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The first picture I am sharing this week is a copy of a postcard that was mailed from Bandon in 1953 to Lancaster, Mass. While the date stamp is 1953, the photo very well could have been taken a few years before that, and I am sure some of my car-enthusiast readers will be able to identify the year of some of the cars parked along Second Street or alongside M&L Grocery on Alabama.

This is such a clear picture of what downtown Bandon looked like over 50 years ago. For a point of reference, if you don't know where this is, the Masonic building (Peter Braun's Cobbler's Bench business) is in the bottom right of the photo. Across the street, where the grocery store once stood, is The Minute Cafe's parking lot. Behind it is the building owned by Ed Landucci, which houses Olivia Andor's neat shop, Olivia's Cottage, although when it was W. H. Johnston's bookkeeping office, the door opened onto Alabama. Now it opens onto the Pedway, which was simply an alley in those days. As you can see, the lot where The Arcade is now was only bare patches of grass, across Alabama from the storage lot for Moore Mill's lumber. Today the part that you can see in the picture is a public parking lot; to the west of it is a large lot leased by the city for public parking, but owned by Fred Gernandt and Kirk Day and for sale for $1.9 million. Speaking of property for sale down there, I just learned that the pole house property, which sits across First Street from the Old Town Marketplace building, has been listed for $1.2 million. In my day, you could have pretty much bought the whole town for the asking price of those two properties today. I have also learned that the building which houses Coastal Mist and Second Street Gallery has been lowered to $599,000 from the former price of $799,000. When this picture was taken, there were several small buildings on that property. If you are viewing on the screen, versus in the paper, you can blow up the image to get a good look at various parts of downtown.

And now for my people picture. This was taken in November of 1958 during a Boy Scout Court of Honor. From left are Bud and Florence Anthony and son, Mike; Mike (also went by Art) Dobney and his parents, Grace and Art Dobney.

It has been a few years since I've seen Mike Anthony, although I believe he still lives in Portland. I tried to find out more about Art from his sister, Claudia Dobney Powers, but did not hear back from her. She is an attorney in Portland.

The third picture was taken in 1973 of the building on the corner of 11th and Highway 101 when it was owned by Ken Dennison Realtor. It later housed several other realtors, including Modina Worden and Larry Means. The building is now owned by David Reed and is the home of a circuit workout business, Core 10 Fitness. If you look north down the highway you can see signs for Gerry's Home Made Ice Cream, La Kris Motel and the Arco station.

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The second annual Gorse Blossom Festival was a huge success, as evidenced by the number of people who enjoyed themselves during the three-day event.

The big draw was once again the Bloody Mary Walk, which had 300 people sign up to go from store to store throughout town for condiments for a Bloody Mary drink, before ending up back at the Old Town Marketplace, home of the festival, for the vodka.

I saw many of them running around town, with smiles on their faces, and trying to brace from the squalls Sunday morning that occasionally carried small shards of ice (a bit like snow that doesn't stick).

Live music throughout the three days added a lot to the festival, which was built around the theme: "Stop Gorse." There were several large gorse bushes for those who may not know what it looks like, and an information booth staffed by knowledgeable people, including City Manager Robert Mawson, County Commissioner John Sweet, Jim Seeley of Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, Coos Forest Protective Association official Robert Franson and Donut Hole property owner Hedley Prince, who spent time educating people on how to best protect their property from gorse and fire. Throughout the building there were pictures of past gorse fires, as well as the Bandon Fire, with many of the photos coming from my collection.

A lot of work went into making this a great event, and for sure I need to mention Harv Schubothe, Dana Nichols, and Rushel Reed and her husband. There were many other volunteers who helped out, but I believe those are the main people responsible for the festival's success.

I'm already looking forward to next year ...

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Every time I hear about another big earthquake in another part of the world (the latest being in Mexico), my thoughts turn to the potential for "The Big One," which will someday strike the Pacific Northwest.

The public is invited to an informal Q&A presentation on earthquake and tsunami preparedness on Wednesday, March 7, at the Community Center/Barn in City Park from 10 to 11 a.m. Althea Rizzo from the Oregon Department of Energy Management will be available to answer people's questions.

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I've learned that one of the most popular wineries at the Gorse Blossom Festival is opening a tasting room in Bandon. John Olson of TeSoAria Vineyard and Winery of Roseburg is remodeling the building next to Face Rock Creamery, formerly occupied by Speakeasy 33.

John told me that he plans to have a "soft opening" in March, probably on St. Patrick's Day (Saturday, the 17th), and will then have an official opening later.

Helping out in his booth during the Festival was his fiancée, Rachel Beissel, Chief Nursing Officer at Southern Coos Hospital and Health Center.

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The Bandon Police Department lost the second of its newest officers last week with the resignation of Davin Winchell. Earlier, John Evoniuk, resigned. Both officers had joined the police department late last year. Sgt. Larry Lynch explained that they had apparently determined that maybe police work "just wasn't for them."

Neither man had gone to the police academy, but both were riding with more seasoned officers before they determined if they wanted to continue in police work, at which time they would have been sent to the police academy for more training and certification.

Not sure what career path they will pursue, but both are fine young men and I know they will do well at whatever career they choose.

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I talked with former long-time BHS wrestling coach Mickey Hurley this week. He asked if I were still writing for the paper, but I told him in a way I am because my column appears each week in Western World. He wanted me to share with my readers some recent successes of the sons of former BHS star wrestlers. Hurley coached the Tigers from 1968 to 1992.

Jeff Butler's son is wrestling for Stanford University, and Mick said at 6-7, 285 pounds, he is one of the top-ranked heavyweights in the nation at the college level. Jeff, a three-time state champion for Bandon High, and his family now live in Kansas City, Mo. He went on to wrestle for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he became the school's outstanding wrestler and outstanding scholar-athlete. Jeff is the son of Ken and Phyllis Butler.

Sean Brunson's son, Zac, who wrestled for Churchill High, Eugene, graduated from the University of Illinois, where he is now a volunteer assistant coach. Zac was a 2017 All American and won many honors during his years at Illinois, including being a four-time NCAA qualifier.

* * *

The nation is still reeling from yet another school shooting. The next day I talked to one of my good friends, a proud conservative, and I once again broached the subject of gun control. Wouldn't you be in favor of outlawing AR-15-style semiautomatic weapons, I asked him. At first I saw a glimmer of hope, but then came the rhetoric I've learned to expect: "But that would just be the beginning before they would take all our guns." And that was the end of the conversation.

I had a computer problem this afternoon and my neighbor, Takashi Haruna, who recently became a full-fledged citizen of the United States, began to talk about the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and what it meant to him.

But he didn't just talk about it, he pulled his copy of the Constitution from his coat pocket and read the Second Amendment to me.

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

We all know what it says, but not everyone agrees on what it means.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone needs to own an AR-15-style weapon, unless they are attached to the military.

But I am sure there will be plenty of people ready to "educate" me. Maybe they will also share with me what they think should be done to stop this carnage.

I would be the first person to protest if someone tried to confiscate my gun ... but then I don't own a weapon capable of mass killings. Nor should I . . . .