The first picture I am sharing this week was taken in September of 1975 and is titled "park maintenance" as a worker seems to be putting in some posts in the grassy area on the east side of the parking lot in front of The Barn. It's hard to believe that The Barn ever looked like that, but I can remember vividly what it looked like inside. Even in those days it pretty much served as our community center, with one of the biggest annual events being the Cranberry Festival dance, which packed the building. It was hot, crowded and noisy, but everyone had a great time.

Today, of course, the building is much larger and is truly Bandon's community center. In those days, the library was in the city hall and the Sprague Community Theater was only a dream. Today they are part of the complex of attractive buildings in the park.

The second picture was taken in 1970 at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Second Street in front of what was then The Senter Agency, an insurance business owned by Merritt J. and Irene Senter. Merritt served as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce for many years and was very active in the community.

Next door, with the letters "st" barely visible, was the Bandon Florist, owned by the Kaping family, including Pearl Kaping and her daughter, Virginia Hendrickson, who was one of the first female officers of the chamber.

Later, this was the home of Black Horse Boutique and today it is the toy store owned by Lynn Davies and her daughter, Jessica Markham Brink.

I love the third picture, taken in May of 1973, as Tom Stadelman and his sister Maria (now Maria Merriam) pose for pictures advertising an upcoming ballet performance staged by their mother, Alice Stadelman, who first introduced the popular dance programs to the community. Today, Maria is well known for her MarLo Dance Studio extravaganzas, which play to sold out crowds every year. Brother Tom owns Bandon Supply.

* * *

I learned this week that nationwide, Oregon ranks 14th for low violent crime. But the best news by far is the fact that Bandon was ranked No. 2 on a list of the Safest Cities in Oregon. Last year we were seventh.

To identify the 20 safest cities in Oregon, the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics from 2015 were reviewed, along with population data. Cities with fewer than 3,000 residents, as well as cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI, were eliminated.

Hubbard was ranked the No. 1 safest city in Oregon.

Bandon placed second based on a rate of violent crime of 0.33 per 1,000 and property crime stats of 10.89 per 1,000. Brookings, with a violent crime rate of 1.09 per thousand and a property crime rate of 12.13, finished third.

Others in the order of finish were Aumsville, Umatilla, Mount Angel, Newberg-Dundee, Toledo, Boardman, Silverton, Talent, Philomath, Keizer, Monmouth, Hood River, Pendleton, Sutherlin, Dallas, Winston and Central Point.

This has a lot to do with the leadership of Police Chief Bob Webb and Sergeant Larry Lynch. The entire department deserves a huge vote of thanks for their efforts at keeping Bandon a safe place to live.

Judging from the numerous negative posts on Facebook, it's not hard to see why other cities in Coos County did not make the list, especially areas like Empire, Barview and Charleston.

This is one list we are proud to have made ....

As most of you have probably been reading, China no longer wants to take the contaminated (dirty) plastic containers from recycling bins across the country and has set some stringent standards as to what they will accept. As a result, several carriers, including Lane County, have refused to pick up plastic as recyclables, and have now received permission from the state to deposit it as household trash in landfills.

The whole goal, of course, is to eliminate the waste stream that goes into landfills, and that was working well when China was the largest buyer of US recycled materials. But they got tired of the dirty containers and have threatened to halt the purchase of plastic as well as unsorted mixed paper waste.

Locally, Bill Richardson, spokesman for Bandon Disposal, advised the City Council at its October meeting that since the county would soon be charging vehicles $5 to deposit recyclables at the Beaver Hill site, it would probably be necessary to do one of two things: either close down the local recycling outlet on 13th Street (which is open limited hours on Saturday) or charge a $5 fee.

One reason that people prefer to take their recyclables to the local outlet is because Bandon Disposal has not picked up glass in the past in their residential recycling tubs, but Richardson assured the council that if they agree to close the local outlet, they will start allowing glass containers to be recycled. At the meeting, he did not address plastics, except to say that the cost of cleaning plastic containers at the huge sorting centers was increasingly high because a lot of people do not clean their plastic before recycling it.

If a $5 fee is charged, it will definitely encourage people to purchase curb-side recycling, which is less than $5 a month.

A woman who lives in the rural area of Bandon urged them not to close the local recycling center, but Richardson told her that they have 90-gallon containers available for recyclables in rural areas, that are picked up once a month. And those, too, would cost less than paying $5 a week to take things to the drop-off site.

* * *

The placing of boulders in the parking lot on the south side of the jetty restrooms generated a lot of Facebook comment ... most of which was negative. I didn't read it all, but several people have said that I was attacked by several writers, and I have no doubt that was true.

But to tell you the truth, no one was more surprised at the placement of the huge boulders than I was ... unless it was several other members of the city council.

I have since learned that this is part of the plan for the South Jetty that the city council apparently approved (after it went through the planning process), but I can assure you had I known where those rocks were to be placed, I would never have voted to approve it.

I understand the plan's intent to protect the foredune, but placing the rocks two car lengths (in some cases) back from the foredune certainly seems to be "overkill" at best. Of course it meant that people who used to be able to pull up to the edge of the parking lot to watch the sunset, could no longer even see the beach.

I expressed my concern to management, and the rocks were moved back a bit the next day. Our city manager is out of town on a family emergency, but as soon as he gets back, I will definitely revisit the plan for the South Jetty with him.

Rocks placed by the state parks department, on the west side of the foredune all the way across the lot, have also made it extremely difficult for elderly or handicapped people to access the beach.

There are several steps leading down to the beach behind the restroom, but when the city manger asked the state if the city could make a better more defined path to the beach, he was told no. That also needs to be revisited.

If the plan for the South Jetty ends up without people being able to see the beach or safely access it, I am not sure what benefit it will be. And I definitely need a clearer understanding of what is happening down there ... and why!

* * *

Apparently there is or was another black BMW sports car just like mine in Bandon ... and judging from one report I received, I am hoping that whoever owns it was just visiting.

One of the councilors said a vehicle he was sure was mine drove down Franklin Avenue at a very high rate of speed last Sunday (Oct. 15) and another friend said he had seen me in another part of town.

But I did not leave the house that day, so it was not me. If it was driving as fast as Brian reported, I am sure others saw it and thought it was me.

But it wasn't.

* * *

I saw on Facebook earlier this week that former long-time Bandon resident and former Port of Bandon employee Russ Crabtree had died. There was no other information except for many expressions of loss written by people who had worked for or with Russ when he served for many years as the chief executive officer of the Tolowa Dee-ni Nation at Smith River, Calif. He also served as the Brookings Harbor port executive before joining the Tolowa Nation.

* * *

There was an interesting article on the front page of the Curry Coastal Pilot last week titled "regional pot crime sparks concerns."

The story describes a dramatic increase in crime in nearby Josephine County (Grants Pass) as a result of marijuana business, which, according to the article, has meant increased crime, businesses leaving town and even killings.

Julie Schmelzer, who formerly served as county administration director for Curry County and is now community development director in Josephine County, has warned the Curry County commissioners that Josephine County will soon implement regulations that might result in growers leaving there and moving into neighboring Curry County.

"I asked them (commissioners) to develop rules to make sure that the industry developed in an equitable manner and one that would be safe for all residents. Experiencing the crime, horror and sadness many of our residents are experiencing, I feel for your future. You need commissioners that will take a stance on a tough issue and do the right thing."

She added: "There is room in society to grow a crop that voters have approved, but it is a crop that invites greed and crime, and needs regulation."

Schmelzer is quoted as saying that only one of the three commissioners, Court Boice, responded to her suggestion. Boice is a nephew of Mary Capps of Bandon.

The article contained many anecdotes of what was happening in Josephine County.

"Former Curry County Sheriff John Bishop warned citizens years ago that the cartels were infiltrating Curry County. Few believed him; some said it was a ploy to get voters to approve a proposed property tax increase for law enforcement," said the writer.

The current sheriff, John Ward, agreed. "The cartels have been here for a long time. We don't have the resources to fight it."