Don Rogers: Shifting with the pandemic

If we’re going to make changes, might as well do it now.

Maybe the pandemic has played out as Omicron eases, and maybe we’re only taking a breath between waves. Who knows anymore?

The disease itself is only part of it, trailing heart disease and cancer in American deaths these past two years. If you’ve turned to semantics to distinguish between deaths from COVID and deaths with COVID, well, the result is the same. The number of deaths more than before the pandemic comes in at No. 3, however you parse. Anyway, the disease doesn’t care about our politics.

Absent the pandemic, we’d have a different president, I’m certain. A different economy, different lives. I don’t think we realize quite how different.

But we’ve learned to adjust, if haltingly, some of us better learners than others. Who knew how much we could do from home? Some of us made a mint. We all had to make do.

Overall, our Sierra Nevada communities have fared much better than most of us feared at the outset, though the endless grind has hardly been easy.

We’ve made life changes these past two years, or had life changes made for us. Maybe we got laid off, then later found ourselves awash in job offers to turn down, along with aid checks to cash in until stimulus trickled away. We moved or moved on or moved up to one “Zoom town” or another.

Those mysterious physics of economics brought lots of surprises along the way. So now it’s runaway inflation.

Blame it on the president! Always the simple answer. But then how to explain the grip on the whole world? Ideology can’t, but not for lack of hot air trying.


All this is only backdrop to life here, now. The morning commute for those of us still doing that, all our new routines etched into habit, and to varying degrees resuming our relationships — business and otherwise.

There is a fresh start quality again, even if wary of last summer’s all too brief false start back to normal. I mean fully normal: free of mask antagonism, anxiety, bravado, toughing out the fair during a spike. This weird twilight between full restaurants and full hospitals, mainly with unvaccinated patients.


The pandemic fanned the pace of change in local organizations, institutions, businesses, government bodies and community leadership generally.

A fair number of people we knew in key positions when the pandemic began have moved on and new leaders taken their places. Transition is normal, of course. There just seems to be more of it in this period, which puts us on the cusp of more change.

Absent the pandemic, I’m not sure the company that owned us since the 1970s would have sold, speaking of fresh starts since Jan. 1, our new reality.

The local news and views mission holds true from one family owning us to another. We were sold, not sold out, as has happened with some larger, publicly traded news organizations swallowed up by hedge funds.

If I were breaking news, what follows would be a classic buried lede. But I’m only writing a column today, an ongoing quest for perspective. This is a heads up; a real story will come in time.

We’re rearranging organizational responsibilities between our Lake Tahoe region and the foothills, shifting roles a little — a tweak in keeping with the times.

We were all together as one unit, and now are moving toward two. This means the publisher of the South Lake Tribune, Rob Galloway, will take responsibility for the Sierra Sun’s operation, as well. This is not so huge a change. Rob already was the Sun’s advertising director.

We’re just switching from him supporting me to me supporting him. Our news, circulation, business and sales teams continue to work together as they have been, dotted lines everywhere if looking at an org chart.

Who is this Rob guy anyway? I’ve known him since we worked together in 2008 in the Carson Valley. He’s super talented, a real publisher, and was general manager of our Nevada desert operations, along with South Lake Tahoe, when they and we were still part of Swift Communications.

This is a good time for this change, with all the others in our communities, as we all begin to reconnect in earnest. And not just change, but I think shift into a higher gear. For us and for you, actually.

For me, this is a return to focusing on the foothills, the original job when I transferred here six short years ago, a lifetime, knowing the whole lake is in very capable hands.

Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at or 530-477-4299

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