Applications for award of the medal will soon be available at participating businesses around Tillamook County. In addition, many veterans will be receiving applications in the mail, as part of a letter inviting them to attend this year's Veterans Day celebration. We're working on getting transportation for the veterans who can't get to the celebration on their own, and we're looking into heating the area where the celebration is held.

The Oregon Medal award ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m., after the regular program and the flyovers have ended. Medal recipients must be there to receive their medals. The only exception is medals for deceased veterans, which may be accepted posthumously by a next of kin. Medal applicants will be asked to provide a copy of their DD-214, or equivalent proof of service for WWII veterans, which will be returned after eligibility has been verified.

And finally, I would be remiss if I failed to wish my friend, Bill Rust, a very happy birthday on April 17. Maybe we should serve Bill a birthday cake at the VFW district meeting in Bay City that day. Bill is commander of the Bay City post.

April 23, 2010

I haven't mentioned Jaime Heup for several weeks. She is somewhat improved, I am informed, conscious and able to communicate with anyone who can read lips. Because she has a tracheotomy, she cannot communicate vocally. I am told she is in good spirits.

Right off the top, many of you may have noticed the patch of ground between the church and ArtSpace. That's going to be a community garden. And, to that end, there will be a fundraising meatloaf dinner at ArtSpace Sunday, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., paid for by donations. Quinnie makes outstanding meatloaf --- Sharline and I have tried it several times. Sounds to me like a great way to kick off a community garden. Danielle Hurd suggested in her e-mail announcing the event, that we might bring a packet of seeds to start things off.

This will make a total of three community gardens in Bay City. Ed Ketzel has started a garden at Spruce and 14th Streets, and the Arts Center is putting one in on the vacant property north of The Landing. Community gardens are a great way to grow veggies for your family when you don't have a suitable spot at home to do it, and a great way to use undeveloped land. In my opinion, there can never be too many community gardens.

I few weeks ago I called my friend, Wes Curry, at King Tree Small Engine Repair. Wes told me he was no longer physically able to do the work, and was shutting down his business. Later, I received an e-mail from Wes and Ruth asking me to let my readers know that he is no longer in business. Wes has been disabled for some time, but up until now he had been able to handle the work involved in small engine repair.

Wes and Ruth appeared before the Planning Commission several years ago to ask for its OK to engage in a cottage industry. He satisfied the Commission's concerns about noise and possible pollution of Patterson Creek with spilled petroleum products. He explained to everyone's satisfaction the steps he would take to assure that these things didn't happen.

Not long after, I decided to try him out. I had a reluctant mower which needed some heavy convincing to get it to go. Wes picked up the mower and brought it back later in the day running like a top. And all of his jobs with me were like that. He was efficient, skilled and reliable.

I will miss your services, Wes. And please accept my best wishes and my thanks for the great service you provided.

The Bay City Arts Center is looking forward to a summer of intriguing and innovative projects. Coming up April 30 is the culmination of the Da Vinci Project. Under the guidance of Charlie Wooldridge, the kids at East Elementary have been busy inventing things. And on April 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. the kids will show off their inventions to the public. Why not come down and show your support for this innovative project. You'll be amazed at what these young minds have dreamed up.

The following week, the kids at East Elementary become the May Artists of the Month. Stop by between 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, May 1, to look at their art projects. You may find some of the Da Vinci inventions back for another viewing as art.

In June, the second week, I believe, D.J. Garrity returns for a stone carving session for teens. This has proven popular in the past. And, D.J. will be back in July for more stone carving, this time for teens and adults.

According to information I have now, there will be two day camps this summer. On June 14 through 18, there will be a Beach Art day camp. Each day will be devoted to a particular aspect of Beach Art.

If Beach Art were not enough, on July 17 and 18 there will be a Bike Art festival. Anything on two wheels constitutes a bike.

 

And when all the arty bikes have headed back to the garage, there begins the West Africa day camp. It runs from July 19 through July 23. West Africa Week will culminate with the Ghana Café and performance July 24. I look forward to seeing Habiba, with her singing and story-telling, and OB Adda and Hakim Mohammed, world-class African drum virtuosi. If you enjoy vibrant color, dancing and riveting drum rhythms, you don't want to miss this one. This will be the third year the Arts Center has presented the West Africa program.

Jews Harp enthusiasts from all around the country will converge on Bay City July 30 and 31 for their annual convention. The Arts Center asked the City Council recently whether they could add the line, "Home of the American Jews Harp Festival," to the "Welcome to Bay City" sign on the highway. The Jews Harp Festival was an instant hit the first time it was held in Bay City several years ago, and it gains in popularity each year.

The Arts Center will also work with the Bay City Boosters Club on the Bay City Centennial which is coming up on Labor Day weekend. The Arts Center will prepare a display of historic pictures of old Bay City.

The Arts Center, this year, celebrates its 10th anniversary in Bay City. The Arts Center has proven to be one of the greatest things ever to happen to this old town. They are bringing a wide variety of activities, both educational and artistic, to Bay City. And, they have worked in partnership with the City on several grant-funded projects, including a model of downtown Bay City prepared for the Bay City Vision Plan.

In their presentation to the Planning Commission 10 years ago, founders Helen Hill and Charlie Wooldridge proposed offering classes in the arts for all ages, with special emphasis on providing an appreciation of art to children and teens, "especially those in a low-income bracket who might not be likely to attend art classes without outreach and encouragement."

The center works regularly with local schools to expose the kids and teens to art and writing. For several years, the Arts Center has conducted a Teen Playwright Contest. It is innovative projects like these which have made the Arts Center a most valuable member of the Bay City Community, and they deserve our support.

For more information on events at the Bay City Arts Center, call (503) 377-9620. The office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.  Also, there is a link to the Bay City Arts Center Web site in the Grapevine. Check it out for the latest on what's going on.

New subject. Did you notice the flagpole by the Post Office? It has been repaired, thanks to Watt Welding. Nice to see Old Glory flying over the Post Office once again.

And a reminder to all you Bay City Boosters out there. The Boosters meet at noon Friday, April 30, at the Bay City Community Hall. No word yet on what's on the program, but stay tuned.

And on May 1 the Beta Sigma Phi and VFW Auxiliary will hold their annual plant sale and flea market. If you're looking for some odd item that you can't find in the stores, come down to the Bay City Community Hall Saturday, May 1. You just might find what you're looking for. And there'll be lots of plants for sale to dress up your garden for the summer. Check it out.

And, my deer seem to have returned --- at least for now. They have spent two days in my yard and in my neighbor's. Sadly, I cut their grass yesterday. But, in the absence of that nice sweet grass, perhaps they'll eat the blackberry bushes. Don't I wish.

And that's it. See you next week Over the Back Fence.

John Sollman

April 28, 2010

Well, we had a nice day of spring weather, which I used to mow my lawn. You have to be quick to get it done before the raindrops start falling again. On Monday, it looked like I got it done just in the nick of time.

I got a nice e-mail from Deborah Boone, our representative in the Oregon Legislature. Deb invited my attention to the construction work taking place on SR 53, or the Necanicum Highway. She mentioned specifically the replacement of the culvert on Bergsvik Creek, about two and one-half miles south of U.S. 26. But there are actually two projects underway. In addition to the Bergsvik Creek culvert replacement to enhance fish passage, ODOT is replacing the Necanicum River Bridge between Mileposts 0.06 and 0.18, just south of the junction with U.S. 26.

The work on Bergsvik Creek is scheduled for completion in November, but there will be days when no work is being done. It would be a good idea to call 5-1-1 and check whether there will be delays before starting out.

The Necanicum River Bridge replacement is scheduled for completion in December. During construction, there will be flaggers, a detour, and delays of up to 20 minutes. Again, it's a good idea to call before starting out.

It goes without saying that all that construction work is causing Deb more than a few extra miles on the road to get to Tillamook.

If you're wondering where I got that information about travel on SR 53, I got it from County Emergency Services Director Gordon McCraw's weather advisories. If you're not getting his advisories, I suggest you ship off an e-mail to gmccraw@co.tillamook.or.us and ask him to put you on his mailing list. I say "ship off" because Gordon and I are both retired Navy guys.

You'll find Gordon's stuff highly informative, not only about the weather, but a variety of other subjects as well. You'll be informed not only about highway construction delays, but also about H1N1 flu and other health issues, and just about everything else. In a recent advisory, Gordon brought us up to date on the level of the public heath threat from the fungus, Cryptococcus gattii, which has migrated south from British Columbia (the threat is low).

Deb also congratulated Bay City for its interest in community gardens. As I have said in previous issues, I am a great supporter of community gardens. Planting a garden is an excellent way to use undeveloped land productively, and dress it up in the process.

Sharline and I had the pleasure of attending a Meatloaf Dinner at ArtSpace to help raise a few bucks for gardening supplies and seeds for the community garden going in between ArtSpace and the church.

We were supposed to bring a packet of seeds to start the garden off. I had thought to go one better, and collect some nice, fresh organic fertilizer from the many pastures hereabouts. But for some reason which I can't quite fathom, the folks at ArtSpace didn't think too highly of keeping the stuff in the kitchen --- or anywhere else on the premises, for that matter --- while we were having dinner. I can't understand why. Perhaps it was because, if it was in the kitchen, they were afraid someone might serve it instead of the meatloaf. Now I know that was not the case, because the meatloaf was truly excellent. Quinnie Kauffman outdid herself.

But that brings up a whole new realm of possibilities. How about cow pies as pastries? Not the real thing, of course, but a look-alike, covered with raisins to resemble flies. Genuine Tillamook County Cow Pies. Boggles the mind. But I digress.

Our neighbor, Bobbi Berg, went with us to the dinner. For many years, Bobbi lived aboard a houseboat on the Columbia River in Portland. As a houseboater, she knows how to be creative in finding places to plant things. And on a houseboat, creative thinking is the key, as there is precious little space to devote to planting gardens. But at least, watering whatever you planted poses no problem.

 

On a sad note, I learned last week that my good friend, Bill Rust, has developed a serious condition which may be terminal. Bill had originally intended to remain commander of our VFW post in Bay City through June 2011. But he invited me to a breakfast meeting at ArtSpace on April 15 to share the bad news with me. He couldn't continue past the end of his current term.

So it is with heavy heart that I ask all my readers to put in a good word with the Big Guy on Bill's behalf. He and Karen can use our prayers and our understanding. Bill has just started his chemo and, Karen told me, he tolerated it quite well. We all pray for a good outcome for him, and for his family.

But in spite of Bill's health problems, Karen is keeping busy with her charitable work. I got an e-mail from Danielle Hurd asking, on Karen's behalf, for some help for a hula dance. This is part of a talent show at Camp Hope, a camp for developmentally disabled adults at Camp Magruder.

Karen needs Aloha shirts. Any size will do. Perhaps some of our citizens who go to Hawaii to avoid the winter rains might have an assortment of Aloha Shirts they could spare. Also, Karen is looking for some old, no-longer-used, outrageous, neckties. Karen stuffs them to make "snakes." Well, at least we know they don't bite.

Contributions of Aloha shirts or neckties may be dropped off at Abundance Day Spa or the Bay City United Methodist Church. I presume there will be a collection barrel at the church.

Danielle is also looking for some people who would like to be featured in an ad for Abundance Day Spa. If you'd like to see your mug shot in an ad, e-mail Kelli Westmark and tell her why you like coming to Abundance Day Spa. When your picture appears in an ad, you'll get a free half-hour massage. Kelli's e-mail is westmark@orcoastnews.com.

And a reminder to all our Bay City Boosters. We meet Friday, April 30. The meeting starts at noon, at the Bay City Community Hall. But bring your potluck items about 11:30 a.m., and an auction item if you have one. Meeting starts at noon. I am told that Jonathan Hill, candidate for circuit judge in Tillamook County, will be our guest speaker. Jon is a retired Marine, and I've got a real soft spot in my hear for Marines. I served two tours of duty with them, one in Korea and the other in Southeast Asia (Okinawa and Vietnam).

And there's more yet. On Saturday, May 1, there will be the annual VFW Post 2848 Auxiliary and Beta Sigma Phi Plants and Crafts Sale and Flea Market at the Bay City Community Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Get there early to be sure you get a free tree to plant. And there will be refreshments for your enjoyment while you browse the plants and second-hand treasures for sale. And I almost forgot to mention --- there will be members of the Tillamook County Master Gardeners on hand to answer your questions.

And, a parting shot. Census forms are due before May 1. If you haven't sent yours in yet, get cracking. You don't want the census police banging on your door.

You know, I am constantly amazed at the incredible ease with which our federal government manages to shoot itself in the foot. Here again, with the census forms, the Census Bureau is pushing for the broadest possible coverage and return of census forms. Yet, they mailed them ONLY to physical addresses. Those of us with post office boxes got left swinging in the breeze. I asked Postmaster Judy when the census forms would arrive, since I hadn't received mine. She said the Postmaster in Chief wouldn't allow the census forms to be put in the P.O. boxes. I guess those that are addressed to physical addresses were returned to sender as "undeliverable as addressed."

Judy directed my attention to a box on the counter filled with census forms --- in several different languages, which led me to wonder: If you speak several languages, do you have to fill out a census form in each language so the Census Bureau can count the polyglots among us? Maybe they'll think of that in 2020.

I never cease to be amazed.

May 6, 2010

I heard a rumor that it was supposed to be springtime. And I look at the hills in the morning and see SNOW! In MAY! Gordon McCraw's weather forecast says we'll see a couple of nice days followed by (drum roll) more cool, rainy weather. Let's just hope we don't get the greatest deluge since Noah launched the Ark, like they had in Tennessee.

But, perhaps I should count my blessings. If the grass is wet, I have a convenient excuse for not mowing it.

As you know, Jaime Heup has been hospitalized in Vancouver for several months. At a city workshop May 4, City Recorder Linda Dvorak announced that Jaime would not be coming back to work. The family is looking for a care center where she can stay when she is released from the hospital. Lin Downey, who worked with Jaime in the outer office, said Jaime would be on a respirator the rest of her life. So, Jaime, I will certainly miss seeing your smiling face when I come to pay my water bills.

As I said last week, my good friend, Bill Rust, learned recently that he is terminally ill --- stage four. Bill has always been such a dynamic, take-charge kind of guy, and it is hard to believe that the end looms near for him. But, in one way he is blessed, because he can prepare for the inevitable. When I visited him today, Karen told me that they had set up a trust at Waud's Funeral Home for Bill's cremation fund.

We talk all the time about the rising cost of living. Well, the cost of dying is rising, too. I am told that the cost of cremation alone is something like $1,800. The VFW will help with that, of course, and the VFW Ladies' Auxiliary is planning a garage sale to raise some money for the trust fund. I don't have any information on time and place yet, but I'll publish it as soon as I find out. If you have some old clothing or other artifacts you'd like to donate, call Anita Hall at (503) 355-2436. I'll announce the time and date of the sale when I have it.

Individual donations are also accepted. If you wish to contribute to Bill's trust fund, make your check payable to Union Bank of California and send it to Waud's Funeral Home, 1414 Third Street, Tillamook, OR, 97141. Indicate on your check that it is for the Trust of William Rust.

Lorraine Vandercoevering asked me recently to work with her on the Blessing of the Fleet, to be held at the Lifeboat Memorial in the Port of Garibaldi Saturday, May 29, at 2 p.m. I had the pleasure of meeting Master Chief Mike Saindon, the Coast Guard Station commander, at our first meeting.

There will be a few new wrinkles this year. Mike suggested that, since there was only one death at sea this year, perhaps we could toll the bell for county veterans who died during the past year. He also suggested that five veterans, one from each of the five armed services, go aboard the Coast Guard boat to place the memorial wreath.

Having a veteran from each of the armed services is a suggestion I really appreciated. Mike is all for the veterans. We had quite a pleasant conversation following the first meeting, when Mike asked what he could do to support our veterans. The Coast Guard will, of course, post and retrieve the colors at our Veterans Day ceremony at the Air Museum, and again at the Veterans' Spaghetti Dinner at the Elks Lodge. I think I'll ask Mike if he could also provide a Boatswain's Mate to pipe the Veterans Day ceremony to order. I just love adding a nautical touch.

Mike will also provide a Coast Guard color guard to lead our Bay City Centennial parade September 4, plus a float: one of the Coast Guard rescue boats on a trailer. I always think it's nice to show off the equipment the Coast Guard uses to assure the safety of our boating community.

And, other plans for the Centennial are moving right along. Helen Wright, who is shepherding the event, announced that the banners proclaiming the Centennial celebration have been paid for through sale of tee shirts and sweatshirts. Helen posed the idea several months ago, that the Centennial Committee sell the shirts to raise the needed bucks.

The shirts are grey, bearing a picture of old Bay City. They've proven to be quite popular. Helen told the Boosters Club at their April 30 meeting, that the cost of the sweaters has also been paid in full. Looming now is the cost of the music for the event. With the way the shirts have been selling, Helen said, we should have the music paid for in short order as well. Any money left over after the dust has settled will go to the Boosters Club.

The VFW Auxiliary and Beta Sigma Phi held a successful plant and craft sale May 1. Sharline and I did better than we had expected. We took down enough old clothes to cover a table, and then some, to sell as rummage. The stuff we had left over will go to the Auxiliary to sell at the garage sale for Bill Rust. I hope others might donate some rummage as well.

On June 19, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a chili feed and entertainment in the Bay City Park to raise money for its further improvement. There will be several varieties of chili for you to sample and enjoy, plus music and a skate board demonstration. The City recently learned that it would receive a P.U.D. grant of $2,000 to prepare the tennis court for resurfacing. Funds raised at the chili feed will help provide the matching funds for this and other park grants which may be in the works. There'll be more on this later, so stay tuned.

 

I mentioned last week that Karen Rust is collecting aloha shirts for a hula dance at a talent show at Camp Hope, a camp for developmentally disabled adults, to be held at Camp Magruder June 26 through 30. Any size aloha shirt will do. If you've sojourned in the Islands, you've no doubt come back with a bunch of aloha shirts. Now, here's a chance to put them to good use.

Karen also collects outrageous neckties, out of which she makes faux snakes. So, while you're rummaging through your duds for aloha shirts, dig up your old, outrageous ties as well. Karen will put them to good use.

Neckties and aloha shirts may be dropped off at Abundance Day Spa in Tillamook, or at the Bay City United Methodist Church. I presume there will be a collection barrel at the church.

Sadly, I was unable to attend the DaVinci Project reception at the Arts Center. Sharline and I had expended all our energy setting up our tables at the VFW Auxiliary and Beta Sigma Phi plant and craft sale. We went home and crashed. And, we weren't able to make the reception for the East Elementary Artist of the Month at the Arts Center, either. With the "spring" we've had, I've found that I must grab my opportunities when Nature gives them to me. If my lawn had grown any higher, I wouldn't have been able to find my house. But I plan to stop by and look at the kids' art projects later in the month.

The Arts Center has some great things on tap for the summer. I recently mentioned the West Africa Day Camp, to be conducted by Habiba Addo July 19 through 24. The cost will be $50 for the entire week. The cost includes healthy lunches for the youngsters attending the camp. The kids will participate in dance, art, park play, stories and theater.

In the evenings, Habiba will hold adult dance classes from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost is $25 for the entire week. And on Friday, July 23, OB will hold a drum class from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cost will be $15 for the single session.

West Africa Week will conclude with the Ghana Café and performance Saturday, July 24. Stay tuned for further details. Habiba, OB and the day camp kids always put on a great show.

The following weekend, the Arts Center will host the North American Jews Harp Convention. If you've never seen what goes on at the Jews Harp Convention, you'll have to come down to the Arts Center and find out. There are more different kinds of music making than you could ever possibly imagine. You'll be amazed at the variety of homegrown instruments they play --- like gallon jugs, combs and saws.

For more information on Arts Center activities, call the Bay City Arts Center, (503) 377-9620, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Or you can visit their Web site. There is a link in the Grapevine.

And, of course, the summer will culminate with the Bay City Centennial celebration September 4 and 5. This is still a work in progress. Plans are being laid for a parade on September 4, possibly a children's pet parade, vendors and crafts, a street dance, a display of photographs of old Bay City at the Arts Center, hamburgers at the fire station, and a Sunday family picnic in the park. I'll publish more details as they emerge.

Finally, I'm sure you've all noticed the sudden upsurge in political campaign mail, either extolling the saintly virtues of a candidate, or exposing the opponent's grievous shortcomings in nauseating detail. Now, if you look carefully through all the political junk mail, you'll find your ballots. Don't throw them out with the political junk mail. Be sure to fill them out and turn them in before 8 p.m. May 18, election day.

For the convenience of Bay City voters, we now have a ballot drop box bolted to the sidewalk outside the library. You don't even have to affix a postage stamp or use extra gas to drive to the County Clerk's office. A brisk walk downtown will do it. You'll satisfy your civic responsibility while improving your health in the process.

And, last but not least, a great big welcome home to my neighbors, Jim and Betty Oliver, and their dog, P.J. They got home a day early, Betty said. They were going to spend a day in Idaho but decided instead to make a sprint to the finish line. When little P.J. came over with Betty after they got back, she didn't like the idea of having another dog in what she surely considered her territory --- my living room. She certainly seemed to be in a snit when she entered the house and found another dog.

May 19, 2010

I begin on a very sad note this week. Jaime Heup passed away at 5:30 this afternoon at SW Washington Medical Center in Vancouver. Jaime was taken ill in February. She had been feeling poorly for several days, and finally went home to get over the flu, which she thought to be the culprit. The following day she was feeling no better and went to the hospital. From there, she was transported to SW Washington Medical Center to be near her family. She has remained in intensive care since her admission.

Lin Downey, who worked with Jaime in the city office, went to visit her frequently, and brought back reports on her progress. Jaime had her ups and downs. About a week ago, she was chipper and carried on conversations as best she could, since she was on a ventilator and couldn't speak. It was strictly an exercise in lip reading. But during the last few days, Jaime experienced another downturn, one that would prove to be her last.

Word of her passing came after today's Planning Commission meeting. Lin, who is the Planning Commission secretary, received a message on her cell phone during the session, which she answered following adjournment, about 8:40 p.m. I was outside talking to my friend, John Gettman, when Lin came out of the office and tearfully shared the bad news with us.

I extend my sincerest condolences to Ray Heup, who has spent most of his time at Jaime's side. I always enjoyed going to the city office to pay my water bills, and joshing Jaime as she prepared my receipt. Once I offered her a 100-rupee note to pay my water bill. Actually, that 100-rupee note wouldn't have gone very far. The silly thing is worth only $4.06. I will really miss Jaime's good humor. My sympathies also go out to our city office staff on the loss of their friend and fellow employee.

Let me also extend my sincerest condolences to Ron Tewalt, whose wife, Deb, passed away last Thursday evening following a brief illness. Ron, who had been appointed to the City Council to serve out the unexpired term of Don Clyde, advised the Council several months ago of his wife's recently-diagnosed condition, stating that he would probably miss a meeting or two to drive Deb to her chemo sessions.

Linda Dvorak had sent an e-mail last Friday to notify members of the City Council and Planning Commission of Ron's loss. Sadly, I didn't open the e-mail in time to learn of Deb's memorial service Saturday. Sharline and I had crashed after our trip to Costco on Friday. So, Ron, please accept my deepest sympathy on the loss of your wife. Life is fragile, and none of us knows when our turn will come.

 

And still on a sad note, my condolences to Trisha and Craig Kaufman on Hank Curl's passing. Hank had lived with the Kaufmans for some time. If you wondered why the ArtSpace Café was closed early last week, Hank's passing was the reason. I am told that Hank died in his sleep. Sorry for your loss, Craig and Trisha. I know that your friend will be sorely missed.

Sharline and I did stop at ArtSpace for breakfast last Sunday before heading to Lincoln City to drop off our pooch with our daughter before driving to Portland for a doctor appointment. During breakfast, Quinnie Kaufman told us of a strange guest who ate there recently. He was walking across the United States with Petunia, his pet piglet. As luck would have it, we passed the odd couple on Broughton Road an hour or so later. Petunia was riding comfortably in a baby stroller. It's a pig's life.

On Tuesday, May 25, the Bay City Arts Center will host a slide show by Laura Fournier. Her show, "Helping Haiti," depicts her recent trip to Haiti as a member of a medical team. The slide show starts at 7 p.m., but if you come about an hour earlier, you can partake of a dinner of Haitian rice and beans. The slide show is free, but the dinner is by donation.

All you Boosters out there, we meet Friday, May 21, one week early. Come at 11:30 a.m. with your potluck item, and an auction item if you have one. This will be the last Boosters meeting until September 24. I expect that we'll get an update on preparations for the Bay City Centennial set for Sept. 4 and 5, and a chili feed on June 19 to raise money for the city park. See you there.

I have attended two meetings on the Blessing of the Fleet, to be held at the lifeboat memorial at the Coast Guard Station at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 29. Lorraine Vandecoevering has laid out an impressive program for this year's event. In addition to tolling the bell for those lost at sea, the bell will also be tolled for each County veteran who died during the past year. The guest speaker will be state senator Betsy Johnson.

Master Chief Mike Saindon, the station commander, has invited the VFW to provide a representative from each of the five armed services to go aboard the Coast Guard boat to lay the memorial wreath. Let's hope the weatherman has expended his stock of wintry winds and rain before then so we can have some nice, warm sunshine. Wouldn't that be nice for the last weekend in May!

The deer have been spending more time in our yard of late. When Eva, our new pooch, spies them in the yard, she lets it be known that they are not to come anywhere near our house. It's amazing how fierce a little puppy can be when she is surrounded by four walls and a closed door.

June 2, 2010

Did you know that it is already June-uary. And our stormy weather still persists. A couple of weeks ago, our Tillamook newspaper featured a shot of Gordon McCraw, our County Weather Guesser and Emergency Management Director, standing by a tree that just got blasted by a lightning bolt. I know that Gordon became quite an adept meteorologist during his Navy career, but I never realized that he had acquired the ability to wield Thor's Hammer. Way to go, Gordon.

The Bay City Boosters are preparing for a memorial service and celebration of Jaime Heup's life come Saturday. Since Jaime was a nut for great cookies, we're going to remember her by eating cookies in her honor. The Boosters are providing the cookies, but I'll bet some others will come in with a batch or two.

If you have some cute anecdotes about Jaime, bring them with you when you come to celebrate her life. The memorial starts at 11 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m.

We've certainly had an unusual weather year. As I say, it's June-uary. My grass now looks more like a place where cows could be pastured. Too bad I can't get some of the critters to eat the silly stuff. When it finally gets dry enough to mow, sometime at least a week away, I think I'll have to use one of those agricultural combines.

All sorts of strange things seem to be happening of late. There was a real traffic backup at Hobsonville Point. There, out in the middle of the Ghost Hole, stood an elk. I didn't know that there was a rutting season for fish. An elk and a salmon --- now that's a really Odd Couple!

Or maybe the elk was trying to find the other part of the herd that was stranded in the bay off Goose Point about a month ago. As I say --- strange things happening.

I haven't had a chance to write much about City Council business. At this time of year, there is so much going on in the VFW that there is virtually no time left for anything else. And then there are the wall-to-wall doctor visits. I guess that's the price for entering the "Golden Years."

But, for a Council quickie, at its May meeting the Council appointed Terry Krum to fill out the term of Amy Fullan, who had to resign because she had moved out of Bay City. Terry, a plumber by trade, was made the chair of the Public Works Committee. Welcome to the fray, Terry.

And that's not all. The Council also appointed Christine Clark to the Planning Commission to replace Carol Waggoner, who had to resign because of health problems. She, like the rest of us oldsters, suffered from an aging bod. Given enough time, that'll get us all.

Plans for the Centennial are moving right along. Sales of tee shirts and sweatshirts are going well. The shirts have pictures of historic Bay City, which look really nice on the grey background. They're on sale at the City office, and at The Landing, Cutting Loose and several other locations around town. The committee has also decided to sell them at Garibaldi Days

 

We're still looking for more volunteers to help with the planter boxes. We've had some turnover in the Beautification Committee, mostly because some of the regulars are just getting on in years. The old "get-up-and-go" has "got up and went." So, if you would like to try out your green thumb, call Linda Vining (503) 377-2257, or Gail Reese (503) 377-4161.

Another Memorial Day has come and gone. Memorial Day, originally Decoration Day, had been observed on May 30 for many years. But then, suddenly, our benevolent Congress changed Memorial Day to a three-day weekend. The holiday, originally intended to honor our war dead, has been turned into a three-day holiday to have cookouts and go off-roading. Happily, July 4 and Veterans' Day still remain intact, and may they remain so forever.

On Saturday, May 29, I attended the Blessing of the Fleet in Garibaldi. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Bill Rust, Dearl Taylor and I went aboard one of the Coast Guard motor lifeboats to lead the procession out over the bar to deposit wreaths and flowers. It was a really great trip, and the Coast Guard personnel were superb.

This year, we did something a bit different. We read the names and tolled the bell for County veterans who had died during the last year. We read 72 names, though I'm sure there were more whose names I didn't discover.

Port Commission president Val Folkema did a superb job as MC, and, happily, the rain held off for the entire ceremony and round trip over the bar. But it sure did look threatening at times.

For those of you who haven't heard, Highway 53 will be closed for 10 weeks starting June 28. It is expected to reopen Sept. 8. There are two projects going on: repair of a bridge, and replacement of a large culvert to allow passage of fish. Not even emergency vehicles will be able to get through.

The census has come and gone. I sent in my form about mid-April, in plenty of time for it to reach its destination. But, alas, I was visited by a census taker in mid May. No record of my form, the guy said. My attitude was, "well, find the stupid thing. If we do another, it will create a double count." Well, the guy assured me that there wouldn't be any double count. I just wonder where that guy got his math. But then, with the current state of our burgeoning bureaucracy, perhaps one-plus-one requires a committee or special task force to determine an appropriate answer.

I still can't figure why the Census Bureau didn't deliver forms to P.O. boxes. They delivered them only to street addresses. Sort of puts the lie to the stated objective of having an accurate and reliable census count.

And, Sharline and I got a nice bit of news. Our granddaughter gave birth to a son, Jacob, on May 22. I'm glad the kid had the good sense to be born on the same day as Richard Wagner. Maybe he'll grow up to write operas. Who knows. (I have a daughter who shares a birthday with Saddam Hussein.) Happily, no one in my family was born on April 20.

June 14, 2010

Chili lovers everywhere, mark your calendars. Saturday, June 19, is Party in the Park day --- an event with something to offer for the entire family, young and old. Party in the Park is the brainchild of our mayor, Shaena Peterson. As most of you know, the City has been collecting old athletic shoes to be ground up into Nikegrind, a new surfacing material for outdoor tennis courts.

The City has already received a $2,000 grant from Tillamook P.U.D. to remove the existing court surface and prepare it for resurfacing with Nikegrind. For the actual resurfacing, the City is exploring several grant opportunities, including one from Nike. The downside of grants is that most grants require some sort of a match, either in hard dollars or in donated goods and services. The several thousand sneakers the City has already sent to Nike should account for at least a portion of our match.

That's where Party in the Park comes in. Several area restaurants are donating chili and the other things that go with it. Like soda pop, maybe. I don't have the names of all the contributors at this writing, but I'll have them by the time I report on the event next week. I do know that the Tillamook Country Smoker will be donating the plates and other paper items.

But, I digress. The feed starts at 1 p.m. and runs until the chili runs out. For a donation of a mere $2, you can get a really great plate of chili and all the trimmings. At a time to be announced, there may be a skateboard demonstration by the folks from Dreamland, the people who designed our skate park. But as of this writing, this has not been finalized. But I do know that, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., there will be a concert by the music group, H.A.L., in the covered pavilion. H.A.L. is donating its services, also. (I am assured that this H.A.L. is not related to that scheming cybernetic device in "200l, a Space Odyssey.")

But, the original H.A.L. may be related to someone in a second series of events set for June 19 at the Bay City Arts Center. There, you can see an original puppet play at the Helen Hill Puppet Theater, performed by the Great Intergalactic Puppet Theater (G.I.P.S.). The cast from "Star Wars" will present "Pig Wars," a Morality Play (with socks), which updates the legend of the Three Little Pigs. Starring are Leah, Luke, Darth, Hansolo and Yoda, their mother.

Performances, of which there will be two, are free, of course. The first takes place at 12:45 p.m. BC (Before Chili), and the second at 4:30 p.m. AH (after H.A.L.) This means you can enjoy your chili and the music, and take in the play at the Arts Center as well. The Arts Center will also have a concession stand to sell coffee, tea and cookies to enjoy while you watch the play. Proceeds from the Arts Center concession stand will go to the Arts Center to help with its many activities throughout the year. But there may be a donation can there for the park as well. Please be generous.

And while you're visiting the Arts Center, take a look around to see what they do, and bone up what's on tap during the summer as well. They have a full schedule this summer, which finishes up with the Bay City Centennial celebration Sept. 4. While you're visiting the Arts Center, don't be surprised to find children creating stick puppets and stick puppet theaters. The Arts Center has something for everyone, young and old.

And a final note about the park. It is mayor Shaena's goal to do some upgrades to the park without spending money from the City's budget. This means grants, donations, and lots of sweat equity. We have one of the finest city parks I've ever seen, and using grants and citizen involvement to make improvements to it is one of the best ideas to come down the pike in a long time. Hope to see a good crowd enjoying chili come Saturday.

And, if it rains, the party will move to the Community Hall or the Fire Station. But let's think positive. The Sun is going to shine on us Saturday!

And, I'm getting weak in the brain, I think. I forgot to mention that the Arts Center is sponsoring a Farmers' Market starting Sunday, June 20. Joe Wrabeck, who volunteers at the Arts Center, told me that there won't be any veggies for sale just yet --- too early and too wet --- but you can get some terrific starts for your own garden. The Farmers' Market will run every Sunday from June 20 through Sept. 5. Freshly-picked veggies will trump the stuff you get at the grocery store every time.

And, we'll take a peek into the future --- the Bay City Centenial. The Arts Center will put on a Clam Chowder luncheon, consisting of chowder, a non-meat entrée, salad, bread and dessert. They'll also have vendor booths in the vacant field across from the Arts Center. They're working with the City to coordinate Centennial events. More on the Centennial in a later issue.

 

Sharline and I had the pleasure of attending a celebration of Bill Rust's life last week. As you may know, Bill was diagnosed about six weeks ago with mesothelioma. It's pretty far advanced, and he says he won't be with us much longer. But Bill, being the class act he is, decided he would like to help us celebrate his life. It was a living wake, as it were. Now when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.

Bill has always been a stand-up, take-charge kind of guy. His diagnosis came as quite a shock to him and his family. But, he said, he doesn't want a lot of tears and sorrow about his impending demise. No, he said, he wants to go out in style.

But I can't help saying, that Bill will be sorely missed. His leadership as commander of our VFW post has been exemplary, and his departure will leave a gaping hole. But, he's not out yet. Bill still has some useful months remaining, and he plans to use them well. Way to go, Bill!

And I ran across another friend at Bill's "wake." Jeremy Greene is recently back from Iraq. We sent him and B Company several Care packages during his deployment --- jerky, cheese, playing cards --- the things GIs like to have when they're overseas. When I was in Korea during the war, I always enjoyed packages from home. I also learned that everyone in the company has a stake in whatever you got. Those are the rules of war! Packages from home are community property. You share with your buddies, and they share theirs with you.

Jeremy looks great, and he's already returned to work in the Tillamook Cop Shop. I'm looking forward to seeing him at our next VFW meeting.

As I've mentioned several times, our centennial is coming up the first weekend in September. I'm hoping, in the next few weeks, to get up some vignettes on Bay City History. Did you know, for instance, that Bay City was incorporated twice? It's true. The city was originally incorporated in the 1890s, but unincorporated itself a few years later. It incorporated for the second time, this time for keeps, in 1910. The vote to incorporate was certified by the County Clerk on Sept. 2, 1910. The city charter was adopted in December of that year. The rest is history.

When I was a little boy and got my first exposure to history in the fourth grade, I actually thought that all the world's history had already happened, and we had arrived in the present. History was complete. The way things were was the way they would be from now on. Then World War II came along! And in not too many years I was helping to make history in Korea. And now, as an old curmudgeon, I'm seeing things I would never have believed possible.

I say this because last weekend I met two of my most recent great grandkids for the first time --- fresh-caught little Isaac, born May 22, and little Evelyn born about 18 months earlier. I wonder what the future will offer them, long after Sharline and I will have left the planet. I shake my head and wonder.

You know, an old codger's age is directly proportional to the number of doctors being seen, a number that seems to rise exponentially. Last week I had the "pleasure" of undergoing a long-overdue colonoscopy. And I watched it all on the monitor. That Mickey they slipped me somehow didn't mick all the way. But I got some great keepsakes --- photos of my Northwest Passage to share with my friends. But, alas, they balked at letting me publish them on Facebook. Perhaps I'll just enlarge and frame them for display on my mantle. Or perhaps I could arrange for a showing at ArtSpace. Who knows?

And how about those oiled birds in the Gulf? Well, at least we can all take comfort that, according to BP's major spill mitigation plan, no walruses, sea lions, seals or sea otters will be harmed in the Gulf. Oh, I suppose, in the interest of equality, we could import some walruses from Prudhoe Bay to share the limelight with the pelicans and manatees. Wouldn't want to leave anyone out! Wouldn't be PC.

But while Sharline and I were having a nice breakfast together at Downie's Café this morning, a thought occurred to me when Sharline added more syrup to her pancakes. The way those things soaked up the syrup, just think what they could do with that oil! Just think --- armies of volunteer cooks grilling flapjacks to be dumped at sea to soak up the oil. Then maybe we can feed them to some of those good folks at BP!

June 30, 2010

A funny thing happened to me on my way to see the doctor. I got hopelessly lost. I mean really hopelessly lost. But then, I always get lost in Hillsboro.

I was on my way to see the surgeon who is to do a ream job on my derriere come August --- I'd rather get it done sooner, but you know how it is. The medical office even sent me detailed instructions on how to find the Hillsboro branch --- except they neglected to mention that there is a cross street to turn on, and that the entrance to the office building is from the parking lot in the rear. But I guess that's appropriate, because this clinic deals with conditions involving the rear.

Now, I'm usually pretty good at following directions, having driven in places like New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago --- you name it. But Hillsboro has always been my nemesis. You go through places like Tanasbourne or Orenco Station, and everything looks the same --- walled communities on both sides of the street, and nary a visible street address so you know where you are.

Following my "directions," I dutifully pulled off the Sunset at exit 64 and turned right onto 185th. So far, so good. And I actually found Cornell Boulevard and managed to make my right turn, even though I was in the wrong lane. The stranger in town, of course, gets no advance notice. You can't see the street name until you reach the intersection.

OK, at least I was on Cornell. Now to find the medical office. On the right, my printed instructions said, but how far? So I drive along Cornell, looking in vain for the clinic which is supposed to be on the right. When I reached the airport, I suspected something was wrong. But at least I was plenty early --- lots of time before my appointment.

A call to the main office in Portland yielded --- touch tone roulette. I punched in a number and got: "We are not able to take your call right now. Please leave a message after the tone ...." For five minutes I redialed that number and punched in different selections. Always the same stupid message.

Finally I got a human being. She agreed that I had overshot my mark. "Just head back the way you came until you get to Starbuck's," the voice told me. Great! I had passed a Starbucks just a few blocks east. Thanking the disembodied voice, I got back on Cornell and turned left at Starbuck's. Voila! I was at Costco. Well, at least I know how to find Costco in Hillsboro.

Frantic calls to the main office produced five more minutes of touchtone roulette and the same recorded messages. Finally, punching a different choice from the one at which I had established initial contact with the voice, I got the same person. So why, I thought, why all the different choices? There were, count 'em, seven of them.

"Oh, but there are Starbuck's on many corners in Hillsboro," the voice told me. So I asked for a cross street. The disembodied female voice put me on hold in order to get a map, admitting that she knew very little about Hillsboro. Join the club! "The cross street is Bainbridge," she said.

Off we went, now almost 30 minutes late for my appointment. After going all the way through what I believed to be Orenco Station and Tanasbourne, I found myself back at 185th, where my odyssey through that maze had begun. Finding a relatively convenient business parking lot, I called again, got the usual extended touchtone roulette, and finally reached the same disembodied voice on yet a third different extension. After extended consultation with co-workers, the disembodied voice gave me the phone number of the Hillsboro office. (All business, apparently, is conducted through the Portland office by touchtone roulette.)

I called the number graciously given me by the Portland office. The cross street is 63rd, I was told. So, off again, looking for 63rd. Well, I found 61st, but didn't see 63rd. I passed Orenco Station Parkway and kept going. The next numbered street I encountered told me that I had overshot my mark again. Yet another call to the local clinic --- now approaching one hour late for my appointment.

"Go back the way you came," I was told. "Turn left on Orenco Station Parkway, and right on Bainbridge. Go one block and turn into the parking lot." Voila! Or should I say Eureka? I finally found it. And, did you notice that Bainbridge Street is not a cross street, but runs parallel to Cornell? I surmise that disembodied voices are not particularly adept at reading maps.

Happily, the clinic managed to work me in, and I was soon able to leave Hillsboro in my dust. Thank heaven! On my way out, I took the first cross street off of Bainbridge, which turned out to be the elusive 63rd Street. The street sign, when viewed from Cornell, was obscured by a shade tree in need of pruning. So much for urban planning.

 

And, did I mention? --- My air conditioner was not working, and the temperature was in the 80s. You can imagine why my frustration level was nearing catastrophic overload.

But, after a very satisfying meal at the Cornelius Mazatlan, Sharline and I felt much, much better. If you're ever in Cornelius, try a meal at Mazatlan. It's excellent. It may even reduce your frustration level when you get to Hillsboro.

And, on a more pleasant note, Sharline and I are looking forward to a lasagna dinner and silent auction for the United Methodist Church Relay for Life fundraiser at ArtSpace, 6:30 p.m. on July 7. There will be marinara or Alfredo lasagna, plus soups, breads, salads --- whatever. And there'll be karaoke for entertainment. If you'd like to attend, call Danielle Hurd, (503) 377-0254, to confirm your reservation. Should be a lot of fun.

And, if you've been by the Arts Center recently, you've noticed the piles of dirt and oyster shells. They're hard at work on their community garden. Sharline and I stopped by today to renew our membership, and we noticed Charlie Wooldridge wielding a shovel like there was no tomorrow, and another person spreading straw.

Inside the Arts Center, there were lots of kids having a ball with their beach art projects. The Arts Center has a pretty full calendar this summer. All this week is Beach Art Week. There will be a farmers' market each Sunday through Labor Day. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to. I'd love to get some locally-grown tomatoes. During the week of July 12, D.J. Garrity will be hosting his sculpture workshop. During the week starting July 19, there will be the West Africa Day Camp, culminating with the Ghana Café and Performance on Saturday, July 24. This is always a colorful and thoroughly enjoyable event. With OB and Habiba Addo on stage, you'll hear some absolutely riveting African drum rhythms.

Wil Duncan will conduct his film class July 26 through 29. Learn filmmaking from the master, says the Arts Center brochure. Then, July 30 through August 1, the Arts Center will host the 18th North American Jew's Harp Festival. August 16 through 20 will feature the Children's Outdoor Theater, with theater performances August 20 at 7 p.m.

And, of course, the Arts Center will participate in the Bay City Centennial starting September 4. Like I said, the Arts Center is really picking up steam with the wide variety of programs it is now offering. For more information on Arts Center activities, call (503) 377-9620. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. They can use lots of volunteers.

Sadly, the Party in the Park fell short of its goal as a fundraiser to resurface the tennis court. Sharline and I enjoyed some of the fabled chili prepared at The Landing, but the attendance was pitifully light. We need to support resurfacing the tennis court. It would make a better playing surface for everyone. A decent surface might even bring some tennis classes or tournaments to Bay City.

From 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15, the VFW and Auxiliary are sponsoring an information session for county veterans and spouses of veterans. The session will be held at the Bay City Community Hall. County Service Officer Steve Weld will talk about veterans' and spousal benefits and answer questions. You don't have to be a member of the VFW to attend --- the session is open to all veterans and veterans' spouses. Refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

On a related topic, all veterans and persons currently serving on active duty are entitled to receive the Veterans of Oregon Honorable Service Medal. Applications for this medal will be available at the Tillamook Air Museum and many local businesses. Also, veterans for whom we already have addresses will receive an application in the mail.

The medals will be awarded at a special ceremony at the Air Museum on Nov. 11, following the Veterans' Day observance. You must be present to receive your medal. These cannot be mailed. This year, the 65th anniversary of the ending of WWII, we will honor the veterans of that war. Sadly, of our Greatest Generation, only a few hardy souls remain.

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, the so-called "forgotten war." We are hoping to have members of the Korean War Veterans' Association at the Air Museum to present their program about that war throughout the day. In a word, we're planning to have a truly gala ceremony this year.

 

July 9, 2010

How about that heat! My neighbor, Jim Oliver, told me his weather station read 101 degrees shortly after 1 p.m. last Tuesday. It remained in the upper 90s for most of the day, until a cool ocean breeze came up toward evening.

And guess what I was doing that day. Why I was burning my accumulated yard waste, of course. Some of that stuff was left over from the December 2007 storm. I didn't realize how hot it really was until I started feeling weak and woozy. It didn't take long to figure it out, and I should have known better to start with. Gatorade to the rescue. G2 Gatorade, that is.

Now this points to another bit of good advice my friend John Gettman gave me long ago. Get on the computer early to see what's up. I had selected Tuesday to burn because I was afraid that open burning would be shut down imminently because of the extended hot dry weather forecast in The Oregonian.

When I went on line that evening, I found an e-mail weather forecast from Gordon McCraw advising that the day was going to be a real scorcher. As usual, Gordon's e-mail was also chock full of other good advice. He advised that there would be a county-wide shut-down of open burning effective July 15, and of all burning, including burn barrels, effective of August 1. I could have waited for a cooler day and cranked out a Back Fence instead. Well, maybe not. My workroom, located in a finished attic as it is, is like an oven on warm days.

For those of you who want to get your open burning done before the July 15 cutoff --- that's next Thursday, by the way --- remember to have a charged garden hose nearby at all times. Wet down the area surrounding the burn pile. I mean get it good and wet. Put the burn pile where it will be away from buildings and trees. Have a shovel and rake handy. And remember to put the fire out by sunset.

Most important, when you put your fire out, make sure it is really out. Use a strong jet of water, which will penetrate deep into the ashes, to wet it down. Then rake it out to expose any remaining hot spots, and hose it all down again. Leave the charged hose near the burn site overnight, just in case an errant spark should start the fire anew. That happens.

So, be careful with fire. The house you burn may be your own.

When I went to City Hall today to pick up my packet for Tuesday's City Council meeting, I spotted my friend, Pat Vining, helping set up the community hall for a banquet. The golfers are in town for a big charity golf tournament.

Pat had been in Alaska, where he was the master chef and wine steward (that's chief cook and bottle washer) for an upscale fishing camp. "But they closed down fishing," Pat told me, "and I came back six days early." I guess there's no point in preparing gourmet meals for wealthy fishermen when there are no fish to catch, and the only bites you get are from those Alaska mega-mosquitoes.

But Alaska's loss is Bay City's gain. Pat said he would be deep into planning for the Bay City Centennial set for Sept. 4 and 5. They're getting into some of the nitty-gritty event scheduling next week. Personally, I haven't heard too much about the Centennial celebration lately --- probably spending too much time looking for doctors' offices in Hillsboro.

Pat had originally planned to gather up all the pictures of old Bay City he could find, and put them on display at the Bay City Arts Center. But then Sara Charlton decided to keep the Bay City library open for the festival, which meant that the pictures displayed there would not be moved to the Arts Center. Also, Trisha Kauffman told Pat she had some pictures of old Bay City, but she had been dying to display them at ArtSpace. So, it's on to Plan B for the Arts Center display, a plan to which I have not yet become privy.

I had the honor, along with several of my fellow veterans, of helping raise the colors at the Alderbrook Golf Course. I'm talking about the 30-foot by 40-foot flag which now flies day and night from the 85-foot flagpole near the new clubhouse. That flag sure looks impressive when viewed from a respectable distance. I haven't yet seen it from U.S. 101, but that's because I'm busy watching the road, not looking for distant flagpoles.

And Sharline had a really good sale in Manzanita on July 4. But it was a very long day for both of us. Because of a scheduled event on July 3, we were unable to set up until 7 a.m. July 4. That's a really early start for a couple of old codgers who would rather be home in bed. The show closed at 7 p.m.

 

Shortly after noon, I walked about a half mile to the parade assembly area and rode in the veterans' trailer, with some fellow veterans, at the head of the parade. That was really quite an experience. Manzanita puts on an outstanding parade --- lots of entries --- and this year's parade took about an hour for a person to see. In fact, we got back to our starting point while the final units of the parade were still leaving the assembly area.

The final entry in the parade was Cart'M. Three ladies were pushing wheeled garbage cans as a suggestion to the crowd to pick up its trash. But the downside of riding at the head of the parade is that you don't get to see the parade. But the streets in Manzanita were packed with parade-goers, many of whom had staked out their spots early in the morning or the night before. At the end of the parade, I followed the Cart'M ladies down the street to the Pine Grove Community Center. You couldn't walk on the sidewalks.

Sharline and I have had some visitations from the local deer lately. There is a doe and two spotted fawns who seem to enjoy spending the early morning hours in my yard. While eating breakfast the other morning, Sharline and I enjoyed watching that mama deer cleaning her little ones --- first one, then the other. But then some activity at the two houses uphill from me frightened them off. But they were back again today.

As I mentioned last week, there will be an informational meeting for county veterans and veterans' spouses on July 15 at the community hall, located in City Hall. Steve Weld, our County Service Officer, will speak to the group about veterans' benefits and answer questions. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m., and the meeting starts at six. Although the event is sponsored by the VFW Post and its Auxiliary Unit, you don't have to be a member to attend.

And another note about veterans, service members and former service members. On November 11, Oregon Veterans' Appreciation Medals will be awarded at the Air Museum. You must be present to receive your medal. Applications for the medals will be available at the Air Museum, the Elks Lodge, and a number of businesses around town. VFW Post 2848, here in Bay City, will also have a supply of the application forms. The medal costs you nothing, but if you want your name engraved on it, it will cost $8. You'll also need a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of honorable service. For more information, you may call me at (503) 377-4085.

And, while we're talking about coming events, don't forget the West Africa Day Camp at the Bay City Arts Center July 19 through 23. And on July 24, the Arts Center will put on its annual Ghana Café and performance. If you haven't heard OB Addo on the drums, you're in for a real treat. The Day Camp is $50 for the entire week. Call the Arts Center, (503) 377-9620, to register.

The following week, July 26 through 29, Wil Duncan, Business and Video Productions teacher at Tillamook High School, will teach a class on film-making. He will cover scripting, story boards, camera operation, and a host of other topics essential to creating exciting videos. Cost of this program is $140, which includes lunch. Call the Arts Center to register.

From July 30 through August 1 the North American Jews Harp Festival will be in town. This is a lot of fun. Besides Jews harps, you will see and hear virtually every unusual music-making device conceived by the human mind of. This is the 8th year the Jews Harp festival has been held in Bay City.

I had hoped to get some stuff written about old Bay City, but so far I haven't been able to muster the time. My yard is walking away from me. It's the worst I've ever seen. With the heat on top of all the moisture in the ground, the stuff is growing like Gang Busters. I'm going to have to get on it pretty quick, or the weeds will totally conceal my house from view.

But maybe that's not too bad an idea. Now, if there were only some way to screen out those pesky calls by political fundraisers short of mayhem ... .

July 22, 2010

Finally some typical summer weather. It's been a long time in coming. For myself, I've been so busy that I haven't been able to publish my Back Fence on time. Everything needs to be done, and every project takes precedence over every other project. That's the way we organize in the military. And my grass just keeps growing.

Our City Council didn't meet in July. When the Council held its monthly workshop July 12, it became glaringly apparent that there would not be a quorum present the following evening for a meeting. Mayor Shaena Peterson had to attend a banquet honoring Van Moe, former owner of KTIL, which Shaena now manages. And several other councilors were going to be absent for a variety of reasons.

And, looking at the agenda, the members attending the workshop agreed that there was nothing so pressing that it couldn't wait for the August 3 meeting. So the regular Council meeting was canceled and the Council got a holiday for July.

Ed Ketzel came to the July 12 workshop, not to promote the community garden he has started, but to express his concerns about smoky fires. There are some people upwind from his place who have had some very smoky fires which seemed to go on forever. Ed suggested that burning be allowed for a maximum of three hours at a time. While there was considerable disagreement among the Council members present as to the merit of his suggestion, all were in agreement that the matter be presented to Don Reynolds, Bay City's fire chief.

I would hasten to point out that offensive smoke is not directly covered in any Bay City ordinance. Bay City's Fire Prevention Code (codified 7-6.5) makes no mention of smoke. Nor is there any mention of offensive smoke in Bay City's Offenses and Nuisance ordinances. The rules printed on the burn permit forbid burning of selected substances known to generate toxic or noxious smoke or fumes, and these are derived from state DEQ regulations.

The Nuisance Ordinance is presently being amended, and I would strongly recommend that the City insert some language dealing with smoke generation. I know that Ed would appreciate that, as well as many more who suffer in silence when a neighbor's fire generates a lot of smoke for hours on end.

The Council got a holiday, but not the Planning Commission. We had our first land use issue in many months: site preparation for a single-family residence and garage. The reason it had to be considered by the Planning Commission was the extensive excavation and filling necessary to prepare the site, plus the need to restore a drainage channel.

 

We also approved a temporary sign promoting the sale of properties recently developed in the Goose Point area. You can't miss the sign. It's a plywood rectangle mounted on a boat resting on a boat trailer. The sign is on private land at the intersection of Alderbrook Road with U.S. 101. For the record, two of us voted against the temporary sign. I was one of them.

But in retrospect, I hope the sign is outrageously successful in its purpose: to sell the Goose Point properties. The sooner they are sold, the sooner that sign becomes history.

The Bay City Arts Center is in full summer swing. I know I'm a bit late on this, but West Africa week is in full swing and drawing to a close. I'm looking forward to the Ghana Café and gala performance Saturday evening at 6 p.m. The performance begins at 7 p.m. The kids who have attended the day camp all week will help present a play on African themes. And there will be dancing, storytelling and drumming. Cost is $15 for the dinner and gala performance, or $4 for just the dinner.

From July 26 through 29, Wil Duncan will conduct his class in Video Story Telling. Cost is $140. Sessions start at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

And on Friday, July 30, the 18th North American Jews Harp Festival gets underway. From Friday through Sunday, you'll hear pluckin' and pickin' like you've never heard before. This will be the eighth year the Arts Center has hosted the festival. You'll be amazed at the things these guys use to make their music.

On Saturday, August 7, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be a Magical Birthday Party for kids of all ages. The cost is $5 for the kids, but the upside is, that the parents accompanying their kids get in for free.

Starting at 5 p.m. August 7, there will be a reception for Abraham Lopes, August Artist of the Month. August 7 will be a busy day. Open mike starts at 7 p.m. You get in for free if you perform. But if, like me, you're too chicken or untalented to perform, admission will cost you about $3. But that shouldn't break the bank. For more information on Arts Center events, call (503) 377-9620.

When you come by the Arts Center, check out the garden. Most of the plots are laid out and some crops planted. But most of this year's efforts will be devoted to building up the soil. And the community garden between ArtSpace and the church is coming right along. They've already got one flower in it, if you count the big sunflower, or whatever that is, painted on the north side of ArtSpace. And more is coming. Trisha Kauffman showed me plans for a floral mural covering the entire north wall. Go for it, guys.

July 27, 2010

As of sunset Saturday, July 31, there will be no more outdoor burning until further notice. It's getting pretty dry out there now, and will continue to dry out as summer progresses. You will recall that open pile burning was cut off as of July 15. I don't know about you, but I intend to get all my barrel burning done in a mega burn Saturday, July 31.

And word from the Arts Center. The schedule has changed. Owing to too few signups, the Wil Duncan Video Story Telling class has been canceled. And to round out the week, the much-anticipated Jews Harp Festival has also been scrubbed. According to Karen Hansen, Arts Center Program Director, the guy who normally sets up the Jews Harp Festival is in Brazil.

It's sad, because this would have been the eighth successive year the Bay City Arts Center has hosted the festival. Earlier in the year, there was even talk of placing an addendum on the Bay City sign in the red rock beautification area proclaiming Bay City to be the Home of the American Jews Harp Festival. Let's hope they get it together next year.

But Karen lost no time filling in the summer schedule. August 7 will be a very busy day. Following the Magical Birthday Party from 2 to 4 p.m., comes the reception for Abraham Lopes, the August Artist of the Month, starting at 5 p.m. Open Mike, which starts at 7 p.m., features the RockShop bands under the direction of Neah-Kah-Nie music teacher Mike Simpson. Cost of the Magical Birthday Party is $5 for the kids, with their accompanying adults getting in for free. Cost for non-performing adults for Open Mike is $3, or $2 for members.

August 16-20 will feature a Theater Camp for kids in grades 7 through 10. Cost of the camp is $50, which includes lunch. There will be a performance Friday at 7 p.m. I've never ceased to be amazed at the original things kids can think up.

On Aug. 21 the Arts Center holds its Mid-Eastern Dinner Fundraiser. There will be a pre-dinner dancing class at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Cost for the dinner is $10. I don't know whether I will be able to make that one, since I will be just out of surgery.

I attended the Ghana Café and Gala Performance at the Arts Center last Saturday. No yams this year. But the food was great. In the kitchen I recognized Pat Vining and Charlie Wooldridge slaving away over the hot range, but I couldn't see who else was in there.

The Gala Performance was outstanding this year. Performing were Habiba Addo with her very animated story telling, singing and dancing, and OB and Tissi on the African drums. The children acted out a story from West African folklore about a greedy spider, a magical moss-covered rock, and various forest animals. The kids made their own masks and disguises. In all, it was a great evening, and I look forward to next year.

Plans are moving forward on the Centennial. What's new now, is that the Centennial actually begins Friday evening, Sept. 3, with Pat Vining's Texas Hold 'Em Poker at the Odd Fellows Hall starting at 7 p.m. The Poker Walk, which will take the players to a number of historic buildings and displays of historical photographs, will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept 4.

24 vendors have signed up for 28 tables, Patty Watson told the committee at its July 26 meeting, including several more food booths. I expect to sign up the VFW and Auxiliary for a table to distribute Buddy Poppies. Those wanting to sign up for a booth space should contact Patty at (503) 377-9660, or on her cell at (503) 201-9912. It's $35 per space.

 

Those wishing to enter a child in the children's parade should call Gretchen Power at (503) 377-2113. To enter a unit in the adults' parade, call Sharon Stafford at (503) 377-9123.

And it's official. The Oyster Shooters will perform for the Centennial Street Dance Saturday night. There was lots of discussion about a dunk tank, both pro and con. Once again I suggested a jail for guys who might have committed some arcane infraction, such as having shaved after August 1. Most men had beards back then. They could even do a beard auction. Naturally, someone suggested that if there were a jail, it would have to be in the Biergarten.

There are still Centennial sweat shirts and tee shirts for sale, so be sure to get one while they last.

The Arts Center is also offering booth spaces for vendors at $35 per space. To reserve a vendor's spot at the Arts Center, call (503) 377-9620.

More on the Centennial next week.

Ad Montgomery told me recently that she would be 99 years young come Aug. 11. She's been around almost as long as Bay City. May you have a happy one, Ad.

I got the word today that my friend Bill Rust has been in the hospital since Monday. He's having some problems with intractable pain and, of course, they found a few other items to address as well. Bill was diagnosed with a terminal condition earlier in the year, and given only a few months to live.

By an odd coincidence, the VA Hospital in Vancouver called me to see whether we could use an electric hospital bed which is no longer needed at a local care center. I put it to Bill, who said he'd have Karen, his wife, call me back. Karen told me that Bill had already been approved for a state-of-the-art electric hospital bed with air compression to reduce the chance of a patient's developing bedsores. I believe the VA Hospital has passed the word about the available hospital bed to our County Service Officer, Steve Weld.

The guy at the VA Hospital suggested that the VFW establish a Web site where the availability of hospital equipment and other items for the care of ill or aging veterans could be posted. I think it is a pretty good idea. When I was with the American Legion in Silverton, we had our own hall and a room full of hospital beds and equipment. Our problem here is that the VFW does not own its own post home. We have an agreement with the City of Bay City which permits us to meet in the community hall, and use the hall for several additional activities during the year. No place to store hospital equipment without renting a storage locker.

I am pleased to report that the neighborhood deer have been regular visitors this summer. They had been relatively scarce for the past two or three years. I guess it was all that digging and pounding going on uphill from my place. But I'm glad to see them back. There is a doe with her two little spotted fawns, plus at least one spiked buck and several other does. It's nice to have them back. Also, a pair of swallows has built a nest and raised a couple of little chicks the past three summers.

But we still miss the nesting pairs of owls and eagles which once frequented the trees around our property, trees which no longer exist. But most of all, we miss that blue heron which used to roost in the tall spruce across the road from us. Now, there is no more tree, and therefore no more heron. Sad.

August 4, 2010

I didn't quite make it on my barrel burning. Sunset was getting awfully close, and I still had one white trash bag left to burn. That's the breaks. It'll just have to wait until we get the green sign on the fire station, probably sometime in mid to late September. Remember, no more outdoor burning. Things are getting awfully dry around here, and, with all the tall grass around, an unauthorized burn could start a real barbecue. The whole place would go up.

My friends Wes and Ruth Curry e-mailed me recently in response to one of my columns. It was about the local deer. They spend a lot of time around the Currys' place --- I suspect they're the same deer that visit here, because there is a lot of undeveloped property between Wes's place and mine. They have lots of space to roam without having to cross streets.

I'd like to wish a happy birthday to Helen Wright. Actually she celebrated her 70th birthday in the park, camping with her grandkids. Several days, as a matter of fact, without a shower (Helen took pains to point out that little detail when telling the story.) It seems she was lured into an automobile on some pretext and driven to a surprise birthday party thrown by her entire family. So there she was, wearing the city park on her clothing, unwashed, smelling of smoke from the campfire, at a nice restaurant with all her family. But after a couple of beers, she said, her unwashed condition didn't seem to matter all that much. Anyway, happy birthday, Helen.

And another Bay City old-timer, Ad Montgomery, celebrates her 99th birthday on August 11. Ad moved from Minnesota as a young woman and settled in Portland, where she worked many years for Montgomery Ward (my father-in-law ran the floor covering department in that store). She and George met during her Portland days, and the couple came to Bay City and bought some property at the north end of town. Together they built their dream house, camping out in it as construction progressed. They moved here for keeps about 1980. George (we called him "Monty") became involved with the Master Gardeners, and Ad became a member of the Beautification Committee and the Bay City Boosters. It was Ad who was responsible for getting the speed limit on U.S. 101 through town lowered to 45 mph. Now, getting that out of ODOT was a real accomplishment. She wanted 35 mph, but the best she could get ODOT to do was 45. But she did succeed where most others have failed. So, Ad, may you have the happiest of birthdays and many more.

And there is another birthday I'd like to mention. Tony Reed, the Currys' brother-in-law, celebrates a birthday August 10. Tony is one of Bay City's finest, a member of the Bay City Fire Department. So, Tony, a very happy birthday to you, too.

Our Fire Department will be doing burgers and dogs for the Centennial this year, so there will be no community picnic as in past years. The firefighters usually collected lots of donations at the picnic, and they do perform many extra services for the people of Bay City. I had almost forgotten about it, but Wes's e-mail reminded me to make out my check to the Bay City Volunteer Firefighters' Association for a small donation to help them with their work for the community. Let me emphasize, the contributions are not used to pay for items in the Fire Department budget. The contributions help the firefighters put on Halloween and Christmas events for kids, purchase cuddly toys to give to children who have experienced a traumatic event, such as a house fire or sudden illness of a family member, and for uniforms. The uniforms, basically a shirt and pants, allow the guys and gals look sharp at public events.

And there is also an anniversary. Dave and Danielle Hurd celebrate their 20th anniversary today, August 4. So, Dave and Danielle, enjoy the happiest of wedding anniversaries. Sharline and I attended their anniversary party at ArtSpace. The place was packed --- practically standing room only. Sharline was relieved that they had two kinds of cake, a white cake and a chocolate one. (She is allergic to chocolate.) We had a great time eating white cake.

When I went to City Hall to pay my water bill the other day, I met an old friend. John Law, our former Public Works Superintendent, was passing through town on his way from Astoria back to Chemult, where he is enjoying his retirement. John collapsed suddenly several years ago, and underwent extensive hospitalization. He has recovered pretty well, he told me, except for the continuing weakness in his legs. He uses a can to walk, now. But we had a nice visit, and I brought him up to speed on the projects he was working on when he became ill.

Word from the Bay City Arts Center: The Middle East Dinner, originally scheduled for August 21, has been moved to October 2. It will be a fundraiser and celebration to support purchase of the Arts Center building by the BCAC Board of Directors.

There was a bit of controversy at the August 3 City Council meeting. The issue was business licenses. Very few people are familiar with Bay City ordinances regulating sales of certain types of items. There are four ordinances governing Bay City business licenses and permits.

Yard and garage sales are the most common sales residents need to be concerned about. Ordinance 312 (8-4) allows residents to have two yard or garage sales within any 12-month period. Each sale may last for as long as one week. You must obtain a permit from the city office to conduct each sale. There is no charge for the permit.

 

If you sell door-to-door in Bay City, you need a license, which costs $50 per year. Ordinance 417 (8-3) defines solicitors, hawkers and peddlers.

Licenses are also required for public games and amusement venues, such as carnivals, circuses or public performances in the streets. Cost of these licenses, set forth in Ordinance 218 (8-2), will depend upon the length of time the event will go on and the type of event.

Licenses for public performances in the streets, such as an Old West medicine show, would cost $5 for a day, $15 for a week, or $25 for a month. But, if you're operating a stand or booth on a street or sidewalk to sell goods, wares or merchandise, the license fee would be $5 per day, $10 per week or $25 per month.

Licenses for circuses, carnivals and other events of this type would cost $10 per day, $30 per week, or $75 per month.

But if you're dealing with a shooting gallery or bowling alley, the license fee is $10 per year, or $7.50 for a six-month period.

Now, if you're a junk dealer, as defined in Ordinance 468 (8-1), the license is only $10 per year, to expire December 31. But there is a lot of bookkeeping required if you obtain a $10 license to deal in junk or antiques.

I am publishing the foregoing at the request of Mayor Shaena Peterson. There was a lot of confusion over business licenses at the August 3 Council meeting. The Planning Commission had submitted a request to the City Council to consider requiring a business license to conduct business in Bay City --- any business. This recommendation was prompted by the deluge of "contractors" following the December 2007 storms. The subject came up at the June Planning Commission meeting. Some of the work done by these so-called "contractors" was reported to be not the best money could buy. We on the Planning Commission felt the citizens of Bay City should have some protection from unscrupulous individuals offering services for which they may not be properly qualified.

The suggestion initially met with resistance from members of the City Council, but they are now giving the matter more serious consideration. Diane Griffin, whose husband, Terry, is a masonry contractor, told the Council that Terry must obtain a business license from practically every city on the coast. According to Diane, cost of the license is typically about $50. Bay City is one of the few towns that don't require contractors to obtain a license. The Council plans to convene a workshop to discuss the matter in the coming weeks.

John Gettman, a member of the Council, wants to see the license fees put into a Streets Reserve to help pay for improvements outlined in the recently-completed Traffic System Plan.

There is one other thing people should be aware of. Off-premises signs are not permitted. The City has recently been collecting off-premises real estate signs which seem to mushroom about town periodically. I mention this because of the temporary off-premises sign the Planning Commission recently authorized for the people trying to sell their properties in the Goose Point area. At the Planning Commission, we agreed that we need to take another look at our sign ordinance.

The Centennial Committee continues to meet every Monday afternoon at 5:30 at the City Hall. 27 vendors have signed up for 32 spaces. Cost of a vendor space is $35. To obtain a booth application, contact Patty Watson at (503) 377-9660.

Now a horrible thought just occurred to me. With all the ranting about business licenses and fees, does the Centennial Committee need to apply to the City for a business license to sell goods at a streetside venue? Inquiring minds want to know.

Soon, when you dine at a local restaurant, your meal will be served on a Centennial placemat designed by young Abby Bowles. It's really cute. Check it out.

There are still 82 tee shirts and sweatshirts available for sale. They're going fast, so get yours while they're still available.

The Centennial Committee is still accepting applications for the adult and children's parades. Parade applications may be obtained from Sharon Stafford, (503) 812-9123, and Gretchen Power, (503) 377-2113, respectively.

Plans are moving forward for a story-telling session, and the Centennial Committee is looking for story-tellers. If you're interested in participating, call Linda Vining, (503) 377-2257.

Pat Vining told me that the Tillamook County Creamery Association will provide ice cream cones for the old-fashioned family picnic on September 5, and the Tillamook Country Smoker is donating prizes for the Poker Walk. There are four stops on the Poker Walk: The Bay City Library, ArtSpace, Downie's Café, and the Bay City Arts Center.

August 16, 2010

Plans for the Centennial are gathering lots of steam. At today's meeting we agreed on the parade route and the trophy categories for award of trophies for the parade entries.

As of today, there are 33 vendors signed up for about 37 table spaces. Vending space is rapidly filling up, so if you want a space and haven't signed up yet, call Patty Watson at (503) 377-9660 and get an application form.

Phyllis and Don Wustenberg and Hazel and Chuck Downie have been invited to be Grand Marshals for the parade. We have lots of parade entries, but could always use some more, so, if you are of a mind to enter the parade, contact Sharon Stafford at (503) 812-9123 for the adult parade, or Gretchen Power at (503) 377-2113 for the children's parade.

The parade will assemble at the corner of 4th and D Streets at about 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 4. Ken Beebehiser will judge parade entries between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Special 14-inch trophies will be awarded for the parade grand sweepstakes. Judging categories for the 12-inch trophies for adults are: Best Theme, Civic or Service, Antique Auto (more than 20 years old), Equestrian, Fraternal, Special Entries, Most Original and Clowns.

For the children, categories include: Decorated Cart or Wagon, Decorated Bike, and Best Out-of-Town. Children in the parade will receive a ribbon for participating.

The children's parade will precede the adults' parade. The parade, which starts at 11 a.m., will proceed north on 4th Street to Main Street; east on Main Street to 5th Street; south on 5th Street to Hayes Oyster Drive, west on Hayes Oyster Drive to 4th Street, and then follow the original parade route around town again. The parade will end at D Street.

Through traffic will be blocked during the parade. Those living on the parade route needing to leave their homes by automobile may do so, but must proceed with the utmost caution. There will be no parking on 4th Street on Sept. 4 and 5, and no parking on 5th Street during the parade.

Vendors will be located on B Street outside the City Hall and the Fire Station; there will be additional vendors inside the community hall. Vending booths will include food, crafts and at least one face-painting booth. The Fire Department will serve burgers and hot dogs both days at nominal cost Saturday and Sunday.

Centennial pamphlets listing the events for Saturday and Sunday should be available at City Hall and several other locations around town shortly.

 

The Arts Center notified me the other day that the Summer Theater Camp scheduled for Aug. 16 through 20 has been canceled, owing to insufficient sign-ups. But don't forget the Middle Eastern Dinner, now set for October 2 starting at 6 p.m. Now, if you really want to get a workout, there will be a belly dance class from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dinner and a dance presentation begins at 6 p.m. Cost of the dance class and dinner is $10.

I had the pleasure of meeting Samantha Swindler, the Headlight-Herald's new managing editor. Former owner Joe Happ introduced me to her at the County Fair, when he and his wife, Kathleen Newton, were visiting the newspaper's booth. I look forward to working with her on veterans-related events.

It was a pretty good fair. I'm told that USA Today rated it as among the top 10 county fairs in the country. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to bring it off.

I had the morning shift at the VFW booth all four days, and met some very interesting folks. I was surprised at the number of people from out of town and out of state. This year, as we did last year, we had kids write out and decorate cards to be sent to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were some pretty cute cards among them, and I'm sure the troops will enjoy them.

The VFW will soon be replacing the flag flying at KTIL with a bright new one. Shaena Peterson, station manager and mayor of Bay City, asked me several weeks ago if the VFW could do it and have a ceremony at the radio station when the old flag is retired and the new one is hoisted.

For the information of my readers, aging and tattered flags should be burned respectfully. The VFW accepts worn flags and retires them in the manner prescribed by law.

If you look at my yard, you'll notice that I have been neglecting it for the past two weeks. With the Centennial preparation that has been going on of late, plus working at the County Fair, I simply haven't had the time to cut down the dandelions. Even the local deer are neglecting the dandelions, opting instead for the ripening blackberries. This year, they are abundant and quite small. The deer are welcome to them.

Later this week, I'm scheduled for some surgery at Providence Portland to remove something discovered on my recent colonoscopy. I'll be glad when that's out of me. According to the doctor, it's quite young, so hopefully we've caught it in time. We'll see

August 27, 2010

It's been a while, and lots has happened since I last wrote a Back Fence. I'm referring to my Aug. 19 surgery, politely referred to as a butt-reaming in real time. Now, I've had many butt-reamings during my Navy career, but this one had real teeth.

I'll spare you the graphic details. Suffice it to say that I have become duly impressed with the almost infinite variety of ladies' sanitary napkins on the market. They sent me home with a wad of cotton batting in my underwear --- not very comfortable, to be sure. My neighbor, Betty Oliver, came to the rescue with a package of Kotex napkins, the type --- or one of the many types --- that sticks to the underwear.

But I am feeling better, provided I remember never to stray too far from a toilet.

As I was getting ready to leave the house to attend my Planning Commission meeting Wednesday evening, the phone rang. It was my doctor with some news. He had removed a growth about five centimeters, or two inches, in diameter. Both he and the doctor who had done my colonoscopy had been pretty sure that it was cancerous. But, guess what? No cancer.

You might imagine my relief at hearing that news. Just that afternoon I was going over in my mind how I might get scheduled to have my chemo with my friend, Bill Rust. Happily, that Is no longer a worry. I thank you all for your prayers.

My friend John Gettman has had a rough week. He had to visit the emergency room, and was pretty much out of circulation for several days, sleeping most of the time, Dorothy told me. John had undergone surgery about a month ago, and is having a difficult recovery. But he has improved, and I got to talk to him yesterday. So, get well, John. We need you!

Back to the Planning Commission, I might relate some of the goings-on under Visitor Propositions. We had two visitors that evening, one of whom will not be named for reasons I understand and respect.

He was concerned about community gardens, looking specifically at the garden across from the Arts Center. His concern, basically, was how the runoff from all that bare dirt was to be handled. Though community gardens may be like motherhood and apple pie, he said, we need to be cognizant of the problems which could be created by muddy runoff. There was one other recommendation: that the rules being drafted for community gardens provide that the garden be for nutritional purposes only. In other words, no plants that yield only material that people never eat --- perhaps like cotton?

Dick Diamond had some comments about the Nuisance Ordinance presently in the amendment process before the City Council. Dick noted that some of the prohibitions presently in the ordinance were ridiculous, citing as an example the limit of 10 days to park an RV on a city street. "How do you enforce that?" he said, noting that it is all too easy to game the system.

 

His message, basically, was to avoid including things that can't be enforced. Bay City has a code enforcement officer, but code enforcement is in addition to his regular duties --- and they are many. Bay City's policy is "complaint-driven," meaning that a violation is not addressed unless a citizen comes to the office to file a complaint.

Dick also referred to what he perceived as unequal treatment, where an ordinance might not be enforced against one citizen while another with a similar violation gets tagged. Not good. You're making a mockery of the process, and could end up shelling out some hard-won dollars defending the city in litigation arising from the 14th Amendment, equal protection under the law. Our tax dollars have many better uses.

Dick also recommended that all money collected for code violations be kept in the city and used for its benefit. Presently, using the County Justice Court, much of the money remains with the county. The solution, Dick said, is to have our own municipal court.

And, Dick cautioned, when defining nuisances or offenses, remember that it is all too easy to exceed the capacity of the code enforcement staff. He urged the City Council to deal with policies that are reasonable.

And the Centennial looms over our heads. The planning has reached the point where the event is simply going to happen, in spite of anything we do --- or don't do. I'm sorry my situation has not permitted me to participate more fully in the planning process.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, there will be a special story-telling session at ArtSpace. Diane Zink, a member of the Centennial Committee, has asked Jack Graves of Garibaldi to facilitate a discussion of early Bay City history. Though most of Jack's writing has been about Garibaldi, his work contains much about Bay City. I plan to be with Jack at that session, and we'd like to get some of the town's old-timers to participate.

I've already published three articles on old Bay City history, and plan to write at least one more. I plan to have copies of my drafts available for anyone wishing to take one. The rest of the weekend is now pretty-well cast in stone, and it ain't gonna change at this late date. Event schedules are now posted all over town, so there's no point in repeating the schedule here.

But I'll add one item. The Bay City Arts Center will have a Clam Chowder Luncheon on Sept. 4. Cost is only $10. Other special September events at the Arts Center include a display of historical photos on Sept. 4; a jazz guitar workshop conducted by John Stowell from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and a guitar concert by Stowell at 6 p.m. on Sept. 19; and a concert by Joe Wrabeck at 7 p.m. Sept. 25.

And a final note on the aftermath of my surgery and feminine sanitary napkins. Has any thought been given to tampons?

August 31, 2010

It's going to happen. Come Saturday, we'll have a gala Centennial celebration. As I pointed out to Linda Vining the other day, we're at the point where it's going to happen in spite of anything we do.

The weather prospects, as of today, look pretty good, but lots can change in the five days remaining before the event unfolds. Let's hope we actually get the sunshine we are being promised today.

At our final Centennial planning meeting, Patti Watson reported that there would be 45 vendors, some selling food, occupying 53 spaces. Vendors will be on B Street, outside City Hall and the Fire Station. The street will be closed for the event, and some of the vendors will be located in the middle of it. Though most of the vendors will be on the street, there will be 11 vendors inside the Community Hall.

Travelers downtown will note a large semi trailer, which will serve as a stage for the Biergarten (pardon the German spelling, but it just seems more natural that way). In the Biergarten, beer, wine and pop will be sold using scrip --- and only scrip. And, you'll enjoy he music of the Oyster Shooters.

Tom Dotson, representing the Fire Department, said the firefighters would be selling burgers and hot dogs for a bargain price. For $5, he said, you get a burger or dog, potato salad, a cookie and some pop. And, he added, the items are also available ala carte.

Sharon Stone said there were 23 entrants for the parade so far. Jack Scovell will be driving Hazel and Chuck Downie as Grand Marshals. The other Grand Marshals are Phyllis and Don Wustenberg, and I don't know who is driving them. There will be prizes for parade entrants, and someone is going to round up everyone in period dress to select the best dressed for award of a prize.

Gretchen Power said she had only one entrant for the kids' parade, but that any kid who shows up for it gets to march.

In a precursor to the formal Centennial, perhaps to get people in the mood, Pat Vining will conduct a Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament at the Odd Fellows Hall Friday, September 3, starting at 7 p.m.

The event officially gets underway at 10 a.m. with formation of parade units at 4th and D Streets. The parade steps off at 11 a.m. and goes twice around town: north on 4th Street to Main Street, East on Main to 5th Street, south on 5th Street to Hayes Oyster, west on Hayes Oyster to 4th, thence once again around town.

 

 

At 1 p.m. at ArtSpace, there will be a history session with some of the City's old-timers --- people who have lived here all their lives. That should be interesting, and I am looking forward to listening to people's stories about the old days.

And, don't forget the poker walk. It starts at noon at the Bay City Library, and continues to 4 p.m. The walk will take you to all the sites in the City displaying historical photos of old Bay City.

On Sunday there will be an old-fashioned family picnic in the park. The Bay City United Methodist Church Choir will perform, starting at noon. Bring your own picnic basket and be prepared to enjoy the ice cream cones donated by the Creamery. Many of our local business have donated generously, and I will recognize them in the next issue of the Back Fence.

I look to see all of you there, and hope that everyone enjoys the Centennial as much as the committee has enjoyed organizing it for you. Let's live it up this weekend.

Last week I reported some concerns about community gardens by one of our citizens. Sadly, when that citizen was speaking, I had not taken notes, so I had most of his comments in my head. And these days, my head is getting more and more to resemble a sieve. (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?)

I received some comments regarding my piece from that citizen and I would like to expand what I wrote last week to make for a clearer record.

He wrote: "Rest of the story is we have to be cognizant of all runoff including the streets that have no ditches! The new ruling about the Clean Water Act that will require a permit to "Log" could transpose to all streets everywhere! Just think: When our first rains happen in a few weeks, where is the oil, rubber, coolant, etc., that has accumulated on the roads going to go? You guessed right! Right smack dab into our Rivers ... !"

I also heard from Ed Ketzel as well. Ed started the garden at 16th and Spruce, and he had some comments about non-food plants.

Ed wrote: "I don't think anyone realizes that restricting planting in the gardens to only edible or nutritious is barking up the wrong tree. There is a need for other plants and flowers for pest control, and water retention. They also help with pollinating. If the planning committee is making any code changes, and/or new ordinances, they might ask for input from the people doing the gardens."

I thank you both for your input. Reader input is always welcome.

September 8, 2010

BAY CITY, --- The dust has settled and the Bay City Centennial Celebration is history. While I don't have all the details yet, I can give you the parade results.

There were 49 entries in the parade, a pretty sizeable number for a small city.

Parade Categories and winners were:

Grand Sweepstakes, won by Downie's Café.

Most Original Entry, won by Cutting Loose Salon.

Equestrian, won by Kaitlan Dolan.

Special Entry, won by Jesse Watts, 102 years young.

Antique Auto, won by Mark and Pam Searle for their 1928 Chevy truck.

Best Theme, won by Kathleen Confer and Wanda Hurliman.

Civic and Service, won by Bay City Boosters marchers and car owned by Jim and Khana Henry.

Special thanks go to Jack Scovell, Bob Graham, Byron Richardson and Jim Stephenson, who escorted the dignitaries.

Parade Chairperson Sharon Stafford and the Boosters Centennial Committee thank City Public Works Superintendent Dave Pace and his crew, Sheriff's Deputies Robert Pippenger and Dean Burdick, and the Sheriff's Cadets for their special help in making the parade a success.

Special thanks and appreciation go to parade judges Linda Kay Marshall and Cindy Harrison.

I am told it was a great parade, though, sadly, I was unable to see any of it. I was helping Sharline at her craft table while the parade was going on.

I was able to attend about an hour of the history story-telling session at ArtSpace Saturday afternoon. Local author Jack Graves moderated the session, which produced some interesting stories of Bay City during the early '30s. Jack has written several books on local legend and lore, his most recent being a history of the Port of Garibaldi, which actually began life in 1910 as the Port of Bay City.

Ken Beebehiser noted that, at 83, he is only 17 years younger that the City of Bay City. Ken grew up in Bay City and attended the old Bay City High School. Ken recalled a schoolteacher who told him that there lots of hungry people around, but no one has ever starved to death in Bay City. There were always oysters and clams from the bay. But the trouble with them, he said, was that after eating them for five days, you couldn't stand to look at them. But after another three days of near starvation, they looked pretty good again.

But Ken's story for the history books was the tale of a hero whom he will remember until his dying day. Ken's hero was a state cop. A person who once worked for Ken told him that his family was once destitute. From one day to the next, the family didn't know where the next meal was coming from. But a state police trooper named Felix Gaiton came to their house to see whether they had enough food. The next morning, the state trooper returned with a deer, cleaned and dressed, ready to cut up into steaks. In short, this cop had gone out and poached a deer for them. It took a real hero, Ken said, to go outside the law to feed a needy family.

Ken recalls that when he was about seven years old, the Hayes family planted oysters in the bay. This led to Bay City's annual Oyster Festivals. There were merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, vendors --- the works. Ken recalls that they dumped the oysters into a trench, filled it up, then poured gasoline over it and lit it off. Why the gasoline didn't flavor the oysters, Ken didn't know. But after cooking overnight in the trench, half of Tillamook County came down the following day and gorged themselves on the oysters.

After about two or three years, people started bringing sacks with them to take the oysters home.

Ken recalled playing softball on the Oyster Festival grounds after the festival was over. Hazel Platt, a small lady, was at bat. A pitched ball bounced and went up her skirt --- and didn't come back out. Making like she was doing a hula dance produced no result. So she did a wiggle, and voila, the ball was ejected.

Ken recalled the rowboat races from the railroad tracks to the end of the dock, and the mud races in the old millpond. The racers would typically sink up to their knees. Ken said he had lived here 83 years, served two hitches in the military, and he's never found a place nicer to live in than Bay City.

Bub Simmons came armed with about 16 pages of notes. But it really wouldn't be that long, he said, because "I write very large." Bub, at 87, is the oldest of those still living who grew up in Bay City. In the Bay City of his youth, a "small town," there were two movie houses, two hotels, one of which had a bar, and a guy who had a still up on Patterson Creek. This was shortly after the start of Prohibition.

There were also two boarding houses, two grocery stores, one horse barn, one hospital, a school, three churches, city hall, library, service station, tinker and blacksmith, brickyard, two canneries, a crab house, two lodges, a sawmill, a train station, a candy store, a beer and pool hall, one tavern, a bank, a water system, a hotel switchboard, a hardware store, and a light plant.

The light plant operated only from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. To get water to it, they dug a trench from Jacoby Creek to a flume by the light plant. At the train station, people arriving from Portland would cross the bay by launch, operated by Bub's grandfather, to the resort community of Bay Ocean.

Bub went on to say that he and his wife just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary by jumping out of an airplane. With parachutes.

Bub's great great grandfather was in the Confederate Army, worked as a medic and later became a doctor. When he was a kid, his grandfather tried to teach him to speak Chinook, but, Bub said, there were only two Indians with whom he could converse. They were women living on Miami Cove, who drank straight vanilla, which is about 95 percent alcohol. He said when they had been drinking, they smelled like birthday cakes.

Bub's mother said her three boys were raised "in the bay," not "on the bay." Bub and his brothers were always swimming or doing something in the water.

But the boys wanted one thing above all else: a sailboat. Bub had been promised a sailboat when he turned 14. While the boys' initial aspirations were a bit grandiose, Bub's father was able to scale their desires down to a 12-foot ketch. They sailed the boat all over the bay, and frequently rowed when the wind was not favorable. That's why his shoulders are so well developed, Bub explained.

 

One day the ketch was stolen. The culprit was a character called Wild Bill Oboski, who was spotted rowing the boat down the bay. Oboski had a barge tied to the dock. Raymond and Bub snuck onto the barge and found Oboski's sleeping quarters containing a stove and a bed. They disconnect a length of stovepipe and dumped the accumulated soot onto his sheets and remade the bed.

Bub's father took the boys aside after dinner for what portended to be a trip to the woodshed --- "so we didn't dare lie," as Bub put it. So they told the unvarnished truth, that they did indeed trash Oboski's bed, explaining that it was because Oboski had stolen their sailboat.

Confronted by Bub's father, Oboski grudgingly admitted that he had taken the boat. Several days later the boys found their boat sunk in the mud in a slough. With the tide rising, the boys were able to free the boat, which was pretty badly trashed, and get it ready to sail back to Bay City. According to Bub, Oboski helped them get the boat out of the water so it could be cleaned. There was never any further trouble with Mr. Oboski.

Phyllis Wustenberg commented on what a great place Bay City was to be a child. It was an age of innocence. There was never anything for a kid to fear. To come home from school, Phyllis explained, "we came over the hill, through the forest, by ourselves, which our parents thought to be a lot safer than coming downtown." That was when Phyllis was in the fourth or fifth grade. "We just had a marvelous time. We had woods and creeks, and people who watched out for us."

She recalled bringing her lunch to school one day. Ken Beebehiser, seated nearby, gasped "Oh no!" when he opened his lunch bag. He had mistakenly brought a sack of onions.

"When Bay City lost its school, the same thing happened that happened to many small towns. The hub of all the activities was in the school. The heart thing went out of the town for a while."

Phyllis read from something her sister, who could not be here, wrote about the school. "Not only did it house the grades one through twelve, but it was the center for several community activities. Basket socials and pie socials were popular fund-raising activities. We would decorate boxes and fill them with enough for a lunch or dinner for two people. An auctioneer would lead the bidding until the highest bidder won the pleasure of eating with whomever brought the basket. Mother usually included fried chicken in ours, so it brought in a good price. Of course we sat in fear that the wrong person would buy it.

"The pie socials were my favorite in high school. I always wanted to take a chocolate pie with nuts and whipped cream on top. Sometimes the boys could put their money together and bid. They usually won the bid, and my girlfriend and I would get to eat with the boys. I remember Louie Platt would bring sour cream raisin pie that was very popular. If I ever bid, it was always on the raisin pie."

Phyllis noted that several kids played the fiddle or the guitar, but admitted that whatever they played would not be regarded as music today. But, she said, "that's where we all learned to dance, in the Odd Fellows' Hall. It was loud, kind of off key, but we all had a wonderful time."

Fred Brown owned the local tavern. "During the basketball season at high school, Brownie let us kids come in after the ball games and enjoy a soda or a root beer. He would make the regulars at the bar go in the back room while we had our treats. I can't remember whether he treated us, or if we paid."

Hilda Butler was the town phone operator. The phone switchboard was located in the same building as the post office. Mrs. Peterson, or "Petie," was the postmistress. Mrs. McCurry lived up on a hill and was the West Coast Distributor of gossip. Hilda would often put Petie on the line and Mrs. McCurry as well. "You talk about police state, Bay City had its own special phone surveillance, and it worked."

Jack Graves interjected that in 1931, Garibaldi kids came to Bay City to go to school.

Phyllis added that kids in Idaville and the kids who had attended the Cloverleaf School, all came to Bay City to go to school.

When she graduated from college in 1945, Phyllis said, she was from a class of nine kids graduating from high school in Bay City. "I think it was amazing that seven of that nine went to college. Some didn't stay there, and others stayed longer than they needed to."

She said her father, who served on the Bay City Port Commission and on the City Council taught us that we should give back to the community.

In 1948 or '49, there was a vote to consolidate with the Tillamook school district. Tillamook voted Yes and Bay City voted No. A second election produced the same result. There were many old timers still living in Bay City who remembered the naming of the county seat. When the county seat was named, and through "terrible, nefarious skullduggery, Tillamook won," there was a lot of lingering bad feeling.

Phyllis added a codicil to the Oyster Festival. It was a huge event each year, with people from all around coming to Bay City to eat oysters and take some home. The last year, it rained, and the oysters didn't cook properly. Many people got sick, and that cooked the Oyster Festival.

The story-telling session continued for about another one-half hour, but I was unable to remain. The Arts Center made a video of the session, and I expect that the video will be available for viewing shortly.

Several checked the park on Sunday for the old-fashioned family picnic, and found the park nearly deserted save for a guy handing out ice cream cones. Sharline and I had wanted to go to the park to have a picnic lunch, but decided not to because of the difficulty in buying a lunch at the fire station and getting it over to the park while trying to control a dog on a leash.

But Pat Vining assured everyone that he had given out more than 200 ice cream cones in 30 minutes. Guinness Book of Records, anyone?

I'll have a complete rundown on the Centennial Celebration following the Centennial Committee's final meeting Monday, Sept. 13.

One other announcement would be in order. After a dry August, the rains of early September have resulted in the reopening of barrel burning. The infamous red sign was changed to green Tuesday morning, and I lost no time burning my accumulated trash.

But remember, you may burn in barrels only. No open burning is allowed yet. And, you need a burn permit, which can be obtained at no charge at city hall.

September 29, 2010

BAY CITY, --- It's been a while. This has been a very busy summer --- too many visits to doctors' offices. I guess that's the price one pays for getting old. And, as of September 13, I notched up yet another year --- I'm now 79. Bummer.

But my friend, Bill Rust, had the answer. During our VFW meeting September 15, Bill stood up halfway through the meeting and announced that he'd like to make a small presentation. Bill's wife, Karen, had prepared some éclairs for the guys' refreshment during the break. Bill stuck a candle into an éclair, lit it and presented it to me while the guys sang "Happy Birthday."

That was the messiest birthday "cake" I've ever eaten. I commented to Bill later, that it was a great birthday éclair, but the candle seemed a bit crunchy. Then, later, when I had to seek entrance to the Ladies' Auxiliary meeting for some important business, I got "Happy Birthdayed" all over again. I guess that should hold me for two years.

Bill is still holding his own --- has his good days and his bad days. I hadn't seen him for several weeks, owing to the Centennial and all the other things going on in my life. When I went to visit with him yesterday, he seemed to be doing pretty well. But he turned out to be the bearer of bad news. Father Ray Ferguson had died. I was not aware that Father Ray had been ill, and the news came as a real shock to me. Father Ray had been the chaplain for the Civil Air Patrol, and participated in a number of VFW activities as well.

Bill mused that Father Ray and he were in a race to see who got there first. It seems Ray won, but Bill noted that it would not be long before they joined forces.

There will be a memorial service for Father Ray Oct. 9 at the Episcopal Church. My sincerest condolences to Father Ray's family. We will all miss him.

The Boosters met Sept. 24 to start their new activity year. Mayor Shaena Peterson addressed the club briefly while they were eating lunch. Shaena announced that the Forestry Department would put on an informal information session October 20.

They are concerned about the dramatic increase in unauthorized dumping along the Forest Road, once commonly referred to as the Old Dump Road. It's true that there was once a dump up there, but it has been cleaned up --- several times. Shaena reported that dumping now includes contractor waste from construction jobs in Bay City and possibly elsewhere. This has to stop. Dumping in that area will most certainly befoul Patterson Creek and other drainage ways to the bay. It was suggested that, when the contractors take a load of debris to the county dump site, the property owner ask to see the dump receipt.

It was also reported that the Centennial was a rousing success from a financial standpoint. As of September 24, they had almost $3,400 in the bank, and most of the major bills had been taken care of. It looks like there will be a tidy sum to dedicate to the city park after all the dust has finally settled.

And there is a host of folks to thank, for without their help, the Centennial would never have gotten off the ground. The September 21 issue of the Tillamook County Shopper listed many folks and businesses for special recognition and thanks for their contributions to make the celebration a success.

It's really hard to think of all the people or organizations who deserve thanks for their contributions, and invariably, someone gets omitted, not through malice, but because the list-makers are fallible human beings. When I first looked at the list Pat Vining gave me, it looked OK. But after reading it in the paper, some omissions became quite apparent to me. So let me take it upon myself to extend some kudos to some deserving people.

First I would like to thank Master Chief Mike Saindon and the U.S. Coast Guard for leading the parade with one of their rescue boats. I've just gotta get over there one day soon and have a cup of midwatch coffee with Mike.

I would also like to extend a vote of thanks for the many vendors who did much to make the event a pleasurable one for all concerned. We learn from our mistakes, and if and when we do another event with vendors, we'll be sure to put them where they are more easily visible from the highway. Most of us didn't make all that much, but we enjoyed doing it.

Also, I would like to thank County Commissioner Mark Labhart and State Senator Betsy Johnson for being a part of our Centennial. I had some communication with our representative, Deborah Boone, who expressed her regret for not being able to take part. She was in Europe because of a prior commitment.

The only thing that really didn't come off was the old-fashioned family picnic in the park. Sharline and I made our way over to the park in hopes of getting some of that free ice cream Pat Vining was dishing out. There was nobody in the park, and Pat had run out of ice cream. We had wanted to close our booth to have our lunch in the park, but I still wasn't feeling that chipper after my surgery in August, and Sharline was really not able to walk the distance from the City Hall to the park. So I brought our Polish sausages back to the City Hall where we had our lunch. Actually, Mark Killion, one of our firefighters, carried the stuff back for me. Thanks, Mark.

But Pat told me later that he and Linda had a very nice picnic lunch at the park, where they were serenaded by the church choir. Next time, we'll probably put more organization into the picnic part of the program.

 

We have one last task remaining to be done. The Centennial Committee is going to prepare a time capsule to be opened at the next Centennial in 2110. If any of you think of something we should include in the time capsule, we'd welcome your input. We're going to meet on October 18, so if you have any ideas, let me know before then.

Pat also reported that the Friends of the Library had a successful spaghetti feed in September. They cleared almost $350 to support summer reading and other programs at the Bay City and Garibaldi libraries. Many thanks to the person who donated the cost of the food. Pat was in rare form that evening. Decked out in an apron resembling the Italian Flag, Pat cooked up spaghetti and lasagna dishes fit for King Victor Emanuel himself. (He was the first king of a united Italy.)

Don Reynolds, our Bay City Fire Chief, forwarded me an e-mail from the office of the State Fire Marshal. Governor Ted Kulongoski has declared the week of October 3 through 9 Fire Prevention Week in Oregon. It was a lengthy message, loaded with statistics about house fires, fatalities and all the other things we'd rather not see happen to us or any of our loved ones. But the statistics were accompanied by lots of great advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of a house fire.

The age of technology in which we live is yielding a virtual cornucopia of new and improved products, including smoke alarms. If you have smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old, replace them. The message also suggests replacing smoke alarm batteries, including backup batteries in wired smoke alarms. All batteries gradually lose their charge over time. The missive also suggests installing smoke alarms in each bedroom and outside each sleeping area, and on all levels of the house --- even in the basement.

If your smoke alarm goes off, get out of the house immediately and call 9-1-1 from a safe place. (Be sure to have your cell phone where you can grab it on your way out the door.)

The next recommendation is to prepare and rehearse a family escape plan in case of fire. Everyone should prepare an emergency kit in case of a fire. We've been preaching emergency kits for some time in case of a major disaster such as an earthquake and/or tsunami. That kit, if kept where it will be reasonably safe if your house burns down, will serve admirably for fire evacuation as well. Just be sure your disaster kit has materials for treating burns. My emergency stuff is in a locker located in the greenhouse by my garden shed. Figure out a plan and a stash that works for your situation. You'll be glad you did.

If you would like help with your smoke alarms, the Bay City Fire Department would be glad to accommodate you. If you need information or help, call the Fire Department at (503) 377-0233. Leave a message if no one is there to take your call. Since we have a volunteer fire department, there are times when nobody is there. Don assures me that your call will receive prompt attention.

Danielle Hurd forwarded me an e-mail recently seeking contributions of clothing, bedding, services and other items to help families down on their luck. Items needed are camping space, school clothes, beds, pillows, towels, blankets, car repairs, temporary housing --- it's a long and varied list. If you would like to help out, call Tillamook Family Counseling Service at (503) 842-8201.

The Bay City Arts Center has announced a few changes in its fall schedule. The Middle Eastern Dinner and Belly Dancing Class has been rescheduled from October 2 to November 13. The event is scheduled as a fundraiser to help the Arts Center buy the building.

Artists of the Month for October will be several local stone sculptors who were students of D.J. Garrity, renowned Portland sculptor. Garrity will host sculpting workshops October 8 through 10 and 15 through 17. Tuition for each workshop is $235 for new students.

Those coming to the Pancake Breakfast October 17 will have a unique opportunity to observe D.J. Garrity's stone sculptors during a workshop. Cost of the breakfast is $5, or $4 for Arts Center members.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 23, Larry Prattis and Peter Janson will present a concert of fingerstyle guitar music from Celtic to Contemporary. Admission is $5.

More information is available on the Arts Center Web site. Just click the link in the Grapevine.

I guess it's common knowledge by now that there is an election coming up on November 2. Ballots will be mailed out on October 15. The last day ballots can be mailed and arrive in time to be counted is October 28. There is now a ballot drop box outside the Bay City Library, where ballots can be dropped up through Election Day.

The last day you can register to vote is October 12. Registration cards postmarked October 12 will be considered valid. Remember, your vote counts!

Back Fence October 23, 2010
By John Sollman

I begin today on several very sad notes.

Condolences

My sincerest condolences go to Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi on the passing of his wife, Cary. As I understand it, Cary died suddenly the night of Oct. 11. They life-flighted her to a Portland hospital, but she couldn't be saved.

Commissioner Mark Labhart advised that services for Cary Josi will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, in the Garibaldi Grade School gymnasium. The Garibaldi Grade School is located at 604 Cypress Street, Garibaldi.

Condolence cards may be sent to Commissioner Josi at his home, 6740 Baseline Road, Bay City, OR 97107. In lieu of flowers, Commissioner Josi asks that donations be made to the Dr. Betlinski Fund at Tillamook Bay Community College. Checks should be made payable to the TBCC Foundation, with a notation that the donation is for the Dr. Betlinski Fund.

Again, Tim, my sincerest condolences to you and your family.

I mentioned in my last Back Fence that Father Ray Ferguson died on September 26. I attended his memorial service at St. Alban's Episcopal Church on October 9. To say that the place was packed would be a gross understatement. I attended the service in the basement, where it could be seen on closed circuit TV.

I had known Father Ray through my friend, Bill Rust. Bill commanded the local Civil Air Patrol squadron, and Father Ray was its chaplain. Though Father Ray didn't belong to our local VFW post, he participated in many of our outdoor events. Robin Taylor forwarded me a picture of Father Ray in his C.A.P. uniform, taken, I believe, last Memorial Day at the Idaville Cemetery, where we had gathered to raise the flag. He looked pretty hale and hearty at that time, and I was unaware that he had a serious health problem.

Father Ray was truly a guy who practiced what he preached. Our VFW post and the C.A.P. were not the only organizations touched by Father Ray. He was generous with his time, and served the people of Tillamook County in many capacities. He worked with Habitat for Humanity, the Tillamook County Women's Resource Center, Community Action Resource Center (CARE), A Place of Our Own, Tillamook County United Way, and the Tillamook Fire District and Board of Directors. He also served as chaplain for the Tillamook County Sheriff's Office, and belonged to the Elks Lodge and the Lions Club.

Father Ray was voted Tillamook Citizen of the Year on two different occasions. When he wasn't working with one of the groups he supported, or seeing to the needs of a parishioner or a stranger in need of help, Father Ray liked to fish, cook, enjoy family life, and fly airplanes. Yes, he was also a licensed pilot.

My condolences to Father Ray's wife of 52 years, Louise, and all of his family.

I must also offer my condolences to Debbie Vierra on the passing of her husband and my friend, John Vierra. I met John when I became a member of VFW Post 2848. John was always resourceful, and helped the post on many projects. John's passing was not unexpected, however. He had been ill for quite some time. He will be missed at our meetings and events. I had come to know Debbie through her job as bookkeeper at the Bay Ocean Medical Group, which recently became a part of Adventist Health as the Tillamook Medical Group.

John was honored at a memorial service at Waud's Funeral Home on October 16.

Thar's B'ars in them thar hills!

Chuck Bartholet told me yesterday that he had found the carcass, or the remnants thereof, of a two-point buck in his back yard. Chuck has a nice pond in his back yard, and the local fauna often come there to drink or just sit and ruminate.

It was a bear, Chuck told me. If it had been a cougar, the animal would have hidden its prey. But bears are messy. There was precious little left of the poor deer. There were some entrails scattered about, and, of course, the bones.

So, a word to the wise. I've heard several reports of bears in the area. They're fattening themselves up for their long winter's nap, and they'll eat anything they can get their paws on. So, it's best not to let Fido or Fluffy run loose, especially at night.

And on the same day Chuck discovered the carcass, there was another incident. A woman's car careening down Portland Avenue managed to run off the road and wedge itself between a tree and a power pole on Dan Utterson's property. Really totaled the car and didn't do the tree any good. Since this is only about two blocks from Chuck's house, perhaps the lady was trying to avoid a hungry bear crossing Portland Avenue on its way to Chuck's for breakfast.

Upcoming events

Sharline and I had breakfast at the Arts Center the third Sunday in October, and we got a chance to watch the stone sculpting class in progress. All around the Arts Center there were examples of the work --- faces carved onto large, heavy rocks.

Looking ahead to November, Robin Taylor advises me that the VFW Ladies Auxiliary will take part in a Bazaar Nov. 12 and 13 at the Eagles Lodge in Tillamook. The Eagles Lodge is located on Stillwell, near Second Street and the new Astoria Bank. Robin advises that there will be a bake sale, lots of goodies, and some opportunities to do some Christmas shopping as well. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13.

Of course you know that Veterans' Day is coming up Nov. 11. There will be a gala celebration of the holiday at the Air Museum. This year commemorates the 65th year since the end of hostilities in WWII, and the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. WWII veterans will be honored at the Air Museum ceremony, which will feature Dr. Clayton Kelly Gross and Peggy Lutz, both WWII veterans, as keynote speakers.

The Saturday before, Nov. 6, Friends and Family of Active Duty Military will host a breakfast to raise funds to send Christmas gifts to Tillamook County military personnel serving on active duty. This is a worthy cause, and I hope it is well attended. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon, and suggested contribution is $5.

A success story

If you are anything me, you probably followed the rescue of the 33 miners trapped underground in Chile. That was an example of a well-planned, well-executed operation. It went flawlessly and was completed in far less time than originally estimated.

Watching how smoothly the rescue went, I couldn't help but think how lucky the Chileans were that FEMA was not running the show!

But there seems to be a downside to that great rescue operation. Now that the good news is over, nosy newsies from around the globe are trying to dig up whatever dirt they can find about the trapped miners. They're milking the story for all it's worth, despite the ill effects that could have on the miners. They'll be in a mentally and emotionally fragile condition for some time to come. You just don't come out of a terrifying, claustrophobic event like being trapped underground for 69 days without bringing some baggage out with you.

Locomotive Bells

I recently received a call from Larry Beaver, who, I believe, lives in Gresham. He said he had read my piece, "Rails to Nowhere," in the Grapevine. Larry has a locomotive bell said to have been removed from an old logging locomotive which had operated on the Pacific Railway and Navigation Company many years ago. The loco was being scrapped early in WWII, when some rail buff spotted that beautiful bell and couldn't bear to see it melted down. He kept it, later passing it on to his young son. Both have gone on to their eternal reward, and now the bell resides with Larry.

 

 

Larry, a history buff, would like to find out more about the bell's history: On which locomotive was the bell mounted, and when was it taken out of service? What is the chain of ownership of the bell? In other words, he wishes to establish the bell's provenance. Ultimately, he said, he would like to see the bell properly displayed for the public to see and appreciate. I referred Larry to my friend, Pat Patterson, who knows just about everything there is to know about our local railroads. Any readers who have some knowledge of the bell and its history might consider calling Larry Beaver at (503) 669-0358.

Perhaps one day we might see the bell displayed in one of our local museums, or mounted on one of the steam locomotives Scott and Kim Wickert contemplate running on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway.

Bay City news

In Bay City news, our City Council wrestled with some knotty issues at its October 12 meeting. Chuck Bartholet, an avid fisherman, expressed concern that access to the boat-launching ramp by the Pacific Oyster was often blocked by delivery trucks or parked automobiles. It was noted that some of the area being blocked is in the public right of way. Mayor Shaena Peterson agreed to speak to the management at Pacific Oyster to resolve the problem.

Richard Anderson voiced his concerns about a proposal to erect a cyclone fence westward from the Third Street gate to the city park. The City had gated off the Third Street entrance because of concerns raised by adjoining property owners about people littering the yards and parents blocking driveways and honking horns when coming to pick up their kids.

To address the problem, a concrete block wall was erected along the south property line and a locked gate installed at the Third Street entrance. The fence is the last part of the City's plan to make the skate park and tennis court accessible to the general public only from Fourth Street.

Anderson urged the City to open the Third Street gate and allow full public access to the tennis court and skate park. He advocated creating a graveled parking lot on the west side of Third Street near the gate.

Public Works Superintendent David Pace expressed concern about opening the Third Street entrance because of reported drug trafficking around the skate park.

John Gettman suggested asking Pat Vining to chair an ad hoc committee to look into the matter and report back to the Council with recommendations. Later in the meeting, Vining would be appointed to chair the Parks Committee, replacing Helen Wright, who resigned the position when she quit the Council. City Attorney Lois Albright reminded the Council that any meetings of Vining's ad hoc committee must be properly noticed and minutes kept.

City Recorder Linda Dvorak advised the Council that property owner Rod Ochiltree has asked that he be present before any decision is made about opening the Third Street entrance.

The Council, in September, declined to renew the contract with HBH for engineering services, and directed Pace to seek bids for a new city engineer.

Pace is also getting cost estimates from several horizontal boring companies in connection with the proposed removal of water transmission lines from the bridges and running them under the Kilchis and Wilson rivers. The waterlines under the Kilchis River are a pre-hazard mitigation step to protect them in the event of a major earthquake. This project has been bundled with the intertie with the Tillamook water system to protect the Creamery and Tillamook Hospital should their water service be disrupted.

The funds have been allocated to cover the bundled projects. It is now a matter of jumping through the remaining administrative hoops.

The City will soon consider revising its franchise agreements for electric, telephone and cable utilities. Technology has advanced considerably in recent years, and cable companies are now offering telephone service, while telephone companies are now offering satellite TV services and Internet access. Attorney Albright proposes a master franchise format, and Councilor Gettman suggests using the Portland franchise as a model.

The City is also evaluating a number of scenarios to consolidate the Kilchis Regional Water District into a manageable entity. The present structure of the district, stemming from its organization in the early '80s, is an administrative nightmare. Complicating the consolidation are a bond, with several years' payments remaining, and the poor condition of several of the small outlying districts.

Fire Chief Don Reynolds presented a draft of the revised burn permit to go into effect in 2011. Several citizens have complained about lengthy, smoky burns under adverse wind conditions. One citizen suggested limiting the number of hours one could burn in a single day. The new burn permit will be discussed in greater detail at the November meeting.

The Council OK'd paying retiring City Recorder Linda Dvorak a lump sum of about $5,000 for unused vacation time. Dvorak retires effective Dec. 31.

Forest dumping

The October 20 meeting of officials from the Oregon Department of Forestry and concerned citizens of Bay City turned out to be a real hotbed of apathy. In addition to Mayor Peterson, only John Gettman, David Pace and yours truly attended from the City. It was rather like preaching to the choir.

Ten or twelve years ago, Mayor Jim Cole called a meeting to deal with the problem of people dumping trash along the forest road. Cole had suggested gating the road to prevent the general public from accessing the area --- at least from the Bay City side. You can imagine the howls of anger and indignation from groups like the Mud Muckers and other off-roaders over the prospect that access to one of their favorite off-road areas was about to be denied them.

Gating the road quickly came off the table, and, instead, a Cleanup Saturday was organized. There was a good turnout of citizens, and several tons of trash were picked up and transported to the County dump site. Off-roaders assured that they would keep an eye on the forestlands and report any dumping.

That was then. Today, much dumping of trash is going on. It's a sad thing, because the area drains into Patterson Creek. Any hazardous materials dumped there will find their way into the watershed. We certainly don't want paint or old motor oil draining into the creek or the bay.

ODF representatives proposed a Forest Observer program. They hope to recruit six to eight forest observers who would drive through the area periodically to provide a physical presence on roads and trails used by the public. Volunteers will be trained before starting their patrols, which would be about two patrol days each month. They will make observations and maintain an official log.

Information and application forms may be obtained from the City Office.

 

 

 

December 2, 2010

It has indeed been a long time --- more than a month, already. But this time I have a fairly good excuse. My computer died. My screen suddenly went black while I was doing my e-mail. I could still see faint images on the black screen, but too faint for anyone to read. This was in late October.

A trip to the Mac Store in Beaverton the next day brought me the bad news. It wasn't a simple fix like replacing the battery. The computer had to go all the way back to Cupertino. I was a full 10 days without the machine. You don't realize how dependent you become on these devices until you have to go without. When I finally got it back, I had 108 e-mail messages waiting for me. And then I was behind on all the other stuff I do on the machine, like writing my Back Fence --- reconciling my accounts --- answering my e-mails --- paying my bills.

Now here's an interesting thing. A week or so before my machine died, it started eating e-mail messages. It showed, say, 10 messages arriving, but only seven or eight would show up in my in box. The fix for my black screen was replacement of the logic circuit. Since the repair, I've not lost any more e-mails. It would seem my machine was trying to tell me something and I wasn't listening.

But by the time I got my computer back, I was heavily involved in the final preparations for the Veterans Day celebration at the Air Museum, which sucked up lots of time. Then, there were lots of other odds and ends to be cleaned up, and Thanksgiving and Sharline's craft sale at Neah-Kah-Nie High School to prepare for, so, still no time to write. I'm considering having myself cloned --- several times.

Bay City's Information Kiosk

You may recall that I've been working on getting an information kiosk built in the 10-foot space between the Post Office and the property to the north. What began as a marvelously simple idea --- a place where people could post their notices of lost cats, meetings, bake sales, rummage sales or whatever --- has turned into one of the most ridiculously convoluted nightmares I've ever encountered.

Three people were originally involved: Judy Wadley, our postmaster, Mark Taylor, who would build the kiosk, and me, the town crier. We first sought permission from Brian Clark, who leases space in the building to the U.S. Postal Service, and from the people who own the property to the north. Both agreed it was a good idea. The next step was to apply for a setback variance, because no structure can be built within five feet of a side yard property line.

Then it was discovered that Mr. Clark really didn't own that 10-foot-wide strip at all. Somehow, way back before Clark bought the property, there had been a lot line adjustment or minor partition that sectioned off that strip, which was bequeathed to two brothers and a sister. The sister was deceased, but the remaining siblings graciously granted the City a 20-year lease to build the kiosk, provided it be named in honor of their mother, former postmaster Wanda K. Parker. So far, so good.

Then came the Planning Commission hearing on the setback variance. The City had waived the cost, since the information kiosk would fill an obvious need in Bay City. The Tillamook Postmaster had forbidden the posting of anything other than official public notices in the Post Office windows. He deemed the forbidden postings to be "advertising," which the U.S. Postal Service does not provide for free.

The City Planner's recommended approval came with a number of conditions, some of which could not possibly be met. For example, how does one landscape a sidewalk? The provision of handicapped access behind the kiosk was scotched when it was pointed out that information was to be posted on the front only, and that access to the rear of the kiosk would challenge even the most physically able among us.

The setback variance was granted. It had been thought that no building permit would be required because of the structure's small size. But the County building official had other ideas. A permit would indeed be needed because the kiosk was for public use. Moreover, because the structure would have a roof and because Bay City is subject to high winds, the structure would have to be engineered.

What began as a volunteer effort --- a generous citizen having offered to pay the cost of materials Mark would need to build the kiosk pro bono --- has deteriorated into a tangled regulatory web involving substantial costs for permits and engineering. But, I'm sure we'll work through these latest travails as well. With a few lucky breaks, I hope to see the kiosk go up in the spring.

A renewed Parks Committee

Bay City has a new Parks Committee, headed up by Pat Vining. Pat is one of the most civic-minded people in town. He's been involved in a number of projects in addition to having served on the Planning Commission and the City Council. Pat was active on the Vision Committee about 10 years ago, and later became the mover and shaker responsible the new park sidewalks and picnic area, a new bridge over Patterson Creek, the gazebo, and new playground equipment. He is also active in the annual golf tournament to raise money for the park, including the Skate Park, and other projects in town. And, he has also been an active member of Friends of the Library.

At the November Boosters meeting, Pat announced that there was about $2,800 remaining from the Centennial. Yes, Pat was heavily involved in planning and execution of the Centennial as well. Any money left over from the Centennial was to be dedicated to the park. The Boosters authorized expenditure of up to $2,000 to replenish the engineered wood chips for the playground, the remainder to help resurface the sports court as a grant match. It had been planned to have the old surface removed from the sports court this fall, but the unpredictable weather dictated otherwise. With the asphalt plant now shut down for the season, the pouring of a new asphalt surface must be postponed until spring. But replenishment of the wood chips can be done any time.

 

Pat told the Boosters that it probably will be necessary to put on some fundraisers to complete the improvements to the sports court. We're trying to make it a first class park without using any taxpayer funds. That requires a lot of work, ingenuity and dedication. And, on the subject of the park, Pat's long-range plans include revising the RV camping areas to enable more RV campers to enjoy our beautiful park.

Good Neigbors

It's really nice to have good neighbors. Recently Sharline ordered some hat patterns and yarn. The stuff came by a delivery service that doesn't wear brown. But it didn't come here. My friend, Bob Miles, was in his yard pulling weeds and getting ready for winter when he discovered a package behind a bush. It was Sharline's patterns and yarn. Bob has the same house number as we do, it's just that he lives two blocks west of us. Sharline was quite surprised to see Bob arriving with her package instead of a delivery truck. Bob said he wouldn't have been in that part of his yard again until spring. By that time, Sharline would have had some pretty soggy patterns and yarn. Thanks, Bob, for being a good neighbor. At least the driver got the right city.

City Council

The City Council meeting November 9 was quite interesting. Garibaldi port director Kevin Greenwood told the Council that the bar crossing had become more hazardous in recent months. No one has yet figured out quite why this is happening, but happening it is. A sandbar is building up from seaward across the mouth of the bar, causing treacherous surf conditions for boats attempting a bar crossing. The Coat Guard, he said, has been closing the bar more often, keeping commercial and charter fishing boats in port. Of course, that doesn't bode well for the crab season which has just started.

And everyone learned something that evening. The work on the north jetty was completed recently, but the south jetty needs to be extended to match the north jetty in length. Perhaps that will prevent the shoaling which has been occurring. But the Port of Garibaldi has no jurisdiction over the south jetty. That comes under the Port of Tillamook Bay, which has no maritime interest at all. Obviously, both jetties should belong to the Port of Garibaldi.

A group of 18th Street residents registered their concerns in a written complaint about four to five "dead cars" and a travel trailer on an 18th Street property. One of the "dead" vehicles, a truck, lost its brakes and rolled across the street and into a neighbor's garage door. Visitors to the offending property must park on the street, sometimes blocking neighbors' driveways. Pictures shown to the Council offered graphic evidence of the trashy appearance of the offending property. Attorney Lois Albright suggested that the Council declare a nuisance and give the property owner 15 days to abate.

Fire Chief Don Reynolds announced that the fire department's new emergency generator was finally in place and ready for service.

Pat Vining recommended opening the Third Street gate to the city park for foot traffic only, not for automobiles. His committee is working on the issue and will have a more detailed recommendation in the coming months.

The City awarded SHN Engineering, located in Coos Bay, a contract to provide engineering services for Bay City, replacing HBH Engineering. Mike Henry of HBH expressed his dismay at the selection, since his was the lowest bid submitted. According to Public Works Superintendent David Pace, SHN was chosen because of its broader experience.

Bits and pieces

I ran into Sara Charlton, Tillamook County Librarian, at the Commissioners' Staff Meeting Dec. 1. Sara told me she and mayor Shaena Peterson had been discussing a possible Community Dance at the Community Hall on New Year's Eve. I'll have more on this later.

Sharline and I attended the Thanksgiving dinner and potluck put on again this year by Bill and Karen Rust. It was perfect. In fact, they had to set up some more tables to accommodate all the people who came. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with friends, and more dessert than was good for either of us. So, thanks Bill and Karen for the great holiday feast.

The Thanksgiving dinner over, it was time for Sharline and I to go to work setting up our display at the Home for the Holidays craft sale at Neah-Kah-Nie High School. This would be Sharline's last craft sale, so she had her acrylic knit items on sale for bargain basement prices. And it worked. She sold a lot of items, enough to reduce the total volume of goods by three file boxes. Our thanks to all who came and purchased Sharline's knit goods.

Peter Smith gave me a treasure trove of old Tillamook County newspapers a few weeks ago, and I'm looking forward to going through them for some history I'd like to write. There's a lot of history lurking around this place that really needs telling.

December 7, 2010

Today, we commemorate the day "which will live in infamy," as President Roosevelt put it in his address to the Congress of the United States the following day. Those of us who inhabited the planet on that day will remember what they were doing then, just as we remember where we were and what we were doing the day John Kennedy was assassinated.

On December 7, we were living in a small duplex on 99th Street near the corner of Third Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. We had been living there since late June, when the family moved from the wilds of Missoula, Montana, to the narrow urban canyons of New York City. For a ten-year-old boy from Montana, it was quite a change. But that's another story.

My father, a reserve officer in the U.S. Army, had been posted from Fort Missoula to the New York Port of Embarkation, at 59th Street in Brooklyn. My dad had recently been promoted to the rank of major, having been a captain through most of the '30s, horribly over age in grade.

I was baby-sitting my younger brother and sister while my parents were attending the Army Notre Dame game being played at Yankee Stadium. As a lad in Missoula, I had attended Grizzlies football games from a vantage point on the slopes of Mount Sentinel overlooking the ball field. I really didn't have a great interest in football, but liked watching the marching bands perform and play before and after the games, and at half time.

But I tuned in to listen to the game to see whether Army beat the Fighting Irish. Then, suddenly, the game was interrupted by an announcement --- the Japanese had bombed the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor. Well, that took care of the football game. All members of the military were directed to report to their military bases immediately. That wiped out the Army team, which had to scramble back to West Point, up the Hudson River.

My parents returned soon after the announcement, and my dad donned his ODs and headed for 59th Street. I had one question for my dad when he came home from Yankee Stadium: "Dad, where's Pearl Harbor?"

Then we learned about Colin Kelly, the first American airman to be shot down during the attack. Then, later, the news broadcasts listed the family members who survived Lt. Kelly. In my boyish ignorance, I took that to mean that Colin Kelly had survived the attack after all. But, not so, my mother explained. That was another quirk in the English language which prompted my interest in languages later in high school and throughout my life.

But I digress. The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor prompted a frenzy of anti-Japanese acts by patriotic Americans. People smashed anything "made in Japan," including chopping down their Japanese cherry trees and slaughtering Japanese beetles. This made people feel good, of course, but did little to strike fear into the hearts of the Japanese. And it did little to control the Japanese beetle population, which came back in droves each year.

One of the most immediate effects was the rationing of food and other strategic materials, such as rubber and gasoline. Originally, grocers were directed to limit sales of food to panic-stricken Americans wanting to stock their larders before the greedy folks out there bought everything up for themselves. The speed limit was lowered to 35 mph, not to conserve gasoline, but to conserve rubber, which came from Southeast Asia, an area occupied by the Japanese since the late '30s.

Soon we saw the institution of point rationing of food and the issuance of gasoline stickers, which had to be displayed at the lower right corner of the windshield. Because of his military status and duties, my father got a better gasoline sticker than the average citizen. That meant we could get enough gas to drive out to Jones Beach about three times during the summer.

 

But, the point rationing system leaked like a sieve. In 1942 we moved from Brooklyn to a nice three-story house in Jamaica Estates, in the borough of Queens. There, our next-door neighbor was Bill Brachhold, who owned a butcher shop. That meant we had access to an extra roast or leg of lamb once in a while. A lot of stuff passed through the back door in a thriving black market. The radio stations carried all sorts of warnings about black market meat, implying that it could make you very sick because it probably came from diseased animals, or some such nonsense. Actually, it was nothing more than a few entrepreneurs making an extra buck siphoning off and selling perfectly good meat and butter.

Soon to follow were air raid wardens and air raid drills. At night, we had "brownouts," meaning we had to minimize lighting seen from outside. And, everyone was encouraged to grow a "Victory Garden" to free up more of our farm-grown produce for the troops. Rumors abounded. I recall hearing that the Germans had a submarine base under Long Island, which was a "floating island." Well, that was pure nonsense, of course. But we did see the result of German U-boats in action. Bunker oil and oil from sunken tankers began washing ashore on our beaches.

And, Americans saw the introduction of margarine, which had to be mixed so it wouldn't be confused with real butter. The early margarine I remember had to be cut with a jackhammer, it was so hard. I recall the Russians turning back a shipment of margarine arriving in Murmansk, which angered a lot of folks, my dad included. He said the "Russians found it not good enough to grease their boots."

And in an effort to prevent price gouging, the government established the OPA, Office of Price Administration. That made work for a few thousand bureaucrats, but prices continued to rise anyway.

And the ever-present radio broadcasts kept telling Americans that, "you've done your bit, now do your best!" I had developed a fascination for model airplanes, and was doing my best to build kits for everything from the P-40 to the Grumman Wildcat --- all rubber-band models, of course. There was scarcely room on my bedroom ceiling to hang any more airplanes. When more space was an absolute must, I would select a plane to be "retired," set it alight, launch it, and watch it spiral downward in flames. The P-40 and the Wildcat yielded to the Corsair and the Grumman Avenger.

As the war was nearing its end and the Germans had flown their Messerschmidt rocket-propelled ME 163 Komet fighter and their HE 162 Volksjaeger jet-propelled attack aircraft. I modified a P-40 model by putting a nacelle under the belly to hold a CO2 cartridge, the kind used for charging seltzer water bottles. When I punctured the seal, the plane flew, but only in loops until it finally crashed into the ground. I was pretty good at building the airplanes, but not a particularly gifted aeronautical engineer.

When the war ended, my brother and I were spending three weeks at a summer camp in upstate New York. The day I took the cursory physical examination required to go to camp, I heard an announcement on the radio blaring in the doctor's office waiting room, that we had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. We were at camp when the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and a day or so later when Japan called it quits. I thought to myself how good it was that the war was over, and nobody was getting killed any more. The world was finally at peace. There would be no more wars. Now, that's childhood optimism for you! Five years and one month later, to the day, I was wading ashore on Wolmi-do with the Marines. Sic transit Gloria mundi.

December 24, 2010

Since it's already Christmas Eve, I thought it would be a good idea to get out another issue of the Back Fence. It's been a busy month, and I swear, the pre-Christmas time seems to get busier with each passing year. Or is it that I am a year older each year and less able to cope with all the hustle and bustle.

First, on a sad note, I mourn the recent passing of Ray Heup, husband of Jaime Heup. Jaime died of a rare illness earlier in the year. I know that Jaime's death devastated Ray, who depended upon her to handle the office side of his business. May you now rest in peace, Ray.

Also, I want to wish Ken Beebehiser a speedy recovery. Ken became ill earlier in December, and I learned at the Dec. 17 Boosters meeting that he was recovering at the Nehalem Bay Care Center. Ken is one of the old-timers who had the privilege of growing up in Bay City.

Pearl Harbor response

I had some interesting responses to my recollections of Pearl Harbor and the WWII years. Most interesting was the recollection of my friend, Anna Martin, an Inuit, who was living in Alaska, near Bristol Bay.

"I also remember vividly that day. I was smelt fishing through the ice in front of Johnny Knutsen's. It was cold and clear, my friends and I each had our hole which had been chopped by adults for us. I was catching. A safety pin with a piece of red yarn attached as bait was jiggled and snapped back and forth to snag the smelt. It was fun. We were interrupted by Johnny who came running down to the river to tell me to go home and tell my dad to listen to the radio. Reluctantly I quit my fishing. I had no idea what the excitement was about. Later that winter we were visited by military, who checked every household and passed out rifles to everyone who could shoot. I had been using a 22 rifle so now I also had a big rifle, though I never used it. We covered our windows with dark blankets. Henry Fischer, who had escaped from Hitler's army, lived in Levelock. He had no papers and was married and had an Eskimo wife. The people in the village demanded that he be allowed to stay --- they (the military) were going to take him away. Our lives continued as usual. I didn't see food stamps and white margarine and other saving efforts until I came to the states in 1945 when the war was over."

Robin Taylor had not yet graced the world with her presence, but she recalls the story told her by her mother:

"My mother and my Aunt and Uncle and Grandparents were living in Vernonia at the time. After the bombing at Pearl Harbor the Government came in and took all the Japanese from the logging camp and the ones that were working on the railroad. Afterwards they went in and searched the building and surrounding areas, and, lo and behold, they found a couple of two-way radios."

Sharline and her parents were living in Everett, where her father managed the floor-covering department at the local Montgomery Ward store. They were on a ferry arriving at Mukilteo when they heard the announcement that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Her father, as did all able-bodied men at that time, registered with the draft, took the physical, and was classified 1A. However, because Sharline's mother was chronically ill and required care, he was given a hardship deferment. But he did his bit, taking a leave of absence from his employment at Ward's and going to work in the shipyard. There, his work put him in contact with asbestos, which proved to be his undoing in later life --- that and cigarettes. In those days, people were blissfully unaware of asbestos' potential for causing cancer and other debilitating physical problems. And, aboard ship, that stuff was everywhere.

Not long after December 7, the military took over some buildings for defense use. Some of them were Ward's warehouse facilities. Ward's CEO at the time was Sewell Avery, as I recall, and he refused to budge. The newspapers were full of stories and pictures of Avery being carried out of a Ward's store.

A Great Place to Live

On December 11, Sharline and I attended the Fire Department Christmas dinner. As always, it was a great affair. They had turkey and a prime rib roast which would melt in your mouth. We enjoyed the opportunity to join John and Dorothy Gettman at dinner. It seems everyone is always too busy to socialize these days, and it was great to relax for a change and have a nice conversation. And, as in past years, we enjoyed a great Chinese gift exchange. And Don Reynolds, our fire chief, made the announcement we were all waiting to hear. The Fire Department is at capacity, and there is now a waiting list to get in. Way to go, Don!

Last Tuesday Sharline and I went to a Christmas party hosted by Terry and Diane Griffin at their home. It was a great party, and I thank Terry and Diane for their hospitality and the great spread they put out. It was certainly without equal. Nobody went away hungry. It's nice to get together with the people you work with throughout the year and not talk shop.

I ran into Dick Diamond yesterday at the post office. Dick and I both have roots in New York City. As we were talking about old times, Dick said that he had never had so many friends as he has made since moving to Bay City from Riverside, California, several years ago. It's a nice town, he said, and driving down U.S. 101 is like driving through a national park, compared with highway driving in other parts of the country. I must admit that I agree. This is indeed a great place to live.

My good friend, Peter Smith, recently gave me several folders of Bay City historical material, and I can't wait to get into it. I enjoy writing about history, and I plan to do more of it, so expect to see some Bay City history in 2011.

 

City Council

The December 14 City Council meeting proved interesting. Pat Vining and Gary Dennison discussed the Vision Plan prepared 10 years ago, and the City Park. Pat presented the City with a check for $2,000 from the Boosters, part of the $3,288 surplus from the Centennial Celebration in September. The money is to be used to add fresh wood chips to the playground. Whatever remains is to be used to resurface the sports court. That can't be done, however, until the weather dries out and the asphalt plant resumes operation for the summer season.

Pat also praised the Arts Center for its cultural contributions to Bay City. Through the Arts Center, Bay City has experienced drama in original plays written by Helen Hill and others, opera through the efforts of the Portland Opera workshop, concerts by the North Coast Philharmonic Orchestra, countless art and literary projects for children and adults --- and the list goes on.

But now, Pat said, it's time to take another look at the plan and make any necessary revisions. As Gary pointed out, the Vision Plan is a living document, to be modified as needed to address new conditions as they arise through the years.

The Council agreed to reactivate the Vision Committee. Robert Pollack, a member of the Council, will join the Vision Committee, and I will rejoin it. Pat reported glowingly on the city's work to improve the park, in keeping with one of the Vision Plan goals. Park improvements include new sidewalks and bridge over Patterson Creek, new playground equipment, gazebo and picnic area, and the skate park.

Promotion of new business in Bay City needs another look, Pat said. Probably the most notable achievement during the last 10 years is the opening of the Cutting Loose Salon, owned by Heather Robinette. Cutting Loose now employs seven people.

I recommended that copies of the plan be provided to members of the Planning Commission to guide them in amending the Development Ordinance.

The Vision Committee will hold an organizational meeting in January, after the Holidays.

The Council also adopted language proposed by Fire Chief Don Reynolds to be printed on the reverse side of the burn permit. The language addresses courtesy and consideration for one's neighbors when burning. It asks, basically, that open burning be limited to two-hour stints to limit production of smoke --- which can be very annoying if you are breathing a neighbor's smoke all day. Don suggested putting accumulated yard refuse into smaller piles to be burned on different days. And, while we're on the subject, all are reminded to obtain new burn permits for 2011. Permits are available at no cost at the city office.

But perhaps the biggest news from the Council is the appointment of Lin Downey to replace Linda Dvorak as City Recorder. Lin has been a superb secretary for the Planning Commission, and she should prove to be an equally good City Recorder. She assumes her new position January 3. I, for one, will certainly miss Lin at our Planning Commission meetings. But she has trained Gaile Harris as her replacement, and I'm sure Gaile will acquit herself very well.

And Linda, we'll miss you. It won't seem like Bay City without you as our City Recorder. I remember meeting you when I first came to Bay City in 1994. 20 years as Recorder is probably a record. Best of luck in your retirement, Linda. But I know we'll be seeing a little more of you when you come back part time, as needed, to help Lin over some rough spots as she settles into her new position.

The Council also accepted the resignation of Terry Neimann. Terry, who has been taking college courses in Wales, has found that her schooling in the UK, and her travel to and from, has made it difficult to devote sufficient time to her Council responsibilities.

There are now vacancies on both the City Council and the Planning Commission. Applications for appointment to these two bodies are available at the City Office.

With the retirement of Linda and the naming of Gaile to be Planning Commission secretary, the Council discussed the relative merits of hiring a person to fill Gaile's vacated position. The question was whether to hire a replacement, or close the office for half days. It is very difficult for two people to perform their duties as Recorder and planning secretary while tending to the counter. That decision will be made at a special Council meeting January 4.

Merry Christmas

Each year, I recall the Christmas Eve I experienced 60 years ago in Korea, when our chaplain, Father Riley, officiated at Midnight Mass at a little Korean church atop a hill overlooking the town of Masan. There was a beautiful full moon that night bathing the valley below in its soft glow. The war seemed far away, in another world. The Korean pastor had graciously made his church available to us, provided his parishioners could attend as well. It was a simple but beautiful service, one which evoked the true meaning of a birth which occurred some 2,000 years ago. And that was the beauty of it. Koreans and American Marines joined together to celebrate that event, without a trace of the commercialism which pervades the season today. Would that we could return to such simpler times.

I wish you all the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years. May the true spirit of the season be with you and yours throughout the year.

December 31, 2010

Here it is, 9 p.m. New Year's Eve. The year is inexorably grinding to an end. Where does the time go? When I was a youngster, time seemed to drag on. It took forever for Christmas to arrive each year. But now that I'm pushing 80, the days seem to end before they begin.

Yesterday saw the end of an era in Bay City. It was the last day of work for Linda Dvorak, our City Recorder for the past 20 years. There was an open house for her from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. I thought the farewell party was going to be today, Friday. I guess I didn't read the announcement someone had taped to the Post Office door very carefully. But, wonder of wonders, the mighty Postmaster in Chief didn't catch it. Chalk one up for the good guys.

Had I not stopped by city hall to pick up my 2011 burn permit yesterday, I would have come down to wish Linda well on her retirement, only to find an empty office. Bay City, like most government offices (except the Post Office, which had my water bill waiting for me today), was to be closed on Friday.

I returned home to grab a bite of breakfast, then returned to give Linda her sendoff. While there I visited with Robert and Kathy Pollock, and apologized to Robert for misspelling his name in my last Back Fence. I felt there was something fishy about the name when I made the mistake. Oh, well. It was nice to chat with Linda about her home town, Missoula, where my family had lived before my dad was posted to the New York Port of Embarkation in June 1941.

Sharline and I spent Christmas Day with our daughter, Carla Lovato, at her little art gallery in Lincoln City. We had some great Swedish Meatballs. (It was certainly a relief from turkey, which seems to be ubiquitous at this time of year.) Carla gave us a nice basket of dried fruits to munch on. They make great snacks, and are especially useful for diabetics experiencing a low blood sugar episode. (Diabetics rarely keep sugar in their cupboards. They use Splenda or some other non-sugar sweetener.)

Then, on Sunday, we drove to Portland, where we stayed at a motel so we could keep a doctor appointment at Portland Adventist Hospital Monday morning. I have an aversion to driving across Portland in morning or afternoon rush hour traffic. At my age, my reflexes are nowhere near what they were when I was a young man. And the highway signage in Portland, if I might say so, leaves much to be desired.

It was an interesting drive over the mountain. But before even getting that far, we encountered snow mixed with rain, with some accumulation on U.S. 101 between Bay City and the Kilchis River Bridge. There were a few more spots where snow or slush had accumulated on the road as we drove up the mountain. Once over the summit, mixed rain and snow morphed into good, old-fashioned snow, but, happily, it disappeared after we had descended about 200 feet in elevation. We encountered very little snow on the way back Monday afternoon, though, as we approached the Coast Range on State Route 6, the clouds and mist looked really ominous.

 

I'm glad we went over when we did. According to Gordon McCraw's weather reports, the snow level dropped to about 700 feet Wednesday; strong justification to stay home. And, speaking of Gordon, if you haven't yet signed up for his weather reports, please do so. He does an outstanding job of keeping the County advised of the latest weather and road conditions. I'm proud to say that Gordon is a fellow Navy Retiree, and that's probably why he's doing such a great job for all of us. If you would like to get on Gordon's mailing list, send him an e-mail at gmccraw@co.tillamook.or.us.

But the cold weather has descended upon us once again. That miserable east wind is dragging cold, heavy air in through the Gorge from Eastern Washington. It got down to 20 at my place last night, and I had all my faucets dripping. Gordon told me it only dropped to 28 at his place, probably located in some local banana belt.

This morning it was still cold, though the temperature soon warmed into the low 30s. But that didn't do much for the black ice on the highway around the south side of Miami Cove. It was slick indeed. I spotted the increasingly black appearance of the roadway as I rounded the curve at Hobsonville Point, and had slowed to a safe speed by the time I encountered black ice. Others apparently were a bit more daring or adventurous. At the grade crossing, there was an SUV on the tracks on the north side of the road, and two cars were off the road in the intersection with Hobsonvile Point Road. There was also a state cop there, probably giving one of the drivers some counsel on winter driving.

But the darndest thing was a small red car on the tracks about 25 feet south of the grade crossing, its front wheels in the center of the roadbed, and its rear wheels in the ditch. How that guy got there eludes me. Could he have slid off Hobsonville Point Road, down the hillside and onto the tracks? At least the car was upright --- lucky for the driver. But that's no way to end the year.

Here's wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year. It's just gotta be better than the year we've just had. And please be careful driving, and watch for black ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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