Rotary gets not-so-free press coverage |

Rotary gets not-so-free press coverage

One of the best parts, I’ve discovered, about my new job as Sierra Sun publisher was being invited to join the noon Truckee Rotary club.

I was recently Rotarized and have a snappy lapel pin to prove it. My Thursday lunches (always delicious and always including a giant cookie) are now spent at Northstar engaged in community service and camaraderie.

My grandfather is a Rotarian and has been most of his life. I’ve long admired the little pins he receives acknowledging each gallon of blood he’s donated through his club’s blood drives.

Rotary, as you probably already know, is much more than lapel pins. It’s an organization of business and professional leaders dedicated to community and humanitarian service worldwide. Perhaps the most recognizable accomplishment is Rotary International’s PolioPlus program. Launched in 1985, PolioPlus has done much to achieve its goal of immunizing every child in the world against polio in an effort to wipe out the disease by 2005. (For more information, check out the organization’s website at

The local Rotary clubs (there are two meeting weekly in town, the Sunrise club and the Noon club) raise money through a variety of community fund-raisers. From the Cadillac Ball to crab feeds to ice cream stands, the club’s members are always busy raising needed funds for projects such as the Truckee River Legacy Trail or to help support local education, arts and outreach programs.

One of the small ways Rotary helps support itself is by levying small, good-natured fines on its members. “Infractions,” such as having a birthday or wedding anniversary, are “punishable” by fines of $20 or so. Fines definitely help keep meetings fun.

My first week as a member, a fellow Rotarian said, “You know, Eric, Rotary members are fined $5 if their name appears in the newspaper. Looks like you’ll have to pay $5 every week! Har, Har, Har!”

“Yes har,” I said, somewhat concerned.

What’s that work out to? About $260 in fines each year? Yeesh! I started to wonder what kind of lunches the Elks or Lions serve

Funny thing is, I can’t remember which Rotarian made the crack about this silly $5-fine-for-having-your-name-in-the-paper business.

Was it fellow Kansan, Nelson Van Gundy? Or Breeze Cross? They were both sitting near me.

It could have been Truckee mayor Maia Schneider, though she seems too nice to make such a remark.

Ray Shady, the guy who runs the local hot air balloon service, might have mentioned the $5 fine. He’s kind of a joker.

It very well could have been Russell Rosewood, the talented wedding photographer. He’s a character, for sure.

Or was it Brian Marsh? He was sitting over there next to Jackie Wells and the affable Placer County Sheriff’s Officer Keith Shannon

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t town manager Steve Wright or CHP officer Ron Wulff, as they’re polite, reserved fellows.

Same goes for Mary Davis, the bright executive director of the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors. She’s not one to suggest that I’d have to pay $5 just for having my name in the Sierra Sun.

But I wouldn’t put it past Kathleen Eagan, Truckee’s first mayor. She’s got a quick wit.

Heck, it could have been Ron Florian, Jim Abbott or Helen Graham.

Maybe it was one of those smart aleck attorneys, Jim Simon or Brent Collinson or Ruth Frishman or Michael Graham or Brent Collinson or Jim Simon or Michael Graham or Ruth Frishman.

I wouldn’t put it past Hank Schwarz or Tim Silva, either. Ditto for Bob or Eric Sutton.

There are so many people in Rotary it’s hard to know who told me that having your name in the paper AUTOMATICALLY results in a $5 dollar fine.

Realtor Andy Otto or contractor Ted Owens wouldn’t be above such a comment.

Neither would Alan Harry, Mike Horn, Cliff Hartwell, Andy Holmer, Peter Holzmeiseter, Gail Alderson or Pat Gemma.

I don’t think it was Frank Bulkley, as he’s seldom there.

Maybe it was Rotary’s newzletter editor Jaymey Brimmmer.

Laura Ryan? Michael Ryan? Don Schaller? Walt Smith? Mike Terwilliger? George Ticknor? Joan Ticknor? Tom Teague? Nick Sonder? Ken Roberts? Bill Palmer? Joe Aguera? Oz Butterfield?

Honestly, I just don’t know.

In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter which Rotarian (Matt Rusanoff?) mentioned that having your name appear in this newspaper results, without exception, in a minimum $5 fine, due and payable at the club’s next meeting.

Little fines aren’t the important thing.

The focus belongs on the great work Rotary does for our town and for the world community.

I’m honored I was invited to join such a generous and community-minded group of people.

I just hope that I’m able to contribute in some small way. For example, I think it’d be great if I could figure out a way to get the club to raise a quick $250 for the Truckee Library

Eric Henry (D’oh! That’s going to cost him five bucks) is publisher of the Sierra Sun and Tahoe World newspapers.

He fills this space from time to time, hang the expense.

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