You don’t know me, but … I know you. Well, sort of. I lived over in the western part of Nevada County for a couple of years in Nevada City/Grass Valley, your two sisters.
Yes, those two towns are females. I’ve lived in nine different places in my life, and I have found that almost every place has a gender, a ‘he’ or ‘she’ pronoun which unavoidably gets attached. Those two lovely towns out west have lots of curvy hills, soft green glades and untapped gold veins, and there is an undeniable fragrance in the air over there. Definitely female. Statistically, there are also more women than men in that side of the county, the double-X-chromosomed out-populating the XYs by about a half-percent.
Back in the mid-’90s, my family and I would drive through Truckee to go skiing, or returning home from the Reno airport we’d stop in Truckee for dinner because my two sons liked this town. With its weathered face lined deep with railroad lines and highways, broad craggy mountains like big shoulders on a tall man, and the back-slapping good humor among its residents, Truckee, to me, is a male. Like a buddy who talks straight and doesn’t care for anything fancy except a good time. And, statistically, Truckee has more men than women who call it home, one whole percentage point ahead.
I am about to learn a whole lot more about you. I am the interim publisher of the Sierra Sun. After giving up a 23-year newspaper career in 1999, I have become a sometime newspaper consultant and most-of-the-time lazy traveler and writer. Last month, I was asked to come in and serve as interim publisher for a few months, in order to give the regional manager time to find a permanent publisher who’ll move here and care for the mission of the Sun and become buddies with good ol’ Truckee.
Until then, I’ll be up here working alongside the staff of the Sun, and I’ll be out in the community gathering information about you and how you work and play and worry over your community and its resources. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll do this yet, so stay tuned to this column. I’ve already had candid conversations with a few of the town folk who carefully explained how they felt about Truckee and the Sierra Sun and, three days into this gig, I’ve got some great stuff already! I plan to gather as much information — positive, negative, ideas, suggestions — as I can and weave it into a useful tool for the new publisher. Then, in a couple of months, I’ll go back home to Reno, where I live, and I’ll visit Truckee when I just want to come see that good-looking fella of which I am so fond.
Reno’s gender? Uh. I’m just not sure of it yet. You tell me.
Margaret Porter-Larson is interim publisher of the Sierra Sun. The publisher of the Grass Valley Union in 1994-1995, she has also published newspapers in New Mexico and North Dakota. She can be reached at the Sierra Sun offices Monday-Friday.
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Olympic House was empty but for some maintenance workers and all those ghosts.